Category Archives: pet portraits

Follow Me! Portraits of Animals Has Moved

Portraits of Animals new website!

Portraits of Animals new website!

Several new followers have signed up recently, and I don’t want you to be disappointed—I don’t post on this site anymore because I’ve built a brand new website that includes a blog where I post all the inspirations from my felines, my backyard and garden and the beautiful world around me. Maintaining this blog plus my Etsy profile, Fine Art America account and a few other profiles where I displayed and sold my things and decided to invest the time to combine them all into one completely new site.

Please visit Portraits of Animals and follow!

Please visit Portraits of Animals! I moved all the posts from this site to that blog, so to be sure you see the latest I’ve created and have to offer you can go to Portraits of Animals and subscribe to “Notes and Stories” there.

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

That’s what you see above, a screen shot for the home page. Finally, this plan I’ve visualized for the past five years has been put into action. I found a template I liked, I’ve planned out my new products and I set up my Sampler Box Program and a free gift for those who register for an account on the site. I have features on the new site that I couldn’t have here, including setting up an account with a free gift when you do, member rewards programs and a sampler box program!

The New “Portraits of Animals”

January had originally been my deadline to have this website ready, but the holiday season doesn’t permit focus on too many things other than the holiday season, so I didn’t get too far. And then I ran off to Savannah to deliver a couple of kittens and visit family. But before I did I decided to stop building that site and decide which way to go: continue with the site or look for a template that better represented my work.

The new menu.

The new menu.

I found the perfect template, designed by an artist for artists. Next, I needed to find three or four days to set it up and get all the parts in there and start adding merchandise. Designing websites has always been a process of not only putting your visualization on a computer screen but also fixing all the little issues, bugs and conflicts that come up, and at this point in my life I like to stake out some time to just focus on it.

At left is what the new menu looks like, always accessible on the left, with drop-downs for extra pages to keep merchandise grouped and organized.

The site includes not only my feline inspirations but my nature and wildlife art as well. How wonderful it is to have it all in one place!

Below are some samples of what the merchandise looks like when you visit!

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

I love the way I can set up the galleries so that you can see a whole screen full of images and read the headlines, click on the item and read the details and order. Here is a sample section of animal sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

And here is a detail page, what you see when you click on a product.

Detail page.

Detail page.

A signing bonus!

I like to thank each person who signs up for an account on Portraits of Animals. Each new member receives a thank-you gift not only as an honest thanks from me for signing up, but also so that you can see a sample of my art and the quality of my merchandise, even if you’ve been a customer already and purchased from me in other places.

You don’t need to purchase anything to get your thank you gift, you can just register an account and get your free print.

The thank you gifts always include matted digital prints of art and photos that I usually sell for between $20.00 and $40.00. The selection includes the current month’s featured artwork and several of the more popular images I sell. Sizes vary according to the size of the art itself—some of my more popular sketches are as small as 3″ x 5″—but they are always matted to fit a standard frame size so you can use a frame you have on hand or easily purchase one without the cost of custom framing. Below is the current selection of prints you can choose from. Visit Current New Member Gifts to read more about the size and matting for each print.

The current selection of new member gifts.

The current selection of new member gifts.

About that Sampler Box

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

I’m offering a sampler box with a single box or a three month box subscription which will include the following items:

  • a 5″ x 7″ or 8” x 10” print matted and ready to frame OR a small framed print, either an existing piece of artwork or a new one
  • an alternate print of any size, unmatted, different from the main print in media, style, subject, etc.
  • several greeting cards: a sympathy card, feline art card, feline photo card, non-feline greeting card and two or more note cards, current designs and new designs
  • a handmade or other gift item—a small keepsake box or a little art sampler book, a polymer clay or ceramic item, screen-printed dishtowel, tote bag, crocheted item or rubber stamp, new art paper, for instance—which is exclusive to box recipients and not shared with the public for a week or so after boxes are sent
  • the “boxes” are not boxes at all because they vary so much in content so they are carefully wrapped with wrapping paper made from my designs that you can reuse

These can be things your use for yourself or give as gifts or donation items to shelter or rescue or other fundraisers. Sometimes they’ll be little experiments and I’ll be asking for feedback. I’ll be happy that you get to see art you may have never noticed, and little handmade goods that work so much better in your hands than a photo on your computer.

You can order a single sampler box or a subscription of three boxes. Shipping within the US is included.

$25.00 for one box, value about $47.50

$75.00 for a three box subscription, value about $142.50

You can read more about the content in the gift boxes on the page on Portraits of Animals, and don’t forget to go and visit the rest of the site too! I add new items and post on the blog every day, and now that I have a comprehensive website I can spend much more time actually creating new things instead of maintaining four or five selling sites.

 

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Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog.
Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter,
for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter,
for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

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© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “Custom Orders” for availability and terms.


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“Borzois”, Original and Prints

pastel painting of two borzois

“Borzois”, pastel, 25″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Too many ideas leads to two portraits, one for me and one for the customer!

detail of portrait of borzois

Detail of faces.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of painting a portrait of two beautiful rescued Borzois, Traveller and Emma. Their person was also a friend of mine and lived in an enviable remodeled home on a few hilltop acres with wonderful light and horses romping in the pasture next door.

I’d visited before and when she mentioned she’d like a portrait I began envisioning the two dogs and the places in her home and even outdoors in a fenced area where they could play. I knew she had photos but especially with larger animals, and one of them being primarily black, I was glad to be able to meet them and take photos of my own so that I could collect details. Back in the days of film, I had two 36-exposure rolls with me and all my lenses for my trusty little Pentax K-1000. The house was full of windows so lighting likely wouldn’t be an issue.

We followed the dogs around the house, Traveller, the big creamy white dog obviously being the boss and the smaller black and tan Emma following orders and feeling safe near her big brother.

photos of borzoi dogs

The inspiration for the above portrait.

She told me each had come from two different rescues from indiscriminate breeders who were breeding these huge dogs in apartments and condos. Emma was noticeably smaller than usual because there were—talk about hoarding—over 70 Borzois inside one condo. Because of that overcrowding and the sheer number of dogs, she hadn’t been socialized well and was timid and skittish, but could simply be a happy dog and feel safe around her big brother.

Their favorite room was a spacious sunroom addition at the west end of the home which their person told me had been ambitiously begun by the home’s former owners. They had decided to complete the project and the two-story space would be a paradise for any animal or human. I was enchanted by Traveller, whose head was nearly at my shoulder, and smaller Emma racing gracefully among the plants and wicker furniture and collectibles without touching a thing. I took plenty of photos of them playing along with detail shots of their faces in that wonderfully-balanced light.

Arriving home with the photos I began to work on layouts for the portraits. She wanted a fairly large portrait and we had discussed just including their faces nearly life size, so I designed the layout with their faces above and below, befitting their relationship to each other. I could picture the colors I’d use in both creamy white and inky black fur and how I’d create the textures in each.

detail of the painting

Detail of the flowers

But I kept remembering their play in that sunny room and from one of the photos I’d taken. I designed another portrait with them standing together and a few plants around. This would not be a detailed and realistic portrait, more loose and impressionistic, capturing the light and color and motion I’d perceived. I knew my client would like that as well since I knew the work of other artists she’d purchased and commissioned as well as her other purchases of my art.

I proposed both ideas to her and showed her my layouts done in PhotoShop. She liked both as did I and we agreed I’d work up both of them and see what happened. She would choose one and I would get to keep the other, a great deal for me to have a live portrait on hand as an example.

In the end she chose the more realistic one of just the two faces because she wanted to remember the details of their expressions she’d loved so much (you can see that painting in “Two Portraits, Choose One” on The Creative Cat, though I could tell the choice was difficult knowing how she loved an impressionistic style of painting.

I would have been happy with either one, but in the years since, whenever I’ve shown this painting in exhibits or at my tent in a festival it has always attracted people to come and study it, not just dog lovers or animal lovers, but the colors and composition are eye-catching to most people.

Now that I have a good digital file of “Borzois”, I have the original for sale, framed, as you see above, and a variety of prints on paper and canvas.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

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March Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: Black and Light

scratchboard of two black cats

“Black and Light”, scratchboard, 6.5″ x 6″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been planning to use this art as a monthly calendar since I created it last August. But when I associate most of the months with colors, when would be the best time? Late winter/early spring, I decided, after we’d moved past the lovely January light and winter sun to March, the month of contrasts, going in like a lion and going out like a lamb, we hope, but full of undecided weather, snow one day and spring the next.

Here is what I wrote about this art when I created it last summer…

I’ve been thinking about scratchboard for quite some time. It’s a natural with a bunch of black cats, don’t you think? However, I kept insisting that I ink my own boards and I just wasn’t getting around to it. When a saw a package of pre-inked scratchboard sheets on sale, I bought them.

Scratchboard, at least the last time I did the technique some time in high school, is black India ink painted evenly on a smooth and/or glossy surface so that when you scratch the surface with a sharp instrument it removes the ink in the manner you’ve scratched it, as if you were drawing with a fine white pen. You are, then, drawing in white on black, and in a reductive manner instead of an additive manner as we are accustomed to—instead of making marks on paper to build the image you remove material to build the image. This can be disorienting as you try to draw something in like the little hairs along Giuseppe’s back when what you really need to do is just leave them there and remove the unnecessary inked area from around the hairs. Easier said than done. Kind of like Michelangelo saying he took the block of marble and removed everything that wasn’t the sculpture he saw inside, it’s a different approach to what you want to accomplish. When I create block prints I work in the same manner since I am cutting away all the areas that won’t be covered with ink to print and leaving those that will.

So I have been thinking of scratchboard since my cats are black, and thinking ever more heavily about it since I’ve had these papers, two or three weeks. Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine were cuddling on my drafting table the other day, the sun streaming in the window onto the white surface, and I decided right then that the figures silhouetted against the table, and Mr. Sunshine’s features, furs and whiskers alight against Giuseppe’s black fur, would be my first scratchboard subject. I could see it as I looked at them. I took a reference photo and prepare to do the sketch.

But last week was the week that was and every time I settled in to do the sketch it was late, I was tired, my hands were tired, my wrists hurt, and I didn’t want to give it a try until I could give it my best. That gave me more time to decide what I would use to scratch the board and visualize exactly how I would deal with certain individual hairs and whiskers. And people wonder why I’m late for things. With such important things to consider, how do I ever get anywhere?

I opened the photo in Photoshop and lightly sketched the basic outlines in pencil so I’d have something to go by. Normally I simply enjoy just sketching onto the surface in whatever medium I’d chosen and letting my hand-eye coordination work it out so that I’m not constrained by guidelines that don’t permit my sketch to grow organically. In this case, however, with my first experience with a medium since high school, and even after practicing on the corners with a few test scratches unsure of how it would work with different angles and pressures I thought I’d give myself a little guidance and sketched on the outlines of Sunshine’s head and Giuseppe’s back and face. You can “erase” unwanted marks with a black marker, but that changes the surface of the paper and this would have a lot of delicate areas that I didn’t want to be disturbed, and a lot of subtlety. Where I typically like my sketchy lines that build an image, I only wanted the essentials here.

The background would be solid white as well, since that was partly what had inspired me about this—their silhouette against the white drafting table reflecting full sunlight. Highlights and textures are built with patterns of lines and dots with scratchboard, but when I finished with my series of fine white lines very close together and even added some cross-hatching in the “white” area I just wasn’t happy and wanted that contrast. I used the flat edge of the blade instead and, especially with the help of all those lines and crosshatches, completely cleared the surface of any black so that it was solid white. Perfect! Well, almost. I had scratched a little vigorously and the smooth surface was also scratched, and a bit of the ink residue from what I’d scratched off tinted those scratched areas. I decided on a little help from Photoshop for this and after I’d scanned it I went over the white background and erased all the smudges. But it’s just what I was picturing.

Now that I’ve done this once I have more ideas about how to do the next one. The tiny wood carving implement I began with was okay but not the best, and the X-acto No. 11 blade was too fine and at a bad angle to clear away the background, the No. 24 worked better for that.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my first scratchboard in about 35 years, and I can’t wait for my next one. (Six months later, I’m still looking forward to it…better get a move on.)

Where to find this artwork

"Black and Light" 5" x 7" print.

“Black and Light” 5″ x 7″ print.

“Black and Light” can be found in my Etsy shop as a 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″ print.

For now I’m working with other items on paper, like greeting cards. I’ve also applied it to a keepsake box for Valentine’s Day and I’m looking into textiles as well, so to find all that is available with this image, search my Etsy shop for “Black and Light“.


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

"Black and Light" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

“Black and Light” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"Black and Light" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

“Black and Light” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"Black and Light" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“Black and Light” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"Black and Light" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

“Black and Light” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

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January Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: “Rolling Around”

"Rolling Around", black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5" x 7.5" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Rolling Around”, black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5″ x 7.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

There is still time to enjoy this desktop calendar in the month of January, and even after that you can still order a print on paper or canvas.

I’ve been planning on using this art as a winter month desktop calendar for quite some time, and I’m so glad the time has finally come around!

Here is what I said about it when I posted it as a daily sketch on October 12, 2013:

Giuseppe was having a really good roll around on the floor, for no apparent reason except that it made him happy. I think we should all do that each day!

This was another fun attempt to follow a moving target with my eyes while drawing with my hand and not looking at the paper.

Even though the time of the original sketch was October and Giuseppe was rolling around on the floor, the blue background, the simple black and white, just make me think of Giuseppe on the bed, rolling around in preparation for a long afternoon’s nap on a quiet, snowy winter afternoon. Enjoy!

. . . . . . .

"Rolling Around" framed.

“Rolling Around” framed.

Where to find this artwork

You can find this artwork printed on paper and canvas in various sizes, giclee as well as digital prints, in my Etsy shop. To find other products and handmade goods bearing this art, search my Etsy shop for the title.

 

 


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “Sooty”

pastel portrait of chinchilla persian cat

“Sooty”, 1997, pastel, 11″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T MATTER how much sentiment is attached to adopting a cat, how much people pay for a cat, or how beautiful or sweet it is, that cat is out the door when they no longer want it; sometimes, like Sooty, it is actually headed for its loving forever home and the people who will truly cherish it forever.

. . . . . . .

Sooty was a full-bred Chinchilla-point Persian but didn’t come to his forever home directly from his breeder.

Adopted by a newly-engaged couple as a wedding gift to the bride-to-be, the couple subsequently broke up and Sooty was homeless. Passed along from one unloving home to another, finally housed in a detached garage with the door left open in the hope that he would run into the street…a neighbor kept watch, talked to the family, and finally convinced them to give Sooty to her. She asked her sister-in-law to foster him.

Though her sister-in-law had no pets then, she had always had a cat and a dog growing up. When her mother passed away her father came to live with her along with his dog and cat. They lost the pets and her father passed away soon after and she vowed “no more pets”. She made it clear that she would have Sooty neutered, given all his shots and shaved because he was filthy and had such large hair balls under each limb, but he was a foster, not an adoption.

He arrived in a cage, “frightened to death” and would not come out; she and her husband left the room and pretty soon Sooty came out of his cage and disappeared. Looking everywhere, she finally found him in her father’s old room, all curled up like he belonged there. “That did it,” and he stayed.

. . . . . . .

Animals always know, whether it’s Oscar, the prognosticating cat in the nursing home, or a cat who walked into your home and seemed to have been acquainted with it already, where they are needed most.

I’ve known people who would have taken in Sooty, even as a foster, and rejected him for his distant personality, not understanding that he’d never had a real home, not given him the space to learn to trust. But it’s also a truly wonderful thing to know that a cat came along at just the right time for people who needed him, as Sooty immediately recognized the place of loss and moved to fill it in the best way he could.

Sooty had been deeply hurt by his own experiences. It was months before he would even go upstairs to the bedrooms, let alone sleep on the bed, or even the couch; sadly it was clear he’d been taught those places were not for cats. But he never lost a drop of his natural quiet sweetness, and in time his forever family welcomed him to cuddle up next to them or sleep on their lap.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Sooty’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. You can read that article here.


Here is Sooty’s page in Great Rescues:

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Sooty:

The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

. . . . . . .

About the Portrait

detail of pastel cat portrait

Detail of portrait: Sooty’s face.

I’ve always loved the way Sooty’s portrait looked, the horizontal layout and simple composition, clear and contrasting colors. In my portfolio of portraits Sooty’s was admired by many, and when I had visualized the Great Rescues calendar and day book series over ten years ago, Sooty’s portrait was one of the first that came to mind.

When I met with the couple who owned him, we looked at a few photos, but this one of Sooty, both his posture and demeanor, was perfect and the three of us knew it, even as Sooty quietly observed our process in much the same position. He was so calm and relaxed I managed to get detail shots of his face, especially his blue-green eyes.

Sooty was in his teens when I met him in the 90s, and he’d been bred so long ago that his Persian face looks little like the Persian cats I meet today. His nose is shorter than the usual cat nose, but not as deep-set as that of modern Persians.

I love the hair between long-haired cats’ toes, but Sooty’s was exceptional—it was so long his paws looked like little dust mops and I remember us joking about it, but when I was painting the portrait I remember questioning myself even though I’d seen it right there on his paws and taken the photos. It wasn’t helped by the contrast between pale silver fur and deep charcoal gray fur that made it look as if it had been attached.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of portrait: toes.

His fur itself was beautifully unique, each long guard hair ending in a short black tip which gave him the ashy sort of look that led to his name. He had wonderful eyeliner and even his nose was outlined, and most endearing of all his whiskers were black. But that field of fur along his sides and back had so much detail that I got all lost in drawing it.

The background in a portrait like this is a style I developed myself over the years for portraits where there was just a color and no particular object or surface. I base the predominant color on one that complements the subject well and is possibly a color in the subject itself; see Nick where I used the blue from his eyes. In Sooty’s case I looked around the room where the portrait would hang and at Sooty’s cool silver fur, and then at his terra cotta nose and knew that was the color. As you can see in front of him I’ve added a few “wrinkles” as if the background is a cloth, but you can see in the upper left that I’ve mimicked the entrance of a light source from the left and used an olive green shading lighter to a yellowish shade as if it’s sunlight on a wall.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of background and fur.

I usually frame my portraits in custom mats and molding per my customer. To finish it off, I used a deeper soft terra cotta top mat and silver gray bottom mat, both black core to gently coordinate with Sooty’s eyeliner and other charcoal trim, and a simple wood frame with a brushed silver finish that captured his fur. You can tell his portrait is still one of my favorites nearly 20 years later. Sooty is even included in the brochure I designed and still use today; click the link below.


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Sooty is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Daily Sketch: “Blending”

watercolor of cat looking out window

“Blending”, watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Jelly Bean watches out the upstairs window, streaming with winter morning sun. The white light glares and introduces all sorts of colors where they don’t normally appear, in Jelly Bean’s black fur, on the pine tabletop, in the lace curtain.

. . . . . . .

watercolor of cat

“Blending”, watercolor.

Where to find this artwork

I have this artwork available in many different print forms—on paper and canvas and as a highest-quality giclee both smaller and larger than the original, and I also offer a framed print as I had framed the original, seen at left.

Click this link to find all the various prints of this artwork I have in stock in my shop Portraits of Animals on Etsy, and simply search the title, “Blending” to find anything else I might have on hand at the moment (note that you can search only my shop from my shop’s front page, searching from a product or category page will search all of Etsy).

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Fifteen Years

pastel painting of the aurora borealis

“Aurora Borealis”, pastel, 18″ x 12″, 2000 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Aurora Borealis”, a sketch I did for an illustration for a book about two polar bears who…I don’t remember the story line, but I do remember checking my voice mail at home while I was at work that last autumn I was at my day job, and listened to the message from the small press publisher who’d found my art online. He had an idea for a book that incorporated text and art, and he liked the style of my pastels and how I treated animals in my paintings, and he also saw that I was a graphic designer and freelanced as a book designer. He wanted me to illustrate and design the book.

That one call was “it”. I had been freelancing full time nights and weekends as well as carrying a schedule of new paintings and art exhibits monthly and was still working full time, but knew the time was near. I could live on what I made from the book publishers and the other customers I had at the time, one of them a home builder who had me create artist’s renderings of his house plans and flyers from that. The art sales were gravy. My office was set up, my car was paid off and the only other debt was my mortgage, money in the bank, health insurance and retirement set up. But was I really ready? I only needed on good nudge. That call was it.

In fact, I suddenly felt a little panic. Had I waited too long? Should I be home right now? Was I missing calls? That was why I checked my voice mail during lunch, but without caller ID, how would I know if someone had called and not left a message? I had to be at home!

January 1 is the anniversary of the day I began working at home and it’s very easy to remember what year I’m celebrating because that day was January 1, 2000. I still remember that first day, going to sit at my desk in the room downstairs even though it wasn’t really a work day. I’d been freelancing and working at that desk in the corner for a few years already, and looking out the two big windows to watch birds at the feeders and observe the neighborhood, my desk and the windowsills lined with my family of felines, happy I’d be sitting still for a while so they could get in a good bath and nap on me and my papers.

I had done the sketch during the evenings while still working, but photographed it to send a print to the publisher on pretty much my first day working at home, along with photographing some other artwork, and some other photos on that same roll…

cat in sunshine

Reference photo for “Warm Winter Sun”.

Look somewhat familiar? Yes, it’s the reference photo for the art that’s in the header for The Creative Cat, “Warm Winter Sun”. Only in January does the light stream all the way into the kitchen like that, not even in December is the light that color. And another photo next to that one…

cat sleeping in sun

“Contentment”, photo of Moses sleeping in the sun.

That’s Moses sleeping in about the same spot as Namir in the other photo, but she had been there earlier. The sun is a little higher on the bookshelf. I remember debating between the two and I had intended to paint both, but only painted Namir. Fifteen years later, I can’t tell you why, but I do know that one of my goals was to focus on photography generally, photograph my cats more often so I had lots of reference photos, and get around to painting them way sooner than before, like paint them as soon as I got the photos back. And so I did, because instead of waiting a decade as I had with other photos I entered the painting of Namir and won Best Pastel in South Hills Art League’s 2000 Annual Juried Show. I’ve sold framed prints of the photo of Moses, but I think this spring I’ll paint the one this photo and we’ll see what 15 years of experience in painting has done to my style.

Another photo on that roll…

tortie cat on back

Reference image for “The Goddess” linoleum block print.

Yes, Cookie really did lie about on her back like this, and I decided to take her photo. The image stayed with me, and a little later that year I suddenly visualized the hand-colored block print you’ll see by clicking on this link. I decided making a block print, something I could reproduce but was still an “original”, would be ideal for donating to shelter events and to sell at animals events I attended, and so it was. I didn’t get to do it right away but waited until 2001 when I had the time and the idea for a set including “The Roundest Eyes”.

And also because my brother had suffered a traumatic brain injury in April 2000 and became my responsibility as he moved through his recovery, and then my mother developed lung cancer and had surgery and barely recovered, both of them incapacitated with multiple medical conditions and in care for the next decade as I was legal guardian for my mother and POA and representative for my brother. We never know what will happen to change our plans, and those two medical emergencies certainly changed the business plan and list of objectives I had spent a decade determining.

But my felines were there for me, unconditionally, at the end of a long day at the computer; below, my desk in summer 2006 featuring Stanley curled next to Sophie, Kelly bathing, Namir and Cookie curled in front of me and Peaches having a good scratch on the file cabinet, six cats and not one of them black….

desk with six cats

Desk with six cats, taken in 2006, but typical of my desk at any given time.

…or an all night project, or when I came home from a long day at one hospital or another, or a day of doctor appointments.

It’s 3:00 a.m., do you know where your human is?

Over the years my customers and work projects have evolved as has my family of felines, though lying all over my desk never went out of style, even in the wee hours when I was up with a project as in the photo above from 2010 with Peaches on a box, Mimi on the windowsill, Dickie on my desk, Cookie having a good bath right in front of me, and Giuseppe  on the right. It really was 3:00 a.m.—there were plenty of times in my mother’s last years that I was off at a hospital unexpectedly for hours to see to her care that I just worked whenever I could, and my cats took it all in stride.

And yes, Stanley and Moses and Cookie and Sophie and Namir and Kelly and Nikka were very glad I just quit going to work one day, and we’ve never looked back. I’m so glad I was home for their last years.

Yesterday I repaired the keyboard shelf on this desk and I remembered that, including the time I’d spent freelancing in the 1990s, I’d been working in this same corner of the room for 20 years and at this desk for 15, and as much as I love the views out the windows, the convenience to the kitchen and outdoors and all the memories, I was really tired of that spot! When my keyboard shelf fell off my desk a few months ago, rendering it unusable for me because of where I need to have my keyboard positioned to avoid repetitive motion strain injuries, I temporarily abandoned the desk and set up shop in my studio, and currently do nearly all my work up there, design as well as art. But that would not be permanent, I am simply pleased now to have two computers networked and two equally suited workstations.

But I also enjoyed the change in scenery and found the room conducive to writing as well, and began moving more and more of my work up to my studio. As my work has included more fine art, writing and creating gift items and less commercial graphic design, I’ve been spending more time in the studio and enjoying every minute. For many years it was the “spare kitty room”, holding many memories of sitting in that room and looking out that window while trying to tame or comfort or treat a rescued cat, and may still serve that purpose again if it’s ever necessary, but I think I’ve moved that operation to the bathroom for now. I think my family of felines appreciates the change in scenery too, or they just like to make sure I am properly supervised as you see Jelly Bean, Mewsette, Giuseppe, Sunshine and Cookie on the chair.

five cats in studio

The Curious Quartet joins Cookie in getting ready for a day of work.

Many things changed in my commercial art life even from just last year, the printers I use, the projects I work on, and things changed in my art life too as I’ve loosened up and feel much more free in my work through the practice of my daily sketches, and I’m looking for more opportunities to market and sell my art and merchandise. I’ve also continued to find more places to publish my articles and stories.

When I talk to students about being self-employed I tell them two things I’m sure they don’t listen to: learning to run a business is more important to performing your skill, and expect everything to change on a regular basis.

You can read more about my background in my 13-year anniversary post from a previous year and about my education in my ten-year anniversary post and on my About page. Also visit my blog What’s New in Bernadette’s Studio? to see current commercial projects and visit my main website in Graphic Design and Illustration to see projects by product and by customer.

 


Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.

Subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle

Start with a 14-day free trial. You can cancel at any time during the free trial period. If you enjoy your subscription, do nothing and it will automatically continue at the regular monthly price of 99 cents. Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “A Wonderful Gift”

pastel portrait of cat with flowers

“A Wonderful Gift”, pastel, 12″ x 14″, 2010 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES A CAT has so many connections to other cats or people or circumstances or places, but then this Peaches’s life was intertwined with her rescuer’s before she was even adopted. Sometimes the cat and the person are simply meant to be together.

. . . . . . .

Here’s how Peaches was rescued…

Peaches’ rescue includes a number of mysterious and exciting coincidences. First there was another cat, Wally, who Peaches’ mom was to adopt from her eight-year-old niece as the girl’s parents divorced and Wally couldn’t move with her. When Wally died unexpectedly the niece insisted they find another kitty and in searching found a kitty whose owner was very ill and could no longer care for her. While the ill woman’s name was auspiciously connected with the names of both Peaches’ eventual mom and the soul mate cat she had recently lost, Peaches also looked identical to Wally, and not only had the same birthday as the niece but was also the same age as the niece.

. . . . . . .

I created this portrait in 2010 to be given as a Christmas gift to a special friend. I’m always honored to be trusted with another’s gift, and so happy to be a part of its giving. With this slight distance from the animal’s person I need to be certain the giver has clear materials and knows the person and the animal well in order to be able to portray the animal correctly, and in this case I was given an excellent and meaningful photo, and a touching story.

My customer told me: “She’s the cat of … my closest friend, and she just turned 18. … is going through a lot of stuff right now, her mother is very ill and even though we’ve been saying this for the last few years, it feels as though the end is probably not that far away. Peaches has some mild kidney issues, but is otherwise doing well for her age. When … father died, her then soul mate cat Prince died within days of her father, so even though she’s trying to not give this any energy, she sometimes has a sense that her mother’s death and Peaches’ may be happening in a similar fashion.

“And not that this has anything to do with Peaches, but it gives you an idea of what … is about: Prince was diagnosed with FIP, but lived for fifteen more years post diagnosis. … made a promise to the universe when he was diagnosed that if he beat it, she would start a pet loss support group. She’s been running three pet loss support groups for the county at no charge for the last fifteen years.

“Anyway, it’s why I thought a painting would be a wonderful Christmas gift either way – of course I’m hoping that Peaches will still be with us at Christmas, but even if, God forbid, she’s not, it will still be a perfect present for … .

amaryllis bud.

The amaryllis bud.

“Peaches is … only cat, and they’re very connected. … comes home for lunch each day, and she sits with Peaches in her lap for half an hour or so. It’s her form of meditation. The story behind the photo is pretty amazing. For a period of several months last year, Peaches became very withdrawn, she stopped sleeping with …, and spent most of her time in a guest bedroom. At the time, we thought this was it. Then a friend of … gave her this flower (I think it’s an Amaryllis?), and Peaches became fascinated with it, and would check progress every day. As the flower started to bloom, Peaches ended her phase of withdrawing. I thought it would be a nice starting point for a painting because it will always remind … of the happy time when Peaches became herself again.”

Could there be a more touching story, or a better gift for a friend?

Peaches had the chance to give her human more years of love after she recovered from this, and lived to January 2013.

About the portrait

I typically name the portraits after the names of its subjects, but in this case it might have been a little confusing for others, and emotional for me. You’ve read about my dilute calico Peaches, this kitty dilute tortoiseshell kitty has the name name, but I had recently lost Peaches in October 2010 when I painted this portrait; in fact, I delayed this portrait because of my Peaches’ death, finishing it in December. For that reason I called it “A Wonderful Gift” because of the gift of the subject’s healing, above, and because the portrait was a gift for a special friend.

You can read the progress articles about this portrait to see it in its initial sketch and then in its middle stage, just before the final details in A New Portrait and The New Portrait, Second View. At the final stage of a portrait I add textures where necessary, even out the highlights and shadows, make sure the color palette hasn’t shifted and make sure all subjects are the right shape and proportion. It’s surprising how easily these details can throw things off if I’m not careful, and you can see in comparing the first and second images where things went a bit awry. Up to the final passes for details, I was working over the entire portrait each time, mostly to work out the palette and settle the details of shape and proportion and keeping an overall vision for the portrait.

The most important detail, the sweetest part of the whole image, was Peaches’ face where she has it happily pressed into the flower, her eyes closed, the sunlight shining through the flower petals coloring her fur. That had to be perfect, not photographically so, but in spirit. I enjoyed working many other areas of this portrait, but capturing the gentle shadings and gentle details of her face, her chin and neck and her ear were my favorite part of this portrait.

detail of portrait

Detail of Peaches and amaryllis

I clarified the flowers to see each of the petals, and went back and forth with the shade of pink. I had originally used a brighter pink which was not accurate and was too bright for the painting, so I toned that down with a slightly browner pink. I also shifted the blanket from the original bright blue to more of a teal shade to coordinate with elements in the curtains, which would also be in the person’s room, and the blanket’s highlights are blended so it looks fuzzy and soft. The highlights on the vase had made it look very shiny though it wasn’t, and those extreme reflections were also a little harsh for the soft tone of this portrait, so they got toned down.

But two of my favorite areas were the bare branches outside the window which you can see in the detail of the amaryllis buds, above, and the books on the table next to the window, especially in detail below.

detail of portrait

Detail of portrait, books on the shelf.

A little more about this portrait

“A Wonderful Gift” was the December 2011 kitty in my first Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book because her portrait and the story had a strong connection to Christmas. She is included in my current version, Great Rescues Day Book, but is not featured at a month; the original book had 16 months, this only has 12, so I have the extra four portraits grouped together in the center of the book. This portrait will always be a part of December for me, though.

Note, also, that the plant Peaches is visiting is an amaryllis, grown from a bulb, one of the class of plants that can be highly toxic to cats. Peaches was not a plan nibbler, and it seemed to play such a complete role in her life.

As a greeting card

And I was also thrilled when Peaches’ person approved my publishing of a feline art card bearing Peaches’ portrait and story. Read about the card and find a link to it on Portraits of Animals Marketplace blog. This has inspired me to create a few subsets of my feline art cards, and one of those would be the calicoes and tortoiseshells!


Here is Peaches’s page in Great Rescues:

portrait of cat in day book

Peaches’s page in “Great Rescues Day Book”

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Peaches:

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. ~ Jean Cocteau


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Buster is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME

 


January Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: “Rolling Around”

"Rolling Around", black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5" x 7.5" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Rolling Around”, black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5″ x 7.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been planning on using this art as a winter month desktop calendar for quite some time, and I’m so glad the time has finally come around!

Here is what I said about it when I posted it as a daily sketch on October 12, 2013:

Giuseppe was having a really good roll around on the floor, for no apparent reason except that it made him happy. I think we should all do that each day!

This was another fun attempt to follow a moving target with my eyes while drawing with my hand and not looking at the paper.

Even though the time of the original sketch was October and Giuseppe was rolling around on the floor, the blue background, the simple black and white, just make me think of Giuseppe on the bed, rolling around in preparation for a long afternoon’s nap on a quiet, snowy winter afternoon. Enjoy!

. . . . . . .

"Rolling Around" framed.

“Rolling Around” framed.

Where to find this artwork

You can find this artwork printed on paper and canvas in various sizes, giclee as well as digital prints, in my Etsy shop. To find other products and handmade goods bearing this art, search my Etsy shop for the title.

 

 


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


November Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: “After Dinner Nap”

pastel painting of cat on table

“After Dinner Nap”, pastel on Hahnemuhle sanded watercolor paper, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The face that launched a thousand portraits,” my Stanley, the feline mascot of my business, appearing on my business card and brochure cover.

Bright sunshine on anything will catch my eye, especially when it’s illuminating one of my cats. During the late winter, the sun shone in at just the right angle for my Stanley to take a comfortable nap right after eating and the obligatory bath. The combination of his sleepy expression and the glare of the sun on his (sparkling) white chest and paws and the angle of the shadows, a daily visual treat for me, became a pleasurable subject for me to draw.

detail of painting

Just Stanley

This portrait changed my world, as an artist and in my career. The day I finished this portrait in 1997, I knew I had reached a higher level of skill as an artist and a deeper level of visualization combined with that skill that goes way beyond reproducing what I see, very far into what I feel. I marvel now at how I applied and blended the pastels, the colors I used, to create this image so full of different kinds of light. I knew what I saw, but how to draw that? Stanley was a classic tabby with big black swirls on his sides and just bits of a warm tan to warm gold between, and then the brilliant sunlight shone on his fur and also reflected up from the pine table.

detail of painting

Light and shadow on Stanley’s side

Stanley was a difficult soul, but his real personality was sweet, fun, silly and relaxed, and for all his issues I loved him completely. He had been abused and traumatized before he was dumped outdoors and just showed up on my porch one day, friendly and talkative, trying to get into my car with me when I left for work in the morning and wondering why I didn’t just let him in the door when I came home—I initially thought he was a girl kitty in heat trying to court little Allegro inside who had just achieved the age of knowledge and been neutered, and I actually posted “found cat” signs.

It was two full weeks before I “got it”, and poor kitty had to go and stand in a November ice storm and let ice crystals collect on his fur before I just opened the door and said “come on”. And I did just let him in, this being the early days of rescuing for me, 1986, when I knew little of socializing cats or feline contagious illnesses. I had four cats and I really didn’t want any more, but what else was there to do when this pretty kitty crouched, shivering, perfect white paws tucked under his white chest, the perfect white diamond between his eyes and the little snip of white on the end of his nose, with ice pellets building up on his back and the top of his head, looking at me with those big green eyes? I named him Stanley for the number of relatives named Stanislaus on both sides of my family, but had to Americanize it so others not of East European ethnicity could spell it.

detail of painting

Detail of Stanley’s face

I look at the composition now with so much of the background in it, and realize I loved the light in the background as much as the light on the subject. The walls are white, yet the reflected sun casts many, many colors on them.

detail of painting

Detail of the wall.

And I always laugh and say “that’s why we have art” when I think of how much household stuff I removed from the original to get to the essence of the scene.

tabby cat on the table

Stanley on the table, the reference photo for “After Dinner Nap”.

He suffered from male cat urinary tract disorders and blocked several times, having a lot of difficulty and pain in between, in the years before much was available for care. It was obvious he’d been literally kicked and repeated the memory of the trauma whenever his condition flared up. He actually bit my wrist pretty badly during one incident, and he marked everything in my home all 21 years he was with me, walls, furniture, computers, everything, but I just moved things and covered other things and tried every medication and flower essence and alternative treatment I could find.

Because most of his moments were wonderful. In this scene, the after dinner nap he enjoyed just about every day, I found that part of him, and that part of me, and got it onto the paper. It’s been magic since then with my art, not just with my portraits and other animal artwork, but with all my artwork. I may have arrived at that point as an artist eventually, but it was my deep feeling for Stanley that delivered me to the door, which I had only to open.

Anyone who knows my beginnings in this business understands why Stanley’s portrait watches over what I do. Years ago, I was wondering what to do with the artwork I kept producing. Selling originals isn’t all that easy, but there aren’t too many other opportunities available for getting your artwork “out there” in front of people who will appreciate it.

And I knew I had to share this image, so decided right then that I’d create the four images I was visualizing of “my cats in the sun”, and this became my first set of color notecards, and my first offering of high-quality prints of my artwork. You’ll find those notecards and the corresponding prints in my marketplace on the Feline Notecards page and in my Etsy shop.

When high-quality photography became available to make gicleé reproductions of my artwork, this painting was the first I had done, and have always offered various prints of it. The original painting is sold to a friend who understands its meaning to me, but I also offer the highest quality gicleé prints as well as digital prints, canvas prints and mousepads in my Etsy shop.

Stanley was with me for 21 years, and considering that he was an adult when he arrived on my porch of his own accord, that meant he was nearing the quarter-century mark when he died in 2007, inspiring until the end as I was photographing and sketching him until his final month.

Where to find this artwork

You can find giclee, digital and canvas prints as well as mousepads and the occasional keepsake box and other handmade item featuring Stanley in my Etsy shop.

Read more posts about Stanley, and art and photos featuring him.


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar for HD and wide screens.

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors.

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors.

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"After Dinner Nap desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

“After Dinner Nap desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


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