Category Archives: watercolor

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,
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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.



A Garden Party Summer Art Exhibit

Garden Bench-1000px-for exhibit

The Studio of
Bernadette E. Kazmarski

presents

A Garden Party Summer Art Exhibit

And there’s no need to go anywhere—it’s all on your computer!

I’ve decided to add a few more new originals and a few prints to the mix so I’m extending my annual Garden Party Summer Art Exhibit through the end of August. The art includes some of last year’s original en plein air paintings and  framed originals from previous years as well as framed and unframed archival prints and canvas prints of summer-themed artwork, all in my Etsy shop.

I’m offering a special discount for the month of August, 25% off anything in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. Just use the code “GARDENPARTY” for your special discount. I’ve featured a few in this post—click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery.

If you are interested in receiving my Art and Merchandise e-newsletter, click here to sign up. I don’t do anything with your e-mail but send the occasional e-newsletter, I never share or sell or use in any other way. I’d rather be doing artwork!

April Cloud Study framed original pastel.

April Cloud Study framed original pastel.

Main Street Sunday digital print.

Main Street Sunday digital print.

Red Climbers framed print.

Red Climbers framed print.

Spring Morning Leaves original pastel.

Spring Morning Leaves original pastel.

Fruit framed original pastel.

Fruit framed original pastel.

Evening on the Beach canvas print.

Evening on the Beach canvas print.

Lilacs and Laundry framed original pastel.

Lilacs and Laundry framed original pastel.

And there are many more! Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery, and don’t forget to use your “GARDENPARTY14” discount code for 25% off your purchases.

If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.


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.


“Interior With Cat”, Framed Original or Prints

watercolor of flowers and cat

“Interior With Cat”, watercolor, 8″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

reference photo for painting

Reference photo for painting.

This is a painting I’ve been intending to introduce here for a while, though I painted it in 2000, right about this time of year. With its cheery reds, the bright sun coming in the door and the paperwhite narcissus sprouting out of the pot in the middle of the table, it’s always dated to February for me. It was also one of the first paintings I did after I’d left my day job and began working at home, and I remember the almost guilty feeling of taking a couple of hours in the afternoon to paint, which I’d dreamed of doing for years and hoped to make a part of my daily schedule.

Those calendula, which had braved a pretty hard frost, opened fully when the sun shone in the windows the next day, and that was the first inspiration for this piece. I photographed the calendula, intending to paint only them and have a number of closeups of the flowers. But when I looked over the photographs in preparation for painting, I noticed the cloth, the paperwhites in the pot, the light glare on the table, and of course, Sophie at the door, but I really intended to keep it as just a still life. It developed into a much larger work than I had intended, but it was a fun challenge to create something from a different perspective and in a different style than I had before, visualizing a bright, simplified watercolor. I pictured an “interior”, not just a still life of objects in an arrangement but a moment in time involving more of the space, and I really tried hard to keep Sophie out of it, but it just wasn’t complete until I painted her in, hence the title, “Interior With Cat”.

Being able to begin painting as soon I had the photos developed was another joy because many works had waited years to come to fruition as I worked a day job and had freelance assignments at night.

I enjoyed painting the flowers on that cloth, in part because those flowers were actually handpainted as well. The cloth was woven linen handpainted in Poland, one of the souvenirs of traditional work my mother’s sister had brought back in her travels to find family in Ukraine and Poland; I treasure those items. Though this is brightly colored and might work better for summer, I like it for winter because those bright colors enliven short winter days.

watercolor of flowers

Detail of cloth, calendula and pots.

I managed to have fresh calendula flowers as described above, and I also remember that we had a mild winter that first winter I worked at home, and the calendula was growing in a sheltered spot near my chimney and continued producing flower buds. The other flowers are paperwhite narcissus, one of many flowering bulbs I had always forced in the house in spring to put around on all the windowsills and tables—by February I was ready for blooming flowers and bright colors—and also to place outdoors in my windowboxes (a little more on that, below).

I did enjoy painting those marbles too, in fact I could have done one painting of just those marbles. I found dozens in the yard in the house I had rented, so excited at possibly finding truly vintage marbles, but they were not vintage, actually quite recent. Still, I’ve always loved having them in the bottom of a vase or a jar of plant cuttings and still use them for that today.

detail of watercolor

Detail of glass vase with marbles.

And as I’d mentioned I had not intended to have a cat in this painting. As I worked my way around, though, and looked at the composition I realized I’d have a weak, rather blank spot in the upper left because just the door wasn’t strong enough to balance the patterns, shapes and colors at the bottom. So, in keeping with the loose style of this painting, and with the fact that Sophie and the door are both blurry, I added a loose rendition of Sophie looking out the door. I couldn’t picture it without her, and I’m glad I have her immortalized in another of my paintings.

watercolor of flowers and cat

Detail of Sophie looking out the door.

I was very pleased with the looser, more decorative quality of this painting. Up to then all my watercolors had been very tight, detailed, realistic images. Of course I had set goals for my art career when I’d started working at home, and this was one of them—loosen up!

One other thing to note with this painting—paperwhite narcissus and most other plants growing from bulbs can be very toxic to cats, causing renal failure in a matter of hours. I knew about lilies at the time, but not about other bulbs, and I force-bloomed daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinth, snowdrops, squills, you name it. I know my cats had chewed on them through the years because they chewed on everything, and I never noticed any issues. A couple of years after this, however, I suddenly lost my dilute tortie Nikka in February to acute renal failure and I will always wonder if this was what caused it and I removed all of these materials from my home. If I force blooms for display now, it is done outside, in my cold frame, and they stay outside too.

I hope you enjoy your February image!

Original, prints, cards and merchandise

"Interior With Cat" framed.

“Interior With Cat” framed.

“Interior with Cat” is available in my Etsy shop and the original is still available. I used two elements in the mat and frame that I liked in the cloth pattern: the red outline around the outside, and the outlines on the fruit, which were actually a deep olive green but I used black core mats for the outline effect, and finished it with a narrow white painted wood frame. Click here to see the framed original on Etsy.

I also have it available as a full-size 8 x 12 print or an 8 x 10 print that will fit in a premade frame by trimming a bit off the top of the image in a digital print, a giclee print and a canvas print. Visit this product in my Etsy shop to see all the possibilities.

“Interior With Cat” is also one of the images included in my  Feline Greetings Art Cards as a 5 x 7 image.

GICLEE PRINTS

The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.

I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.

DIGITAL PRINTS

Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original.

The giclees have 2″ of white around the outside edges. The 5″ x 7″ and 8″ x 10″ digital prints are centered on 8.5″ x 11″ digital cover while the 11″ x 14″ has 1″ around the edges because the digital paper is 12″ wide. All are countersigned by me.

CANVAS PRINTS

I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas is white on the sides.

And I will soon have keepsake boxes and wall-mounted art in this design.


Find out about events and festivals  where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.



Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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

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

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Several Original Sketches Sold

watercolor of cat

“Blending”, watercolor.

Over on my feline art sit, The Creative Cat, I post a daily sketch of my cats among other images, photos and informative articles and stories. The sketches began as a way for me to get a little practice each day, completed in the moment and posted that day. They’ve grown into quite the feature and all these images have become new products as framed art and on handmade and printed products. You can read more about my daily cat sketches in the article Muse Medallions and a Special Award in the CWA Communications Contest.

I love being able to send a piece of original artwork, knowing these images of my cats are off in someone’s home. I always have ideas for mats and frames while I’m working, and do the framing myself. Also, once an original has been purchased, it’s also added to the gallery of prints for sale in my Etsy shop.Above is “Blending” and below is “Clash of Titans“, both headed for the same home, someone who has purchased several other framed daily sketches.

framed sketch of cats

“Clash of Titans”, pastel and charcoal.

Below is “Tonal Nap”, which went off to the same home as the two sketches above a few months ago.

framed sketch of cat

“Tonal Nap”, pastel.

The photos document the mats and frames for future reference since prints of paintings often work well with the same mat and frame as the original—sometimes I like to put one together for myself.

Below, “Vigilant Nap”, came out just as I’d wanted, with two mats that coordinate with the paper and some of the colors and textures in the sketch, but it’s overall monochromatic.

You can also find “Vigilant Nap” as the November image in my 12 Sketches of Cats 2014 Fine Art Wall Calendar—read more below!

framed sketch of cat

“Vigilant Nap”, charcoal.

framed sketch of cats

“Their Faces to the Sun”, ink and watercolor.

“Their Faces in the Sun”, above, and “Blue Purple Cats”, below, made their way to the same home, one of our friends in Canada, who has also purchased a few other sketches.

framed sketch of cats

“blue Purple Cats”, ink and watercolor.

Below, I deliver “Highlighted Silhouette” to a friend and customer who is Fromage and Cranberry‘s human—does Fromage think the sketch is her? Or another interloper house panther? And what does Cranberry think of a painting of a black cat in her home?

two cats looking at painting

Fromage inspects the painting close up, which Cranberry inspects Fromage and the painting!

Framed daily sketches usually add up to between $100 and $150 which includes the sketch, the framing and the shipping. I choose the framing from all my samples here, and cut the mat and finish the framing myself in my studio. If you are interested in an original sketch or any other artwork, just send me a message. it’s difficult to post all the sketches I do on Etsy or elsewhere since there are so many, but I often try to anticipate the ones others will want to purchase, and I sometimes mat and frame the ones I like personally.

Prints of these sketches will now be available as well in my Etsy shop, and in addition to the image itself I’ve also posted a photo of the framed original as an idea for framing a print, and mentioned that cost as well, just to see how that works.


12 Sketches of Cats 2014 Wall Calendar

"12 Sketches of Cats Calendar"

“12 Sketches of Cats 2014 Calendar”

If you’d like a few of my daily sketches but prefer to purchase prints, I have a deal for you. This calendar includes 14 images printed in archival inks on acid-free paper in a lovely calendar you can enjoy all year. Considering that I typically sell prints at this size and level of quality for $15.00 each, 14 prints would be $210.00. But this calendar, priced at $45.00, is a perfect idea if you want to purchase a number of prints, and $10.00 of each purchase is donated to a different feline rescue each month—right now it’s FosterCat.

I’ve always admired oversized “art calendars”, the ones where the art is foremost and the calendar just an incidental means of presenting it. Calendars are printed on quality text or cover stock and are only printed on one side of the page with plenty of clear space around the artwork because the image is intended to be framable with nothing printed on the back.

And so 12 Sketches of Cats is digitally printed in the same archival inks and acid-free natural 100# smooth cover stock I use for the digital art prints I sell. Each page is 11″ x 17″ so there is plenty of space to have the art at or near its native size with room for the name and information about the art with the calendar at the bottom. The calendar is spiral-bound at the top with a hole drilled just beneath the spiral so you display one page at a time.

In addition to keeping art near its native size I’ve also sized most of the artwork so it will easily fit a standard frame size. Some images, such as “Shades of Gray” and “World Cat” are smaller than the originals to fit the page. I chose sketches for popularity and narrowed them down for a variety of style and medium. All are in color but there is one bonus pencil sketch; no charcoal or ink sketches seemed to fit with the color art, so of course that might be a calendar of its own someday.

Read more about the 12 Sketches of Cats 2014 Fine Art Wall Calendar here.


black cat with mat cutter

Mimi manages things with the mat cutter.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

 

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!


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.


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST


Daily Sketch: Their Faces in the Sun

watercolor and ink sketch of two cats.

“Their Faces in the Sun”, watercolor and ink, 5″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Mimi and Mewsette settled in the sun from the window on the landing, both of them enjoying the wash of the warm light on their faces as the shadows crept up over their backs.

Often, big soft Mewsette settles somewhere and soon I see little Mimi tucked up against her, two girls enjoying some girl time. So they are, here.

I wanted to exploit the variations in their coat colors and just play with shadows and highlights here. Mimi is quite the cocoa kitty, while Mewsette is a much cooler black, tending toward blue. In this brilliant yellow sunlight, the deepest shadows were a complimentary purple, secondary shadows behind them were not necessarily green but that little experiment worked anyway, and the minor shadows where the yellow tones down and begins to shade to orange were just areas where I felt orange was needed.

Ink lines went in last, unlike the usual technique of drawing the cats then painting in. I sketched them, literally, with a broad brush and let the colors flow together. There is one area I am unhappy with, and I need to manage the flow on the paper a little better, on Mewsette down near the floor, that floating edge has no context and should be softer. I didn’t realize how dry the paper was already. I’ll need to be more careful. If I hadn’t said anything probably most people would not have noticed it, but for the sake of the artists who follow me—be more aware than me!

One year on, I still love this little painting, and I remember the days when I aspired to sketch like this in ink, and apply and blend watercolors so freely. A few years ago I would have either produced a rather insecure much more detailed sketch with more realistic colors, or total mud. Practice makes perfect, even if perfection is loosening up rather than tightening details. I’m so happy with my daily sketch practice; even when I don’t post a new one, as today, I am still working on other artwork, so in a way I’m still practicing!

. . . . . . .

framed sketch of cats

“Their Faces to the Sun”, ink and watercolor.

Where to find this art

I sold the original of this sketch to a regular collector from Winnipeg, but I still offer 5″ x 7″ digital prints in my Etsy shop.

I’ll be glad to mat and frame your print, or mount it on a wood block, just let me know.

I’m also planning a few new keepsake boxes with this sketch, and a few other ideas too. We’ll see what happens!


Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Cat Art and Prints” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Two Years of Daily Sketches.

And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things" 2560 x 1440 for wide and HD monitors desktop calendar wallpaper

"Feline Style Sampler" book of sketches and portraits.

A collection of 34 images of feline artwork

Feline Style Sampler

Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.

Click here or on the image to read more

or find this book in my Etsy shop.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


Also browse 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.


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 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

 


Featured Artwork: “Interior With Cat”

watercolor of flowers and cat

“Interior With Cat”, watercolor, 8″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

reference photo for painting

Reference photo for painting.

This is a painting I’ve been intending to introduce here for a while, though I painted it in 2000, right about this time of year. With its cheery reds, the bright sun coming in the door and the paperwhite narcissus sprouting out of the pot in the middle of the table, it’s always dated to February for me. It was also one of the first paintings I did after I’d left my day job and began working at home, and I remember the almost guilty feeling of taking a couple of hours in the afternoon to paint, which I’d dreamed of doing for years and hoped to make a part of my daily schedule.

Those calendula, which had braved a pretty hard frost, opened fully when the sun shone in the windows the next day, and that was the first inspiration for this piece. I photographed the calendula, intending to paint only them and have a number of closeups of the flowers. But when I looked over the photographs in preparation for painting, I noticed the cloth, the paperwhites in the pot, the light glare on the table, and of course, Sophie at the door, but I really intended to keep it as just a still life. It developed into a much larger work than I had intended, but it was a fun challenge to create something from a different perspective and in a different style than I had before, visualizing a bright, simplified watercolor. I pictured an “interior”, not just a still life of objects in an arrangement but a moment in time involving more of the space, and I really tried hard to keep Sophie out of it, but it just wasn’t complete until I painted her in, hence the title, “Interior With Cat”.

Being able to begin painting as soon I had the photos developed was another joy because many works had waited years to come to fruition as I worked a day job and had freelance assignments at night.

I enjoyed painting the flowers on that cloth, in part because those flowers were actually handpainted as well. The cloth was woven linen handpainted in Poland, one of the souvenirs of traditional work my mother’s sister had brought back in her travels to find family in Ukraine and Poland; I treasure those items. Though this is brightly colored and might work better for summer, I like it for winter because those bright colors enliven short winter days.

watercolor of flowers

Detail of cloth, calendula and pots.

I managed to have fresh calendula flowers as described above, and I also remember that we had a mild winter that first winter I worked at home, and the calendula was growing in a sheltered spot near my chimney and continued producing flower buds. The other flowers are paperwhite narcissus, one of many flowering bulbs I had always forced in the house in spring to put around on all the windowsills and tables—by February I was ready for blooming flowers and bright colors—and also to place outdoors in my windowboxes (a little more on that, below).

I did enjoy painting those marbles too, in fact I could have done one painting of just those marbles. I found dozens in the yard in the house I had rented, so excited at possibly finding truly vintage marbles, but they were not vintage, actually quite recent. Still, I’ve always loved having them in the bottom of a vase or a jar of plant cuttings and still use them for that today.

detail of watercolor

Detail of glass vase with marbles.

And as I’d mentioned I had not intended to have a cat in this painting. As I worked my way around, though, and looked at the composition I realized I’d have a weak, rather blank spot in the upper left because just the door wasn’t strong enough to balance the patterns, shapes and colors at the bottom. So, in keeping with the loose style of this painting, and with the fact that Sophie and the door are both blurry, I added a loose rendition of Sophie looking out the door. I couldn’t picture it without her, and I’m glad I have her immortalized in another of my paintings.

watercolor of flowers and cat

Detail of Sophie looking out the door.

I was very pleased with the looser, more decorative quality of this painting. Up to then all my watercolors had been very tight, detailed, realistic images. Of course I had set goals for my art career when I’d started working at home, and this was one of them—loosen up!

One other thing to note with this painting—paperwhite narcissus and most other plants growing from bulbs can be very toxic to cats, causing renal failure in a matter of hours. I knew about lilies at the time, but not about other bulbs, and I force-bloomed daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinth, snowdrops, squills, you name it. I know my cats had chewed on them through the years because they chewed on everything, and I never noticed any issues. A couple of years after this, however, I suddenly lost my dilute tortie Nikka in February to acute renal failure and I will always wonder if this was what caused it and I removed all of these materials from my home. If I force blooms for display now, it is done outside, in my cold frame, and they stay outside too.

Original, prints, cards and merchandise

framed watercolor

“Interior With Cat”, matted and framed.

“Interior with Cat” is new in my Etsy shop and the original is still available. I used two elements in the mat and frame that I liked in the cloth pattern: the red outline around the outside, and the outlines on the fruit, which were actually a deep olive green but I used black core mats for the outline effect, and finished it with a narrow white painted wood frame. Click here to see the original on Etsy.

I also have it available as a full-size 8 x 12 digital art print or an 8×10 digital art print that will fit in a premade frame by trimming a bit off the top of the image. “Interior With Cat” is also one of the images included in my  Feline Greetings Art Cards as a 5 x 7 image.

I can also have a full-size giclée made upon request. And I will soon have keepsake boxes and wall-mounted art in this design.



Also browse 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.


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 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


Commissioned Portrait: Holly on the Rocker, a Portrait I Couldn’t Resist

watercolor portrait of cat on rocker in victorian room

Holly on the Rocker, watercolor, 8″ x 12″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

Holly is a congenial little calico who greets you at the door and knows she’s the center of attention. On the back of the rocker Holly is accessible to everyone who walks through the room and can see most of the first floor of the house.

You can read about Holly’s rescue in yesterday’s story, A Great Rescue: Holly and a little about Holly herself and her rescuers. Holly’s mom and dad are friends of mine and long-time cat rescuers as I described in the story “A Bridge Between the Ages”.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of Holly.

The scene of this portrait is pretty much what I was looking at when I visited one bright winter afternoon, and while my portraits usually feature the animal subject pr0minently in this case I wanted to capture the colorful and beautiful, warm and welcoming feel of their home where the cats go where they please despite all the pretty stuff.

And I decided that I wanted to paint this as a watercolor instead of my usual pastel, I simply visualized it that way in the moment. I remember thinking, “Neat watercolor….I should probably take some pictures…” I showed the photos to Judi and asked her if she’d mind if I painted from one of them—I’m always sensitive about the interiors of peoples’ homes—and she said that was fine with her and she’d probably be interested in the painting too.

So the scene was pretty much as you see. I was excited at the challenge of the window and the footstool as well as Holly. I used a watercolor block instead of a free sheet of watercolor paper, and the sheets are all attached around the edges and stay fairly flat. The block of paper I have is 9″ x 12″, perfect for the smaller size I wanted to paint.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of rocker and footstool.

I’ve always been a little uncertain with watercolor and usually traced the scene in this way to make sure I could keep things in perspective (that was why it was such a big deal when I painted “Lazy Saturday Afternoon” without pencil lines, it took a lot of practice). I enlarged the photo to the size of the paper and, covering the back of the paper with the side of the pencil lead, I placed the sheet on top of the watercolor pad and lightly traced the outlines of the image from the printout so that the lead would transfer from the back of my printout to the watercolor paper. There’s always a danger of actually impressing the paper with a dent from the pencil which gets in the way of painting, so this step has to go easy. I also don’t always want the traced pencil lines and in this case I was sure I didn’t because the details were so fine. Tracing lightly not only doesn’t impress the surface of the paper, it also just leaves a faint pencil line which is easy to paint over or erase.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of windows.

Then to choose the colors and techniques. I lightly painted over each area in a base wash of color to block it off, erasing pencil lines where the colors would be light enough to see them. Generally with watercolor, unlike pastel where I nearly always use a colored paper and work the white back into the area for greater depth, the watercolor paper is white, and anything pure white in the painting is not painted at all, and believe it or not it was difficult to remember not to paint Holly. And even though I enjoy working out animal fur in pastel I was looking forward to her clear calico markings done with a brush and liquid.

The chair is upholstered in velvet and that texture is a natural for pastel and I’ve done plenty of wood tones in pastel, and it was exciting to translate my usual methods from a medium I’m so accustomed to into watercolor. This can be confusing, visualizing one thing but accustomed to creating it in a totally different method! Once I had practiced a bit and was accustomed to the techniques of layering colors to mix and blend and simply deepen with each successive layer, then washing off areas for soft blends and highlights, I was glad for my narrow liner brushes when it came to Holly’s markings, the flowers on the footstool, the lead in the window and the shadows on the door at right.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of the tree and the door.

One thing I’m a little disappointed in with the reproduction is the right-hand window next to the stained glass window. It’s a plain glass window behind a mini-blind with lots of light coming through, and I carefully painted the shadow of each horizontal slat. You can see a trace of them, but I don’t think you get the feel of the blind. The only reason I mention it is I decided to paint the blind because I felt that area needed a pattern to balance the rest of the painting. With the heavy leafy darkness of the ficus tree on the left, the right side needs a pattern as well. But that’s why studying original art is important, while looking at prints is nice.

And to be perfectly honest, I have always wished I had thought change that blue terry hand towel to something more Victorian, a shawl perhaps. I had intended to when I was visualizing, but forgot when it came to transferring the image and didn’t remember until it was pretty much in place. I did try to remove some of the paint in preparation for a change, but the paper started to show too much wear and tear from reworking. But I can live with this!


About Judi and her business(es)…

woman with black and white cat

Judi with Hilda

Judi is a friend of mine and a customer for my business, so visit the website she and I designed and see if anything strikes your fancy, and if you are local to Pittsburgh, visit her shop Carnegie Antiques where I had my little shop in the back room and also the estate sales she sets up and hosts for her customers.

You can see a little more of her lovely home and photos of her cats in “A Bridge Between the Ages”, and you can also see other of her cats in Out in the Garden, one of my favorites, and sweet since the subject, Houdini, is now gone, and Emerson, which I took just a few weeks ago when I checked on him while Judi was out for a long day with an estate sale.


Prints, note cards and more featuring this artwork

I offer a signed digital print of this painting in archival inks on matte-finish cover stock, centered on a sheet at least 11.5″ x 14.5″ so that you can slip it into a frame with an 11″ x 14″ mat. I can always have prints made for you in other sizes or on canvas or other materials, and I can also custom frame your print or custom cut a mat for a frame you already own. Visit my Etsy shop for details about prints. Visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on ordering a custom product.

This image is also available in my set of Feline Greetings Art Cards on Etsy. You can also purchase a single card or a dozen in a box on my website, and I’d be glad to make up a special box for you, just ask.

And I’m currently designing two completely new products with this image and I’m so excited but I have to wait until my trials with them work. Hopefully I’ll be able to share them come April!

You can also find this image at my Fine Art America site

You can also visit my Fine Art America site for other types and sizes of prints of this painting, including canvas and acrylic and matted and frame.


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Holly 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.


 

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 from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Also browse 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.



Featured Artwork

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and at assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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The Spring Kitten Hand-tinted Block Print

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I once had a pure white long-haired kitty with pea green eyes and a pink nose named Sally. She was also completely deaf, and completely fearless; without distraction, she lived in her own little world, full of sleep and joy and play. She was the inspiration for many sketches, paintings and photos, and for this little piece as well; click the image to see a gallery of other black and white photos of Sally.

white cat reclining

Sally reclining, click the photo to see more black and white photos of Sally.

Almost everywhere I’ve lived there has been a quince bush, an old-fashioned favorite for its early bright pink flowers—so early, in fact, that the bush in my neighbor’s yard in the years when Sally was young bloomed every year during the January thaw, and then snow would fall on the bright pink blooms, nestling in the curve of the branches like Sally when she’d found a good cozy spot.

Below is the actual reference photo I used for this block print. Can you see the white kitten shape in the snow? Scroll down to the detail of the block print below.

quince blossoms with snow

Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.

Sure, I took some artistic license with the snow, but that’s what art is all about—and the shape you see below is what I actually saw when I got the photos back and flipped through them (remember those days?), and though it was years before I created this little print the idea stayed with me all that time.

detail of "The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

The style of this design was inspired after studying and practicing many illustration traditions, from Asian-inspired block prints and brush paintings to metal and wood etchings and block prints used for books and periodicals. My reference photo (which I kept) shows the branch with the flowers against a brilliant blue sky, and a soft little pile of snow in the angle which became the sleeping kitten.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Also inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, and manuscripts were often illustrated with wood block prints. It’s difficult for me to carve wood, so I’ve gone for artist’s linoleum, much easier on my hands.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with black and white mats

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, black frame with black and white mats

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. Visit my post featuring “Fawnball” and the Tabbies series of note cards for a demonstration of block printing.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

I began only printing this on white rice paper in black or hand-tinted as you see here, and sold them framed and unframed. I love colored rice paper as well as handmade and unusual papers, though, and every year I create a few on new and different papers.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on pink silk and rice paper

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on pink silk and rice paper

Of necessity, they can only have a small amount of texture and small or muted patterns so that they don’t compete with the print. I have a limited amount of space to hang prints to dry, so I’ve only used two of the papers, and am preparing for more!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

My wood-mounted and keepsake art was quite popular and fun to make, so I also made up a few 4″ x 6″ wood-mounted prints and have a few 5″ x 7″ blocks as well as small keepsake boxes on hand for the next part of the experiment.

Wood-mounted "Spring Kitten" print, 4" x 6",

Wood-mounted “Spring Kitten” print, 4″ x 6″

I also offer this image as a wood-mounted piece and on various textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags. You can click any image in this post to find the item for sale in my Etsy shop, or to find everything that’s available featuring this little piece of artwork, search my Etsy shop for: “SPRING KITTEN”, which will bring up all the items currently available.

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.

Epilogue

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image, and I created this one before I felt really confident in my drawing skills and was experimenting with ripped-paper collage, popular in the late 80s, using a piece of matboard, construction paper and tempera paints…it’s a bit worse for the wear of 25 years, with a few pieces missing.

paper collage

“Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound”

And of course I can’t photograph any artwork without my composition and lighting director cruising through…and it’s an interesting thought to connect my feline households of long ago with today’s in this way.

black cat with artwork

Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.


black cat on papers

Art papers.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

These papers were part of Mewsette’s lesson on “art papers”! All rolled up with those papers you see are delicate white and colored sheets of rice paper. Mewsette still doesn’t understand, but it’s okay..


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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 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.


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

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Daily Sketch Reprise: Colorful Kelly

watercolor pencil drawing of tortoiseshell cat

“Colorful Kelly”, watercolor pencils © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This sketch totally surprised me—I’d never done a thing like it before. Inspired by Kelly awaking from a nap on my desk I’d been about to try out these watercolor pencils while she was sleeping. I discovered that what I thought was black was navy blue and decided to go ahead. I’m so glad I did. It captures Kelly in a very special way.

So pretend the blue is black, as I discovered the set does not have a black pencil, but here is tortie Kelly sleeping on my desk. I don’t mind the blue because it’s a complement of orange, the other tortie color, even though the orange here looks like a dark red. But as long as she has the round green eyes and the big rounded ears, she’s my Kelly, and it’s a bonus that she has the little hind paw with the toes spread and the front paw curled so she can bathe it.

This is watercolor pencil again, more fun each time…if only my scanner had a better eye for blue.

The next morning…

I was unhappy with the colors in this—the blue was too purple and the orange was just too dark, no one was really seeing what I was seeing so as soon as the sun was bright enough I too the little painting outside to photograph in natural daylight. Compare for yourself and see if you can find the differences.

watercolor of tortoiseshell cat

Colorful Kelly (same painting, photographed instead of scanned), watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Watercolor is difficult because it’s transparent and when scanning, and even photographing, the light shines through it to the nearest opaque surface, which is the paper. Everything from ambient light in the room to anything else that’s in the shot or in the scan can influence the color balance.

And even with this, the sunlight was still too “warm” that early and the whites were a little shadowed; I could photograph it again later this afternoon and it would be different again.

Yikes! Sometimes I spend more time trying to get a good image of my little sketches than I spend actually creating them, but it’s all worth it. Colorful Kelly was very much worth all the effort since she was popular no matter the color balance, and I can see a lot of potential for her!

. . . . . . .

"Colorful Kelly" orignal matted and framed.

“Colorful Kelly” orignal matted and framed.

Find the Artwork

I have sold the original but made certain to have a set of accurate prints made first.

This signed digital print is 5″ X 7″ made on matte-finish letter-size acid-free 100 lb. digital paper. Prints are $15.00 each in my Etsy shop.

keepsake box with cat

Colorful Kelly Keepsake Box

I have a print framed like the original with white top mat and cobalt blue second mat and 1.5″ flat painted white frame in my Etsy shop for $50.00. Please ask if you are interested.

“Colorful Kelly” has also been popular as a wood-mounted print and as a keepsake box. I will be preparing more of these as spring arrives. You can always search my Etsy shop for “Colorful Kelly” to see what’s available or send me an email to request a custom product.


Click here to find out how you can help homeless cats and get a gift certificate!

Treats For Homeless Cats And Caretakers


Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Cat Art and Prints” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Two Years of Daily Sketches.

And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.

"Interior With Cat" desktop calendar for wide and HD monitors.

“Interior With Cat” desktop calendar for wide and HD monitors.


"Feline Style Sampler" book of sketches and portraits.

“Feline Style Sampler” cover.

A collection of 34 images of feline artwork

Feline Style Sampler

Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.

Click here or on the image to read more

or find this book in my Etsy shop.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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 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.


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

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Commissioned Portraits: Star and Pepe, and Their House

pastel portrait of german shepherd and terrier
“Star and Pepe”, 1994, pastel, 12″ x 16″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Star and Pepe weren’t cuddle buddies and though they were totally different in their relationship with their humans and the way they’d come into their lives, they shared the duties of guarding their home in their own ways.

Star, a papered German Shepherd, was a old farm dog, a guard dog, and sometimes a herding dog. Having started out his life on a farm, this couple had had to sell the small farm after an injury prevented them from working it any more, kept a couple acres of land and built a home. Star came with them to the new home, but while he’d been well-fed and cared for and was very much loved by his people, he’d spent a good bit of his life running the perimeter of the fences, patroling the barns and keeping intruders and wildlife away from the animals in the fields. When they moved to the house he was not interested in sleeping on the couch and though they had acreage letting him to roam as he had on the farm just didn’t work. The compromise was to give him a big sheltered house outside and a long lead on a run so that he had could still run some distance, inspect what was happening at the edge of the woods and keep an eye on his home.

When I met him he was about 15 years old, and in 1994 that was very old for a German Shepherd and it was easy to see he had some arthritis and found it difficult to run, but he greeted his people and me with all the gravity of his lifelong occupation of working dog.

Pepe on the other hand was a coddled little Yorkie who thought of himself just as much the watchdog as his far larger and more muscular fur brother, but what he lacked in strength he made up for  volume. The people had decided they wanted a dog to be in the house with them but didn’t want a large dog, and they wanted a dog that would be happy to accompany them outdoors in all weather and Pepe filled that description. He and Star regularly checked in with each other, touching noses, exchanging glances, sharing canine information all the while I was there, Star pretty much lying or walking in one area near his house, and Pepe running circles around him and us and everything else. The people loved them both, allowing the two dogs to be who they were.

The house portrait

House portrait, 1994, watercolor, 12" x 16" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
House portrait, 1994, watercolor, 12″ x 16″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This couple had decided they wanted two pieces of artwork done at the same time so they could hang them together. They had relatives who had commissioned me to paint their cats and their parents’ house, so this couple wanted both a portrait of their dogs and of their relatively brand new house, which obviously wasn’t complete without their dogs.

At that time I painted houses in watercolor, not pastel, because it was easier to work the fine details and I just preferred the way they turned out in watercolor. The two would be the same size and would be matted and framed the same.

I was so pleased to be able to paint both in autumn for all its colors, but especially the house, since it was largely white. I had a great time with the window reflections and the shadows from those huge maple trees. I photographed both of these pieces through the glass, not necessarily the best way to capture detail.

And I’d unsuccessfully searched for the reference photos I’d taken to create these portraits, then I remembered that way back in the beginning I dedicated one or more rolls of film to a portrait and I charged my customers for it when I had to visit them to photograph my subjects, so I gave them the photos when the art was done.

Star began staying in their garage over that winter, though he demanded to be let out first thing each morning by digging at the door, and Pepe barked until Star was out on his lead. But by early the next summer he was beginning to fail until all they could do was open the garage door for him each day. I was very touched when they called me near the time he died to tell me how he was doing, and then when he’d passed.  Star had a huge spirit that wouldn’t have been contained by a house even if he’d been raised in one, and I could feel all the loyalty and strength that was the essence of the domestic dog that had accompanied the human race for millennia when I was with him.

. . . . . . .

For a couple of other autumn portraits see also Betts, Sophie and Ellie, Being Very Good and Cassie and Tyler, Rescued Rescue Dogs.




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 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

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 on The Creative Cat, on my main website, 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 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.normalcy.


Click here to find out how you can help homeless cats this holiday season!

Sophie-HolidayCheerForHomelessPets-300



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

 


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