Category Archives: watercolor

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’m featuring several new original en plein air paintings plus 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.

I’ve spent the past year focusing on building my following for feline and animal art, writing and poetry on The Creative Cat and now I’ve hit the trail again and I’ll be publishing seasonally with new and existing art and photography as well as other inspirations.

As always, if you’re no longer interested in receiving this e-newsletter, please use the unsubscribe link below. If you are interested in receiving The Creative Cat e-newsletter, click here to see a sample, and use the sign-up link to join the list. 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.

Sunset on the Bay original watercolor.

Sunset on the Bay original watercolor.

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 “GARDENPARTY” 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.

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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.


January Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: Darling Clementine

watercolor of cat in kitchen
“Darling Clementine”, watercolor, 12″ x 9″ © B.E. Kazmarski

January light is so beautiful, the sun still at a low angle streaming into windows and doors, the days often overcast and the brilliant warm yellow sunlight a respite, and this is what has Namir transfixed in the stream of sun that washes in the back door in winter—and probably a few birds bobbing about on the deck chasing stray bird seed.

photo of cat with kitchen items
Reference photo for “Darling Clementine”.

The reference photo for this is at left, one of many I took over the course of nearly three months of occasionally sunny mornings January through March 2007 when Namir would finish breakfast then go bathe,  sit and nap in the sun. Namir’s posture and cattitude as well as items in the box and the box itself changed each day as it does in the course of my housekeeping; the angle of the sun changes as I took photos earlier and later and from different angles. I love them all and knew, as I had known with Peaches and Peonies, that I’d do a painting from this as well as having this series of photos.

But it wasn’t until the morning of Darling Clementines, as I call it in my own shorthand, with its mix of color, glass and Namir’s intent expression that my fingers got all twitchy as they do when they want to paint, and I immediately visualized a watercolor, clear and detailed, those clean edges and translucent colors carrying what I saw, better than my pastels. I pictured my palette, my fine liner brushes, applying the Prussian blue around the letters “D” and “A”, the clementine itself already painted in place, and then Namir’s profile, his rounded nose with its gray spots, his satellite-dish ears completely facing forward, the details of eyes and fur and whiskers I studied all the time. When I start watching myself paint something that’s not even begun, I know I have no choice but to paint the thing or it will be constantly in my vision like a song that won’t go away—but in this case, not an annoying one.

detail of cat in painting
Detail, just Namir.

Still, I knew another image I liked even more might come up since the lovely mornings continued, and rather than confuse the issue with starting one and seeing another I wanted to paint even more, I waited. And I also added things intentionally after that, baskets, other jars, jars of beans, my gardening clogs, you name it—even other cats, including Namir’s biggest admirer, not Kelly, but Lucy.

And as a part of our daily lives then, Stanley was still with us, 25 years old, enjoying what he could of each day until January 25 when he finally decided he was ready to transition to the next existence. We all surrounded ourselves with beauty for that month and afterward and I have a truly lovely series of photos infused with memories which I will share here through the spring, but still, “Darling Clementines” won.

I did have the opportunity to paint it fairly soon after, which is really not typical in my usual schedule but probably saved my sanity once it got a start. I gave myself a very light pencil outline of the main objects, then some of the details like the lettering, applied a few light washes of color to give myself a sense of direction. I was really looking forward to the lettering on the containers, the patterns in the wood, Namir’s ears and that lovely white area with highlight and shadow. I had a good feel for how I’d paint everything but those canning jars and figured I’d work it out when I got there. After a lot of visual study of other artists, that’s generally how I learn, just get the brush to the paper.

detail of painting
Detail, bread crumbs and wood.

This type of a watercolor, for me, is very time-consuming, so I planned it smaller than many of my other extremely detailed works, only 12″ wide by 9″ high. After the initial sketch and washes I plan my work sessions for at least two hours, preferably four, and try to make them at the same time each day so that I am either working with daylight or my work lights and can keep my colors consistent. I also prefer to work on consecutive days until I’m done, but even every other day is okay; it’s difficult to stay consistent when too many days go by between sessions. Each session, I choose an area or an object to work on so that I keep the colors and style consistent, working on Namir’s face, for instance, then working my way back in successive sessions.

But how do you paint glass? You see through it, so…what do you paint? It’s one of the times when you apply the lesson of “painting what you see” instead of “painting what you know”. I know what glass looks like, what it feels like and other properties of it as an object, but I had to study the glass and “see” the effect of the jars on what was behind them in order to paint what was really there. That was easy once I grew accustomed to it, but the highlights on the glass really had me confused. With pastels I paint the area with a base color then work my highlights up to their relative brightness and apply the lightest highlights as one of the last things I paint. With watercolors, you usually leave your highlights open to show the color of the paper as the lightest area, and work down from that level to the relative colors around it. Many was the time I had to stop, study, visualize and then, finally, paint what I saw. I used this lesson again the next spring when I painted the vase in “Peaches and Peonies”.

detail of painting
Detail, canning jars and lettering.

I have often received gifts bearing cat art and kept them all, and as I moved through learning to draw and paint I studied everything that was available commercially, from calendars to coffee mugs to accent rugs for style and composition. I still have my day book featuring paintings of Lesley Anne Ivory with her lovely furballs on highly decorative and patterned backgrounds, which worked their way into portraits such as “Tibbie” with its Oriental rug and leather-bound books. When I began framing I discovered Charles Wysocki through framing limited-edition prints of “Ethel the Gourmet” and “Frederick the Literate”. And years ago I studied the art of a feline artist Wendy Christensen whose images on Christmas cards I kept through the years to study (and still have), only to find years later that she is a fellow Cat Writers’ Association member and who I’ve since had the chance to meet. What a thrill to meet one of my idols and have her compliment me!

And we are also thrilled that “Darling Clementine” is Cat of the Month in the January 2013 Catnip Chronicles!

You can read more about Namir in “Who Was That Namir, Anyway?”

black cat looking at painting
Mr. Sunshine remembers Namir.

Where to find this painting

I donated this painting to the art exhibit at the first BlogPaws conference, so the original has been sold. I offer prints of this painting as a full-size highest quality giclee, and archival digital prints both full-size and 8×10, as an 8×10 wood-mounted print and a matted and framed 5×7  in my Etsy shop. Click here to see all the options listed here in a gallery on Etsy.

You can also find “Darling Clementine” as part of my “Feline Greetings” series of cat-themed art cards.

This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve also worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy during the month of January! Reading statistics and knowing that more than half of my readers view this site on a mobile device, I also offer the dimensions for desktop images for mobile devices.

  1. Click on one of the links below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. Right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. I’m not entirely sure how this is done on a mobile device, but I’ll bet it’s not too different.

Desktop and laptop computers

2560×1440 (16:9 for large monitors)
1920×1200 (16:10 and HD monitors)
1920×1080 (16:9 monitors)
1280×1024 (4:3 monitors)

Mobile Devices

240×320 (smartphones, texting phones)
480×320 (Blackberry, HTC)
640×960 (iPhones)
600×1024 (Nook Color, Blackberry Playbook)
768×1024 (iPad)
720×1280 (Android phones)
800×1280 (Samsung Galaxy, etc.)

“Darling Clementine” January Desktop Calendar.

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 Portraitsportrait of black cat in wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitspastel portrait of dogs

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.


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

Subscribe to 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.


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.


A Very Special Mother’s Day in 2006

watercolor portrait of dog and two cats

Shadow, Casey and Ralph, watercolor, 12″ x 16″, 2006 © B.E. Kazmarski

Several years ago, a couple who had each had me paint portraits of their cats Dusty and DeVille as gifts for each other decided they wanted to give her mother a portrait of her mother’s dog and two cats as a Mother’s Day gift. They all shared the same love for their animal companions, and Shadow, the dog, was growing older. All the animals were rescues, adopted from shelters.

detail of portrait

Shadow’s face; Shadow was black with a lot of mahogany in his fur.

The two went about sneaking photographs from her mother and mailing them to me. The very first portrait I had done for them was a watercolor of his cat Dusty and the second a pastel of her cat DeVille, but for this portrait they chose watercolor.

detail of orange cat's face

Casey’s face, clear stripes and yellow eyes.

Most of my portraits are pastel but I enjoy the break when I the commission is a different medium. I looked forward to it, studying the photos and visualizing the colors and the brushes I’d use for fur and stripes and animal eyes and noses, seeing the brush strokes on the watercolor paper.

detail of portrait

Ralph, deep orange and white, and a little timid.

They gave her the portrait in my studio

When portraits are gifts, I am rarely present for the giving but in this case they decided to present it here because they wanted her mother to meet me. She actually had no idea why she was coming to this stranger’s house, just appreciating the day out with her daughter and son-in-law.

I had the framed portrait on my easel in the corner covered with a silk scarf I keep for the occasion. This was several years ago and I now work upstairs, but I have always kept an easel in the corner of my “office” downstairs, the room intended to be a living room into which you enter, for presentation and display of current work. At the right time of day you can see right into the room so I’ve always been careful when people were coming to visit their portraits that they couldn’t see them before they even came into my house.

pastel portrait of tabby and white cat

DeVille, pastel, 10″ x 12″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

They introduced me and my household of cats, and we talked about our pets while we had snacks and iced tea. Then I slipped into the kitchen and they took over, leading their mother to the easel and letting her know the purpose of the visit, pulling the scarf off the portrait so she could see Shadow, Casey and Ralph. I re-entered the room; it was a wonderful moment to share with the three of them.

They were sure her mother would love a portrait of her companions, and I knew if her mother was anything like the couple I had gotten to know there was no better Mother’s Day gift—not only recognizing and sharing her mother’s love for her pets, but also the gift the daughter had obviously inherited from her mother, a loving and generous heart and compassion for people and animals.

detail of portrait

Detail of DeVille.

A Mother’s Day Special, and Father’s Day too

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

Thank those people who gave you this gift—and I’m loosely defining mother and father because sometimes the person who shared their love of animals with you was an aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor who rescued cats or dogs. In everyone’s life is at least one special person who shared a love of animals, and in that person’s life there is often an animal companion who is or was very special to them.

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Mother’s Day—and Father’s Day as well. Portraits take up to four weeks, especially with framing and then shipping, but we can work things out with certificates and portraits that are done some time in the next two months.

About Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificates

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

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.

Mother’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use MOTHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use MOTHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Father’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use FATHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use FATHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

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.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

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.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat in wicker chair

Commissioned Dog Portraits

pastel portrait of dogs

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.


A Matched Set: Two Little Watercolor Portraits

painting of two cats on windowsill with sheer curtain
Buster and Kitty, watercolor, 4″ x 5″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

Back when I was just beginning in animal portraiture a friend and fellow cat rescuer showed me photos of her cats, Buster and Kitty, and offered me prints in case I’d ever like to create paintings from any of them. Though I have difficulty just keeping up with my own household I won’t turn down photos of any cats, especially those in her lovely Victorian-themed apartment.

“Cats looking out windows” has always been a favorite theme of mine. Add the delicacy of sheer ruffled curtains and I’m totally hooked. It’s the whole scene I love, the moment, even the silly one of just seeing butts and tails on the windowsill and shadowed silhouettes through the curtain. Those memories are special, and even if we’re looking at others’ cats they still call to mind our own cats at the same moments.

I knew her cats and her apartment as she knew my cats and my home. We worked together and were also cat sitters for each other, and while my visit to her house was fairly simple with her two and then three cats, I had nine cats for her to feed and pet and entertain in my house.

She and her husband purchased a home and as I pondered what would be an appropriate housewarming gift for a friend I remembered the photos, especially those two of the kitties on the windowsills. I’d do a portrait! I remembered how she had loved the traditional features of that apartment, the oak parquet floors, big rooms and high ceilings, that wide traditional molding on the windows darkened with age. And of course she loved her cats, so the combination of the two was sure to be a winner.

But which photo? The photo with both cats didn’t show their faces, and while I do like unconventional poses and scenes for portraits I didn’t feel that was enough. The other was a typical posture for Buster with his legs stretched out and “looking at his toes”, and while I pondered how to fit Kitty in there from other photos I decided I’d rather not.

I’d do them both. Just two little paintings. That solved it.

painting of black and white cat on windowsill
Buster Lookin’ at His Toes, watercolor, 4″ x 5″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

I loved the sheer curtain and the traditional wooden windowsill, but rather than my usual pastel, I had been visualizing them in watercolor all along. I was pretty new to watercolor then, just about two years into it and not too many paintings yet, but I’d been studying quite a bit of other artists’ work. I could picture how I’d render the harder shadows and highlights on the wood, and knew it would carry the gauzy shadows on the curtain. The soft shadows on the walls would be a challenge, but the cats would be a joy—meeting my favorite subject in a different medium for once, like sharing a new experience with a friend.

They are matted and framed individually, but with the same mats and frames. Unlike most other portraits I feature, you are seeing these at about the actual size they were painted.

About the kitties

Kitty was a rather large and imperious long-haired black kitty they’d adopted from a shelter, and oh how I wanted a long-haired black kitty after meeting him! My black kitty Kublai was the love of my life, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a crush on another, even with Kitty’s, well, cattitude. He was okay, he never swatted me—but then I’d been well-trained by Sally, my white long-haired kitty, in the fine art of knowing when “happy happy purr purr” turned into “I’m totally done with this right now.”

Buster was but one kitten from many litters born to a cat in a trailer park who simply was never spayed. The fact that a neighbor was setting out antifreeze for them to drink neither inspired the cat’s owner to get the cat fixed nor to keep them all indoors and safe. Buster’s mom and dad had recently lost a kitten they’d adopted to feline leukemia, and Buster’s dad, wanting to save at least one kitten from death by antifreeze and help ease the grief of the loss, chose one tiny black and white kitten to take home. At first, he was ordered to take the kitten back, the loss was too soon, but within hours, reconsidering the possible fate of the little guy, Buster’s mom told him to go back and get him.

And Buster is also the January kitty in my Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book. I hadn’t seen his mom for years when I began the book and wanted to use his portrait, then realized my photos from that era weren’t up to print quality and I’d have to rephotograph it. I had the chance to look her up and visit again (and, yes, I do have that photo of Buster and Ginger, they are on the list!).

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.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

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.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat in wicker chair

Commissioned Dog Portraits
pastel portrait of dogs

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.


Favorite Daily Sketches Available on Etsy

framed painting of sleeping cat

Kelly in Warm Colors, framed pastel, 8" x 10" © B.E. Kazmarski

You could say this is a People’s Choice Gallery! I appreciate the feedback and requests about my daily sketches on The Creative Cat. According to what you’ve asked I’ve expanded the gallery of daily sketches in my Etsy shop to include both framed originals and digital prints as well as a few framed prints. I am working on framing for others as well. If there’s a sketch you’d like to see in my Etsy shop, please speak up!

Above is “Kelly in Warm Colors” in a frame I hand-tinted in tones of gold to match the warm colors in the sketch. For the mats I used a forest green suede-finish mat for that wonderful richness it imparts and the natural patterning of suede that mimics my blending and fingering style when I work my pastel on drawing paper, and a gold liner mat that brings a little bit of reflected light next to the painting. Overall it’s 8″ x 10″, and I’m very pleased to see this sweet little sketch in this more finished form. I am also offering it as a digital print, and in the very near future will also offer this and many others as small prints on stretched canvas—my first proofs of these have worked well and been very attractive. Read more about this sketch from the day I posted it.

Other small and colorful works

Here are a the other small and colorful sketches I’ve added to my gallery.

framed oil pastel sketch of cat

Grape Jelly Bean, framed oil pastel, 8" x 10" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Grape Jelly Bean from the day I posted it. I learned the art and skill of picture framing years ago when I had an estimate on framing the first of my own cat portraits. Now I purchase directly from wholesale suppliers and often from manufacturers and a portion of my studio and my time is devoted to keeping my matboards, frames, glass, finishes and specialized tools for framing. But I’ll often shop for quality pre-made frames for smaller art because it’s often less expensive.

framed watercolor of cat

Colorful Kelly, framed watercolor, 8" x 10 © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Colorful Kelly from the day I posted it. I love these wide, plain white frames I found! The moment I  saw them I knew they’d be perfect for these small simple and colorful paintings.

framed print of oil pastel painting

Two Cats After van Gogh, framed digital print, 8" x 10" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Two Cats After van Gogh from the day I posted it. The weathered white frame is nice for small colorful works as well. I had spent some time playing around with customizing mat boards and wide wooden unfinished frames to coordinate with these three works, above, but no matter what I did it just overwhelmed the works. I decided to let them speak for themselves, and these simple frames to do that with just the addition of complementary, unpatterned mats.

The original sketch of “Two Cats After van Gogh” actually sold before I had the chance to post it, but I’ve decided to offer a print framed as the original in its place.

Larger sketches in one or two colors

Several pencil, charcoal, ink and conté sketches were also popular, and I’ve framed the first group for which I gathered complementary frames and mats. In addition to retail frames and custom framing, I also “repurpose” older frames which I purchase at thrift shops, and I have a constant supply which friends give me rather than tossing them in the trash or donating them. Matching art with frames is just as fun.

framed pencil sketch of cats on a bed

Curled on the Bed, framed pencil sketch, 12" x 14" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Curled on the Bed from the day I posted it. I’ve had this frame for a while with its little scrolly pattern in a dull gold with a blue-gray wash that fills the areas between the curlicues. I had intentionally included background details in this sketch and thought this frame would help to bring them forward with both the pattern and color.

framed pencil sketch of three cats on bed

Three Cats, framed pencil sketch, 12" x 16" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Three Cats from the day I posted it. I use this black molding for a number of things and its matte finish always takes as a very dense black, but that contrasts well with the more delicate pencil lines and shadings of one of my first daily sketches—the one that inspired me to begin posting daily sketches, in fact. I used softer tones with this, a mauve marbled top mat and solid mauve liner mat, to enhance the idea of peaceful rest demonstrated by three cuddling kitties.

framed pencil sketch of three cats eating

Dinnertime!, framed pencil sketch, 12" x 16" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Dinnertime! from the day I posted it. This sketch of the three girls is one of my favorites, and because Kelly and Cookie are torties with touches of orange and Mimi has a good bit of mahogany in her fur I used a rust-colored liner mat to recall those tones, and a silver-gray marbled mat to complement the pencil.

framed pencil and watercolor sketch of cat

Peaches' Nap Spot, pencil with watercolor, 12" x 16" © B.E. Kazmarski

This sketch is not one of the current set I’ve been posting on The Creative Cat, but from a few years ago when I did sketches around the house occasionally, featuring sweet little Peaches. I’ve used this sketch to illustrate stories and also offer it as a greeting card, but the original has been tucked into a sketch book for safe keeping; I decided to frame it along with these others.

conte sketch of three cats

Massive Cuddle Puddle, conté and charcoal, 11" x 14" © B.E. Kazmarski

Read more about Massive Cuddle Puddle from the day I posted it. The full name of this sketch is “Massive Cuddle Puddle Blocks Major Work Space” and coordinates with a few photo posts from a day when my desk was piled high with cats cuddling under the kitty keep-warm lamps. It has surprised me that a medium like conté, which is not very well-known outside of art classes though it’s been around for centuries, was immediately popular with readers. I like its expressiveness and the richness of its colors, especially the red which mimics the natural red earth color often used in traditional art and craft and dating back to prehistoric cave paintings. The top mat on this matches that red color in a red earth toned suede-finish mat, again mimicking the swirls in the conte as it does in my pastels.

Sold Originals, but available as prints and more

painting of two cats

Purple Cats, Red Blanket, ink and watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

Above is Purple Cats, Red Blanket, felt-tip ink technical drawing pen with watercolor washes, signed and dated 1/6/12. This painting sold, and thanks to the buyer for your wonderful complements. I love to see my art go to good homes just as much as I love to see my rescued kitties go to good homes! I’m offering full-size digital prints of this, and I have a small stock of small note cards. I’ll be offering it again at Valentine’s Day as a Valentine, and also as a blank greeting card.  See it here on Etsy.

oil pastel sketch of two cats

Two Cats After van Gogh, oil pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

The original of this tiny oil pastel sketch also sold to another good home! I’m offering a print framed as the original on Etsy as well as digital prints, and I’m also looking forward to publishing this as a greeting card and in other forms as well. The 5″ x 7″ stretched canvases look nice (you’ll see), and it makes a cool little notebook cover too. We’ll see how many ways I can apply this and the other little colorful sketches. Suggestions are welcome!

Read more about Daily Sketches

Read my initial post about creating and posting my daily sketches.

See other Daily Sketches

I post my sketches here, and you can also browse them here in the menu by choosing “Daily Images>Daily Sketches“. You can find the ones available for sale by visiting my Etsy shop in Daily Sketches, Cats etc.

The Artist’s Life Series

Click here for more articles in “The Artist’s Life” series featuring my influences, inspirations, new work and new products.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Another Place for My Art: Distinctively Different Decor…

framed print of cat looking through lace curtain

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

Interior designer—and fellow cat rescuer—Bonita Farinelli and I met yesterday to consign a number of pieces of my artwork and prints to her Boutique at Distinctively Different Decor & More in Carnegie.

framed pastel of two borzoi dogs

Borzois, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

And you can have the chance to see it at her March Open House on Sunday, March 25, 2012.

framed print of doves

Biding Time, print © B.E. Kazmarski

I’m so glad when my artwork can be out in the public, and when I’m not there with it I especially appreciate when it’s in the hands of a person who understands and respects it. Bonita is a fellow business owner in Carnegie and has converted a solid but sad unused building into a lovely place to look at, and plied her many skills and inspirations with fabrics, patterns and colors into works from handmade pillows to entire houses of unique colors, furniture and draperies.

print of whooping cranes in wetland

Taking Flight, print © B.E. Kazmarski

I learned she was a cat lover when in her display for an event at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall last year she included a pair of breathtaking modern-styled feline-themed lamps. At that event and subsequent events and mixers we began trading cat stories and creative ideas and knew a partnership would work.

pastel of black cat on floor

Are You Looking at Me? © B.E. Kazmarski

Got art? How much do you want? You have the space, I can fill it up with many different styles and sizes and subjects from abstract black and white photography to highly detailed realistic paintings to whimsical layered and textured “white collages”.

framed collage

Gateway Center, Pittsburgh, white collage © B.E. Kazmarski

I have a number of cat and dog works there as well as landscapes and photography, a mix of originals and prints, small and large, all framed and ready to hang.

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie Being Very Good, print © B.E. Kazmarski

I hope to see you there at some point on Saturday! And soon I will be writing about Bonita’s animal-inspired creations as well!

pastel painting of sunset on lake

Burnished Waves, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

Bonita also has need of a framer so we’ll be working together on a number of things.

watercolor of beach houses on the bay

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

See you there!


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