Category Archives: things in my shop

Compositions in Black and Green Calendar, Cards and Keepsakes

Compositions in Black and Green keepsake box set

Papier-mâché boxes hand-painted in black and mint green with prints of three photos decoupaged to the lid. Lid and bottom are finished with matte-finish Modge Podge. Boxes measure 6″x4″, 5″x3″ and 4″x2.5″ in diameter x 3″ high.

Use for storage for small items, photos or special keepsakes, or use as gift boxes.

Black was a natural color for “Compositions in Black and Green”, and while I avoid mixing colors because they are difficult to repeat later I mixed the shade of green to work coordinate with the famous mint green sink. I paint each box, then print my artwork on acid-free matte-finish paper with archival waterproof inks and adhere the print to the lid. I finish the bottom and lid of the box with matte-finish Modge Podge. Box insides are unfinished.

This set is available on Etsy, and scroll down to see the 2013 calendar. A set of four greeting cards is also available on Etsy.


calendar cover with black cat
Compositions in Black and Green

Compositions in Black and Green 2013 Calendar

Shop for sets of items beginning with “Compositions in Black and Green 2013 Calendar” and related items such as keepsake boxes, coasters, mounted images for wall or tabletop, and greeting cards for an all-around gift.

The calendar features 12 popular images of the Fantastic Four and their Mama Mimi in the mint green and white bathroom. Each calendar page also features other smaller images as well, so it’s a feast of black cats containing about four dozen images.

The calendar is a 5.5″ x 8″ spiral-bound and is bound two ways: across the top so that it hangs like a wall calendar, or down the left so that it opens like a journal.

photo of cat looking in mirror
“God, I’m Cute” greeting card set.

Click here to browse some of the images included in this calendar. To order, please visit the Calendars page on The Creative Cat.

You can also choose from the set of cards featuring four of the images that inspired this set on Etsy or you can just find the most popular image, “God, I’m Cute”, also on Etsy.

Some of the things I’m—oops!—still making are the individual and sets of keepsake boxes, coasters, and 5″ x 7″ images mounted on plain wood blocks for wall or tabletop.

These cards are 5″ x 7″, blank inside and printed on 12 pt. card stock with matching natural white envelopes and packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. On the back is the story of the photo.

set of four cards with black cats

Compositions in Green and Black

Who knew that vintage mint green sink would photograph in such a rich tone, especially when filled with a black cat? From the time I installed the new bathroom, the black cats owned it and the contrast of their black fur with the mint green fixtures and white walls and floor has been stunning and created some of the most favorite photos in my cat collection.

The set includes two familiar images, but really focuses on one kitty—Jelly Bean! “God, I’m Cute” pictures Jelly Bean admiring himself in the mirror long offered as a greeting card, and “Drink Straight From the Tap” shows the Fantastic Four all drinking from the sink faucet at the same time. The new designs are “Composition in Green and Black”, offered by request but one of my favorite atmospheric images of Jelly Bean dozing in the sun on the edge of the sink, and “Toe Cleaning in Green and Black”, the Bean once again in a close-up capture of activity with the mint green sink reflecting on Bean’s black fur and paws.

Use them for all-purpose greeting cards, sympathy, thinking of you, friendship, or find some stylish frames for 5″ x 7″ images and frame them for your walls. Find these in my Etsy shop in sets of four or a dozen.

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Getting Ready for Black Cat Friday Specials!

black and white photo of five black cats
All five waiting in line for their dinner.

Support small home-based black cats and small home-based businesses, conserve air quality, save money, shop in your jammies and pet your kitties all at the same time. Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26, The Creative Cat is offering 25% off all black cat-themed items already available and custom-made—and a few things I’m working on right now!

matted framed sketch of cat
A Dozen Shades of Gray, matted and framed © B.E. Kazmarski

I find it imperative to create things that will benefit the adoption of black cats, so often left behind in the shelter by using the five wonderful black cats who live with me. They’ll show the world that everyone needs to have at least one black kitty in their life, and, at least in my house, the more the merrier! I strive to include silly, cute and artful photos and sketches in equal measure, just the thing to show others what black cats can bring to your life.

In preparation for Black Cat Friday (and Saturday and Sunday and Monday) browse my black cat-themed items on Etsy, and a few easy suggestions I have below for things you’ll find there and here on The Creative Cat.

Or use your imagination to create a special gift—a piece of original art which I can custom frame like “A Dozen Shades of Gray”, at right, with a molding that matched the customer’s pressed tin ceiling which had been painted white. Or create a custom print, set of greeting cards, or other totally unique, handmade gift item from an image you find here. Visit the page “Ordering Custom Artwork” to get an idea of what you’d like, then start looking for images.

Browse for black cat images here on The Creative Cat in daily sketches, daily photos, or to see sketches or photos of the Fantastic Four all together search Fantastic Four and also Mimi, or search their individual names in the categories. I have created items from many of these images and review a few popular ones here.


calendar cover with black cat
Compositions in Black and Green

Compositions in Black  and Green

Shop for sets of items beginning with “Compositions in Black and Green 2013 Calendar” and related items such as keepsake boxes, coasters, mounted images for wall or tabletop, and greeting cards for an all-around gift.

The calendar features 12 popular images of the Fantastic Four and their Mama Mimi in the mint green and white bathroom. Each calendar page also features other smaller images as well, so it’s a feast of black cats containing about four dozen images.

The calendar is a 5.5″ x 8″ spiral-bound and is bound two ways: across the top so that it hangs like a wall calendar, or  down the left so that it opens like a journal.

photo of cat looking in mirror
“God, I’m Cute” greeting card set.

Click here to browse some of the images included in this calendar. To order, please visit the Calendars page on The Creative Cat.

You can also choose from the set of cards featuring four of the images that inspired this set on Etsy or you can just find the most popular image, “God, I’m Cute”, also on Etsy.

Some of the things I’m—oops!—still making are the individual and sets of keepsake boxes, coasters, and 5″ x 7″ images mounted on plain wood blocks for wall or tabletop.


Victoriana Cats

set of four sepia images of black cats
Victoriana Cats in dreamy semi-sepia tones

Though these photos may look antique and sepia-toned, they are neither. My cats are perfect models and knew to pose in the bright yellow morning sun in front of my round antique mirror and the narrow casement window with the lace curtain. I applied a few Photoshop filters to the original photos to make them consistent in tone and style.

Use them for all-purpose greeting cards, sympathy, thinking of you, friendship, or find some shabby chic frames for 5″ x 7″ images and frame them for your walls. Find these in my Etsy shop in sets of four or a dozen.

And following this theme I am also designing from the images in this calendar keepsake boxes, coasters and trays for wall or tabletop.


Black Cats with Yellow Round Keepsake Box Set

Set of keepsake boxes with black cats
Black Cats with Yellow Keepsake Box Set

I hand-painted these papier-mâché boxes in yellow with black trim, with prints of three daily sketches decoupaged to the lid.

For these keepsake boxes I choose a color that coordinates with the artwork and paint each box, then print my artwork on acid-free matte-finish paper with archival waterproof inks and adhere the print to the lid. I finish the bottom and lid of the box with matte-finish Modge Podge. Box insides are unfinished.

In the order above the names of the sketches are: “Looking Closely “, “In Afternoon Sun”, and “Mimi en Silhouette”, all done in brush pen with marker and watercolor embellishment.

Find this set and others on Etsy.


Your 25% Discount

Click on the image to download your coupon.

BUY FRESH, BUY LOCAL, BUY HANDMADE!

I honestly believe in supporting local businesses, small businesses, and people who offer unique, handmade goods, and I encourage all shoppers to do the same. Meet the person who made what you’ve bought knowing that what they do isn’t just a job, it’s their life, a life they love, and know where your money is going—and which cats it’s going to feed!

If you are shopping on Etsy, use the code BLACKCATFRIDAY at checkout—and remember that you can use Etsy’s Direct Checkout with your credit card and not if you don’t care for PayPal. Just choose Etsy when it asks how you’ll pay.

If you’re shopping on The Creative Cat or requesting a custom item, click on the coupon at left and download it to your computer. You can e-mail it to me or just mention it when you order.

Happy shopping!


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.


Tortie Girls Trays Are Here!

wooden trays with tortoiseshell cats
Tortie Girls wooden trays!

I’ve found another place to show off my tortie girls! As another selection of designs in the keepsake items I’m creating with my artwork, I found wooden trays that fit these prints perfectly.

I can only work on so many items at a time in my studio, so I decided to create all the smaller keepsakes first, then laid out all my materials for these trays. I prefer to photograph outdoors and waited for the time on a sunny day to photograph them in natural lighting to capture the vibrance of the orange and yellow, and enough direct and reflected light to show the details in the black areas.

Today when I stepped out to feed the birds it reminded me so much of the mornings I had spent out there with Cookie and even this year with Kelly, and I knew this was the time and place. I held off feeding the birds, got my stuff before the sun moved any higher, and was especially gratified when, in photographing the trays together, a little chickadee joined us, perching on the deck railing to be a part of the photo.

And what a way to honor the memory of my two senior girls during Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

About the trays

These are lightweight 10″ x 13″ pine wood trays each with a hand-colored and signed block print of my tortie girls, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, decoupaged in the bottom. Inside of the tray is painted pure white, outside and upper edge is painted pure black with a matte finish on the entire tray.

two black cats with painting
Hand-coloring prints with lots of feline supervision.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors so I have them on hand. Of course, I am carefully observed in this operation by my feline studio supervisors. I sign each print when the embellishment is complete and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them.

pawprints, white paint and white painted item
Pawprints, paint and white object.

Then I give each tray a light sanding and paint each tray with acrylic paint. Sometimes kitties add their marks to this process, as you see at left.

I trimmed down the finished, colored print to fit inside the tray and decoupage it into the bottom of the tray and let it dry, then put two coats of finish on the entire tray, inside and out.

The trays are good for decoration on a tabletop or wall, or to use to actually carry lightweight items but are not suitable as a hotpad or to carry heavy dishes or other items (though I am searching for an available and affordable wooden tray among woodworking friends and otherwise). If kept in direct sunlight the watercolors will fade in time but the inks and paints will not. They can be easily cleaned with mild detergent or diluted all-surface cleaner but not immersed in water, even though all surfaces are covered with finish.

The trays are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections.


About the artwork

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the goddess
“The Goddess” wooden tray.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos. I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-painted in watercolor.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the goddess
The Goddess tray on my table on the deck.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the roundest eyes
“The Roundest Eyes” wooden tray.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray "The Roundest Eyes"
“The Roundest Eyes” trays on my table on the deck.

You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints in the trays; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Where to find these trays available on Portraits of Animals on Etsy:

Set of two trays

“The Goddess” tray

“The Roundest” Eyes tray


Pair them up with handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted Tortie Girls textiles

I’ve always offered my block print designs on a variety of textiles, from tees to tablecloths, one of the reasons I love that medium. I had wanted to find a washable alternative to the oil-based inks I’d been using, and the cold-set fabric dye I’d long used to paint the Tortie Girls designs was no longer available. Beginning last summer I experimented with various inks and fabric paints and came up with a combination of materials that are easy to use and washable, widely available and non-toxic and in addition to the tees I have a line of textiles.

block printed tablecloths with tortoiseshell cats
Tortie Girls Tablecloths!

Tortie Girls Tablecloths and Runner

I keep a bolt of unbleached cotton muslin on hand for these little accent tablecloths. Each 36″ x 36″ tablecloth has the same image printed four times, one on each edge. The Roundest Eyes table runner is 11″ x 36″. Each is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag. I have only one of each tablecloth and one table runner—for now!

“The Roundest Eyes” 36″ x 36″ tablecloth

“The Goddess” 36″ x 36″ tablecloth

“The Roundest Eyes” 11″ x 36″ table runner

hand-printed placemats with tortoiseshell cats
My tortie girls Cookie and Kelly on canvas placemats!

Tortie Girls Placemats

I made these extra-large 15″ x 19″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with the edges stay-stitched and fringed. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table! I have six of “The Goddess”, left, and four of “The Roundest Eyes”, right, and they are for sale in sets. You can find them in my shop on Etsy and see more detail shots of them as well.

“The Goddess” placemat, set of four

“The Goddess” placemat, set of two

“The Roundest Eyes” placemat, set of four


And here’s the whole line of keepsakes and more

photo of keepsake boxes and coasters and trays
Keepsake boxes, coasters and trays.

I’ve long pictured my artwork and sketches on items I see in gift shops. I pursued ceramic coasters earlier this year to no avail for smaller quantities, but also began working out the details of creating keepsake boxes and other similar items. In the process I found wooden plaques, wooden trays, picture frames and more and got to work on the details.

Here is the whole line of things, each one-of-a-kind, though I can always create more than one item or more than one set for items that are popular, and I can also create custom items featuring other images of mine or even images of your own fine felines, other pets or loved ones.


And Now For Your Discount

For your patronage and support of my business and my art, I’m offering a 10% discount on anything you order from me during the month of November. During the month of November 2012, take 10% off any item in the two shops listed above. In Etsy, use the coupon code FRIEND10 to automatically deduct 10% from your order before shipping. Click the coupon at left to download a PDF which you can print out or e-mail to bernadette@bernadette-k.com and I’ll send you a customized invoice for your payment or refund 10% after your purchase using PayPal.

If you order a custom product I will create your invoice to reflect that discount, and if you order directly from me in person I will discount at purchase.

I only have PayPal to use for credit card acceptance (you can use PayPal without having a PayPal account), and I also accept personal checks and cash. Also, local friends can let me know I don’t need to ship their order. I will deduct the shipping cost from their order and we’ll make arrangements for pick up or delivery. Feel free to contact me if you have any problems or questions.


This month’s desktop calendar

ink watercolor sketch of tortoiseshell cat download wallpaper calendar
“Kelly With Grapes and Apple” November 2012 downloadable wallpaper calendar.

I’ve been waiting for this one to come around—when I sketched this back in MayI thought it would make a nice piece of artwork for autumn. It started with the warm golds and oranges and creams in Kelly’s fur, and her contentment in one of her happy spots.

Click here or on the image to go to the link on The Creative Cat where you can download calendars for many different computer monitors and mobile devices.


black cat looking at dispaly of stuff
Mimi checks my arrangement and lighting.

Thank you

Mimi wants you to know that she has properly supervised all the activities in this creative process. She was with me every step of the way, all day and sometimes all night. I could not have done it without her.

And don’t forget that each purchase supports rescuing cats through my own personal efforts, through helping others and also my donations of goods to shelters and rescues for their benefit.

And this holiday season, consider at least one handmade gift or piece of original artwork from one of the thousands of artisans who stay up all night dreaming up and making by hand totally unique stuff. We can’t compete with the department stores, but they don’t do a happy dance when something sells. You’re also supporting a small business, and that’s important to all of us.

Back to work!


Click here to 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 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.


My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

Birches 2: Radiance, ink and watercolor, 2002, © B. E. Kazmarski

As the Harvest Moon has passed and October approaches, I’m sensing signs of autumn everywhere, in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn garb, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some days, and cooler days and nights.

Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork; I’ll feature just a few here in this post, but you can read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some are painted en plein air, but some are studio pieces, like the birch trees above.

And I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please scroll to the end for details.

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 1999 © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I met the paper birch in our front yard I have always been attracted to the delicately detailed white bark of birch trees which seemed to emit its own faint light in any season. Here, in the darkness of the woods, the grouping of white trunks looks like a crowd clustered for discussion, decorated by a maple branch in Birches 1: Autumn Showers.

The technique was an experiment borne of an off-hand remark from a fellow artist. I had just been experimenting with oil pastels, which at first felt like slippery crayons but soon grew to have their own life as I understood the best ways to achieve the colors and textures I wanted. The artist friend mentioned that you could also work with them using turpentine, either softening the crayons in it or drawing on the paper, then painting turpentine over the oil pastel to blend or spread. I chose to use a combination of these as well as wetting the paper with the turpentine and drawing on that area with the oil pastel. The resulting painting actually looks dimensional, and I know it’s only because of the different textures in the work.

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

We have lovely birch groves here in Western Pennsylvania, and this image was reminiscent of one I had encountered while hiking somewhere near me. Not just the white bark, but the contrast with the thin dark twigs and ripples in the bark, is eye-catching, but that autumn display of yellow leaves is nearly blinding. Add a few other leaves to the mix and it becomes a classic autumn scene.

This painting is a real favorite in any color or size; I think others react to the details and the colors as I did when I saw the scene and visualized the painting.

The original is quite large, 22″ x 23″, and drawn in a very fine line black ink. I used a technical pen (a Rapidograph, if anyone remembers those) to draw all the details of the birch trees, taking nearly three weeks just to draw the trees. Even though I’d been visualizing it with the color added for the leaves, after all that work I was hesitant to start painting into the drawing for fear I’d mess it up and ruin all that work. But I got over that and began filling in the leaves in all shades of yellow.

Other subjects too

I’ll review other individual paintings as well, including their meaning to me at the time I painted them since, for some reason, most of my autumn paintings have a story having something to do with family, or my career, and even my cats.

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

View from Beechwood

This was another entry into Carnegie Painted, even though I’d done the painting years before, just out of college, long before I’d decided to devote my career to art. I had given it to my mother as a gift, and when she moved from her home to assisted living the painting moved with her until she had no wall space for it.

When I took it back I decided to enter it in the show and make prints of it. I marvel that I created this when I did, 1983, and I know how much my mother enjoyed it.

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Deserted Cottages

I painted this painting “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. After years of enjoying this painting I posted the story and reconnected with a friend from high school; I’ll write about this some time soon, but I sold the original, and have prints.

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

It was one of those moments that completely overtakes me–the extraordinary in the ordinary. I had gathered these wildflowers on the way home from work during one of those too-brief, clear September evenings, warm, but with a creeping chill in the shadows. Goldenrod and fall asters are just about my favorites, so I brought some home and placed them in the vase on the table on my deck. You can read more about the time of this painting in The Artist’s Life: The Splendor of Autumn on The Creative Cat. I still have the original and can also make prints.

Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon. I sold the original painting, but have many varieties of prints available.

Squashes, oil pastel

Squashes

This is the piece my customer commissioned to coordinate with “Green Apples“, also in this gallery. We discussed several subjects, but as the summer waned and she mentioned golds and earth tones, I knew it had to be squashes.

Ordering Custom Artwork

I have several originals still available, but I also have prints of each of them, framed and unframed, in all sizes from 8″ x  10″ to the full size of the painting, whatever that may be, and in grades from high quality digital to high quality giclee. I’d love to see any of these as canvas prints, which I make individually per order because these are not standard sizes and I need to purchase custom materials but my test prints have been extraordinary, especially with this autumn gallery.

I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please read my page for Ordering Custom Artwork on The Creative Cat to see the possibilities you can choose from, and don’t hesitate to ask questions!


Blue Waves Canvas Print

watercolor of waves

Blue Waves, watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

I first saw the ocean at the age of 30 when I visited Assateague Island, Virginia and felt as if I’d come home to an old friend; I also enjoyed meeting the wild ponies after having read all the books in the Misty of Chincoteague series by Marguerite Henry (and closely studying the illustrations by Wesley Dennis) and read about the island and wildlife refuge.

I conspired how to make a living so I could stay there, but instead brought my photos back and have been painting from them ever since. I have a few originals left and in this heat of August in Pennsylvania I’m thinking of a trip to the beach where the breeze blows and I can run into the water and swim whenever I want.

“Blue Waves” was the last of a series of small paintings of ocean waves, executed as I experimented with watercolor techniques and materials. I wanted to capture the constant movement and sound of the waves, and in this case I used a spattering of opaque white to render the spray as the waves broke on the beach. I’m pleased to say I sold the original and now am offering canvas prints.

This is a signed digital canvas print of an original watercolor painting, gallery-wrapped on wooden canvas stretchers. For this painting instead of painting the sides with black or another color, I left the original rough edges of my watercolor along with the pencil marks on the print and allow that to wrap around the sides, ready to hang or frame as you choose.

The original was only 3″ x 5″, but canvas stretchers are difficult to find smaller than 8″ so I make a slightly larger print and gallery wrap it. It is printed in archival inks on primed canvas, signed by the artist and wrapped and stapled on wooden canvas stretchers. Find it in my Etsy shop.

Other prints of beach paintings

print of watercolor of evening on the beach

Evening on the Beach, canvas print of watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

Evening on the Beach is another work inspired by the beach at Assateague Island painted in 2000. I was back to a study of watercoloring and wanted to capture the changing sunlight on that late summer evening and experiment with all the new colors I’d found and techniques for painting sand and grasses.

pastel painting of sailboat on lake

Serenity, canvas print of pastel painting © B.E. Kazmarski

Serenity is a signed digital canvas print of an original pastel painting, gallery-wrapped on wooden canvas stretchers. For this painting also instead of painting the sides with black or another color, I left the original rough edges of my pastel on the print and allow that to wrap around the sides, ready to hang or frame as you choose.

This sailboat drifted lazily for hours on the calm waters of Lake Arthur in Western Pennsylvania. As the August afternoon tended toward evening, the sky began to grow pink and the shadows darkened and lengthened, and the serene moment seemed to last for hours.

Painted “en plein air” as I sat on one of the beaches at the north end of the lake, watching this sailboat was one of my favorite afternoons; this painting always takes me back to that day.

This painting is 21″ wide x 8″ high, larger than the original but canvas stretchers smaller than 8″ are difficult to obtain. I’ve allowed the rough edges from my original sketch to wrap around the sides instead of printing with black or another color. It’s printed in archival inks on primed canvas, signed by the artist and wrapped and stapled on wooden canvas stretchers.

Other waterscapes

I have many others which you can find under “Waterscapes” on my website, though they are from an era when my photographic abilities and equipment weren’t quite where they are now. I hope to track them down and offer prints some day, but for now you can find these and others in my shop on Etsy.


A Trip to the Beach

watercolor of waves in blue and white

Blue Waves, watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

I first saw the ocean at the age of 30 when I visited Assateague Island, Virginia and felt as if I’d come home to an old friend; I also enjoyed meeting the wild ponies after having read all the books in the Misty of Chincoteague series by Marguerite Henry (and closely studying the illustrations by Wesley Dennis) and read about the island and wildlife refuge.

framed painting

Blue Waves, framed watercolor

I conspired how to make a living so I could stay there, but instead brought my photos back and have been painting from them ever since. I have a few originals left and in this heat wave I’m thinking of a trip to the beach where the breeze blows and I can run into the water and swim whenever I want.

“Blue Waves” is the last of a series of small paintings of ocean waves, executed as I experimented with watercolor techniques and materials. I wanted to capture the constant movement and sound of the waves, and in this case I used a spattering of opaque white to render the spray as the waves broke on the beach.

watercolor of beach houses on the bay

Sunset on the Bay, watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

detail of painting

Detail of Sunset on the Bay

Also from that visit is “Sunset on the Bay, depicting a view from Chincoteague Island across the Chesapeake Bay toward the mainland in Virginia. That stillness, that odd pink light of a sultry evening on the bay…the beach houses along the dock looked so puny and unprotected under that huge sky above and the water below that I took several photos in the days before panoramic images were available.

Later, I brought them out and laid them side by side on my drafting table and sketched the scene onto a full sheet of watercolor paper, not knowing how much of the sky and water I’d use and leaving plenty of extra. I was just experimenting with watercolor techniques and materials and knew I wanted the clarity of the details on the beach houses to contrast with the big sky and water.

pastel painting of sunset on lake

Burnished Waves, paste © B. E. Kazmarski

Coming a little closer to home is a painting I painted on one of the beaches on Presque Isle in Erie, “Burnished Waves”.

The deepening light of evening and sunset burnishes all it touches with gold and silver, and always encourages a time of memory and reflection for me. I had spent the day on Presque Isle in Erie, playing in the water, collecting shells and rocks, photographing the woods and water, and finally settled on one of the beaches facing west to do some painting. Rain clouds rolled in as the sun dropped toward the horizon, deepening shadows and brightening highlights as I did my best to capture the rapidly changing light, the building clouds and lapping waves which grew as the wind increased. I can still feel the sand under my bare feet, dampness in my hair and remember standing there in my bathing suit feeling so connected to the scene after the day of taking it all in.

I matted and framed this painting when I finished it in 1999, but for many years it sat in my “extra paintings” box; there was something I just wasn’t happy with at the time. But when the time came for my annual poetry reading and art show in 2011 and nothing new fit what I was feeling in my poetry, I found this in the extras box and realized that when I painted it, I just wasn’t quite ready for its message.

This painting became the signature image for my fifth and final poetry reading and art exhibit at The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in January 2011 entitled “Burnished Light on Water”, featuring 12 new poems inspired by evening light and reflections, both physical and metaphoric, and an exhibit of paintings and photographs. My mother had been in personal care for years, was seriously ill through 2010 and passed just two days prior to when my reading was scheduled; I continued with it, including a brand-new poem dedicated to her, and knew why that painting had had to wait for me to appreciate it.

Prints of beach paintings

print of watercolor of evening on the beach

Evening on the Beach, canvas print of watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

Evening on the Beach  is another work inspired by the beach at Assateague Island painted in 2000. I was back to a study of watercoloring and wanted to capture the changing sunlight on that late summer evening and experiment with all the new colors I’d found and techniques for painting sand and grasses.

This is a signed digital canvas print of an original watercolor painting, gallery-wrapped on wooden canvas stretchers. For this painting instead of painting the sides with black or another color, I left the original rough edges of my watercolor along with the pencil marks on the print and allow that to wrap around the sides, ready to hang or frame as you choose.

The original was only 6″ x 4″, but canvas stretchers are difficult to find smaller than 8″ so I make a slightly larger print and gallery wrap it. It is printed in archival inks on primed canvas, signed by the artist and wrapped and stapled on wooden canvas stretchers.

pastel painting of sailboat on lake

Serenity, canvas print of pastel painting © B.E. Kazmarski

Serenity is a signed digital canvas print of an original pastel painting, gallery-wrapped on wooden canvas stretchers. For this painting also instead of painting the sides with black or another color, I left the original rough edges of my pastel on the print and allow that to wrap around the sides, ready to hang or frame as you choose.

This sailboat drifted lazily for hours on the calm waters of Lake Arthur in Western Pennsylvania. As the August afternoon tended toward evening, the sky began to grow pink and the shadows darkened and lengthened, and the serene moment seemed to last for hours.

Painted “en plein air” as I sat on one of the beaches at the north end of the lake, watching this sailboat was one of my favorite afternoons; this painting always takes me back to that day.

This painting is 16″ wide x 6″ high printed in archival inks on primed canvas, signed by the artist and wrapped and stapled on wooden canvas stretchers.

Other waterscapes

I have many others which you can find under “Waterscapes” on my website, though they are from an era when my photographic abilities and equipment weren’t quite where they are now. I hope to track them down and offer prints some day, but for now you can find these and others in my shop on Etsy.


Hand-printed “Tabbies” Summer Notecards

set of hand-printed notecards

Set of five “Tabbies” Bright note cards.

So what were Mewsette and I printing this weekend? A few more sets of my block-printed “Tabbies” notecards! Bright-colored card stock and bright-colored inks, I’ve been having fun experimenting with the “Tabbies” series in different styles and colors.

Above is the “Brights” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on five different Astrobright flourescent paper colors, green, blue, pink, yellow and orange, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Brights sets here in my Etsy shop.

Below is the “Summery” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on six different summery paper colors, yellow, pink orange, blue, green and violet, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Summery set here in my Etsy shop.

Set of six "Tabbies" Summer note cards.

Set of six “Tabbies” Summer note cards.

Cards are stamped inside with “Meow” using a commercial stamp, and on the back with my information. Matching envelopes with fuzzy pawprints stamped in the lower right corner are included.

Inside and outside the cards


sample of note card
Sample of Brights set, orange stock with red ink.
"Meow" printed inside each card!
“Meow” printed inside each card!
back printing on note card
The information stamped on the back of each card.

Matching envelopes


colored envelopes
Coordinating Brights set envelopes.
coordinating envelopes for summer brights notecards
Coordinating envelopes for Tabbies Summer set of notecards.

cat and art materials on table

ABOUT THE ART: TABBIES LINOLEUM BLOCK PRINTS

The stripes made me do it! The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape has always been an inspiration for more graphic designs.

These cards were block printed, a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

You can read more about block printing in this article on The Creative Cat, and find more block-printed merchandise on The Creative Cat, on  Portraits of Animals Marketplace and in my Etsy shop under both Linoleum Block Prints for framed art, Block Print Household for textiles and housewares, and Greeting Card Sets for these and other cards.


photo of five cats in studio

Special orders and requests

If you see a daily sketch on The Creative Cat you’d like to have, please tell me. Likewise, if you have a custom item in mind contact me to describe it, or if an item is out of stock and you’d like to know when I’ll be making that item again, please ask!. Send me an e-mail.

I couldn’t do it without my studio cats!

My feline inspirations and I thank you for browsing and for purchasing handmade goods and supporting a small business! Click here or on the photo to read about the studio cats in the photo.


Click here to 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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Forget-me-nots, and a Spring-themed Greeting Card

photo of cat behind lace curtain with forget-me-nots

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

The forget-me-nots are beginning to bloom as they grow taller more quickly, an inch or two each day, in the pots in the windowbox under my dining room window. Each year when I transplant them from the yard and put the pots in place  I remember Sophie and this particular beautiful moment. I’ll always be happy I managed to catch it in a quick little snap on my first tiny digital camera as I left the house one evening in spring several years ago.

Sophie was in one of the windows when I left and when I returned in all seasons, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace, and now that she is gone the forget-me-nots have a special meaning for me.

I knew I had to share this image and a greeting card was the most natural way, and also gives others a chance to use the many meanings in the image to send a message to others, of sympathy, friendship, special thoughts, a quick hello.

“Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” greeting cards are 5″ x 7″, printed on 12 pt. card stock and include an opaque natural white envelope, packaged in a half dozen or full dozen. I print them blank inside for you to add your own message.

CUSTOM PRINTING THE INSIDE

While they are blank inside, you can customize the inside with your own message for an extra $2.50 per dozen; in fact, you can do this with any 5″ x 7″ card on my website. The customization can include a greeting, your name or your company logo. Minimum order for customization is four dozen.

OTHER MERCHANDISE WITH THIS IMAGE

I also offer these image as a framed print and a tote bag. You can find these in my shop on Etsy.

framed print of cat looking through lace curtain

Framed print, Sophie ...

cat behind curtan

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things"

 


“Reorganizing Sale” February 18 at Portraits of Animals Shop in Carnegie Antiques

panoramic image of shop

About one-third of the shop!

In the next few weeks I’ll be completely reorganizing my shop in Carnegie Antiques, taking home things that haven’t shown any interest and heaping up things that have, moving furniture in and out and restocking with new framed art and packaged sets of cards.

The sale will be this Saturday, February 18, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

I’ve moved my greeting card printing to a new printer who uses new paper stock which doesn’t match the older stock. Select individual greeting cards will be $1.00 each, reduced from $2.50.

All matted photos are $2.50, reduced from $5.00.

Everything else is 10% off the price that is marked including other individual greeting cards and sets, crocheted pawprints and flowers, tote bags, framed and unframed wildlife, nature and flowers prints and anything else you can find there.

Carnegie Antiques and Portraits of Animals are located at 423 West Main Street in Carnegie, PA 15106.


Block Print Valentine Note Cards

block print Valentine cards

Linoleum block-printed Valentine cards inspired by Valentine Candy hearts!

I usually print these little linocuts in earth tones or “tabby colors”, but I’ve been itching to use brights and pastels and all sorts of combinations with them. Considering the designs, what better time to start with this than Valentine’s day to create hand-printed cards in magenta on pink, violet, magenta and red card stock, embellished with magenta or purple stamp ink, just saturated with color for Valentine’s Day!

This set of 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards features two designs combining my hand-cut block prints with commercial rubber stamps on smooth uncoated 70 lb. cover stock.

I offer them in sets of single color cards with matching envelopes and in one big set of all four colors.

block-printed note cards

Magenta on pink set.

PINK, VIOLET AND MAGENTA CARDS
A single kitty entitled “Sunshine and Flowers” printed in magenta says “MEOW!” stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “You’re PURRRFECT” is stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp.

Two kitties cuddling for a bath say “You’re PURRRFECT” stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “MEOW!” is stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp.

magenta on red

Magenta on red with purple stamp ink.

RED CARDS
A single kitty entitled “Sunshine and Flowers” printed in magenta says “MEOW!” stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “You’re PURRRFECT” is stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp.

Two kitties cuddling for a bath say “You’re PURRRFECT” stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “MEOW!” is stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp.

violet cards

Violet cards printed in magenta.

On the back of all the cards I’ve stamped in purple ink the name of the series of block prints, my logo and my name and contact information.

Each set comes with Soft Pink 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. The set of six, including three each of the two designs, are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

Individual color sets come with matching envelopes, and use these links to find each of these sets in my Etsy shop:

Pink cards come with Soft Pink envelopes.

Violet cards come with Soft Violet envelopes.

Magenta cards come with Autumn Red envelopes.

Red cards come with Autumn Red envelopes.

three black cats with printed note cards

Mewsette, Giuseppe and Jelly Bean inspect each card.

ABOUT THE ART: TABBIES LINOLEUM BLOCK PRINTS

The stripes made me do it! The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape has always been an inspiration for more graphic designs.

These cards were block printed, a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

These two designs are from a set of four, and have always had a sweet and cuddly feel to me. I’d always printed these in natural earth tones but have been planning to print them in bright colors on brightly-colored paper as well.

Please explore my greeting card collections in my shop on Etsy to see all the designs and others too.

three black cats with cards

"These cats are all covered with funny markings," say the three perfect black cats.

I photographed the process as I printed these—of course, with feline supervision—and I’ll be posting my article soon to explain how block prints are made.

_______________________

All images and text used in this article 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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


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