Tag Archives: arts

Wolves and Bison and Polar Bears, Oh My!

pastel painting of wolves

Over the years I’ve done a number of wildlife paintings because I love those animals too: bison and wolves and whooping cranes and other wild birds, and even a “big cat”. It’s what “Portraits of Animals” is all about, not just my commissioned portraits, but animals of all species. Some originals are still available, highest-quality giclees are available for nearly all, and smaller prints are available upon request. Follow the links to the “wildlife” section my Etsy shop to read more about them and see what’s available.

“Wolf Howl”, above, is an archival-quality 26″ x 18.5″ signed giclee print on acid-free hot press art paper from an original pastel painting of wolves howling in a twilight snow. It’s easy to personify what animals do, but when I saw this picture I pondered what made these wolves stop at that point and howl while the rest of the group moved on, and what they had to say. The range of dusky earth tones and the textures inspired me to render it in a looser and more sketchy manner than usual, much as our eyes perceive things at dusk, letting the texture of the paper add to the image, and allowing rough edges to show some of the actual natural paper tone.

His Majesty, Gray Wolf, Framed Original Pastel

Now there’s a look that will put us mere humans in our places. I combined images of wolves and their habitat to do a quick sketch, focusing on the unworried, unhurried expression. Wolves know they are near the food chain, and we don’t really worry them. This is worked in pastel on acid-free Canson drawing paper in one of the threaded dusky green shades that reminds me so much of leaf litter in the woods, and the matted, framed original is still available, painted in 1994 and I’d love to find a home for this guy. The mat is 2-1/2″ on all sides in slate blue black core to pull the cool tones from the snow, and the frame is solid cherry with a gray wash to pull the warm tones from the wolf.

pastel painting of bison at twilight

We go from snowy mountains to the hot and arid Great Plains.  “Shadow of Bison” is an archival-quality 26.5″ x 17.5″ signed giclee print on acid-free hot press art paper from an original pastel painting of bison in a western twilight. I saw a photo in a magazine and remembered historical and fictional novels I’d read about Native Americans (wearing my long hair in two braids my entire childhood) to the “Little House on the Prairie” series and the settlement of the Great Plains and put together what I saw in photos and what I’d visualized while reading of a countryside I’ve never seen. This looks like a lot of bison, but considering how many populated this country just 200 years ago, this herd is just a shadow of what it once was, and in this orange twilight even their shapes are reduced to shadows. I also have quarter-size digital and giclee prints of this image as well as the original painting which is not listed, but ask if you are interested.

pastel painting of whooping cranes

“Taking Flight” is an original pastel painting of two whooping cranes taking off in a marsh on a summer afternoon. Many years ago I saw two captive whooping cranes, likely at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I marveled at their size–they were nearly as tall as me! But it was when one of them spread its wings that I was truly enchanted by the pure white body, neat brown wing tips and tiny touches of yellow highlight here and there, and the grace of that huge bird. And I read about them and discovered their plight, having no idea they were so imperiled. Visiting what had once been their habitat on Assateague Island, Virginia, I imagined what they might have looked like in the whispering marshes. This original is available as well as full-size and smaller giclee and digital prints; click here to see more.

Asleep in the Snow, Polar Bear Family, Giclee

I have always seemed to be inspired by polar bears, and it might be that I love snow and their white fur, neither of which is truly white and that becomes the beauty of the scene. The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has an excellent polar bear exhibit, and combined with all the images seen on the news, even a decade or more ago, I was moved to paint them.  I saw a photo in a wildlife magazine of the family settling down in a snowdrift for a night’s sleep, keeping warm with their own fur, the insulation of the snow and cuddling together. This painting was drawn from many photos of snow, of Alaska, of polar bears, but the basic composition was from that one photo I had seen and somehow remembered, wondering at the stark, quiet, even threatening beauty of the Arctic that the polar bears endured on a daily basis. In this case, the original is sold so I have full-size giclee prints; when the purchase ordered the art they had a mat and frame for it so I retained the mat and frame I’d prepared and can use it for your giclee if you’d like. Read more for details.

pastel painting of cougar

Yes, a big kitty! “Practice”, well, big cat, small cat, in many ways they act the same, and this cougar, obviously practicing a stalk and pounce is doing what all cats do in their spare time, when they aren’t sleeping. This is a small print, 8″ x 10″, of a larger piece because I sold the original before I could take an adequate photo of it; the small print is fine, but larger and it loses detail, though I’ve contacted the original purchaser about rephotographing it as an original.

You’ll find several more paintings plus a few pencil drawings and linoleum block prints in my gallery of wildlife art and prints on Etsy. As always, I can create custom-sized digital and giclee prints, and I also offer custom framing for your print. Just follow the link for “Ordering Custom Artwork”, below, or send a conversation when you visit my Etsy shop.


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


My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

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

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

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

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

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

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

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

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

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

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

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

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

Other subjects too

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

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

View from Beechwood

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

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

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Deserted Cottages

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

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

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

Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley

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

Squashes, oil pastel


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

Ordering Custom Artwork

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

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

Small Summer Landscapes

pastel painting of tree at dawn

The Old Apple Tree, pastel

Above, “The Old Apple Tree”, 6″ x 6″, pastel, matted and framed, available on Etsy.

For me, a bit part of the joy of summer is getting out there in it, on the trails, canoeing the creek, walking around the streets and neighborhoods of my town and growing my garden. And from that, of course, come images, paintings, photographs, block prints, and all the other things I do.

pastel painting of a field with trees

Summer Field, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Above, “Summer Field”, 12″ x 10″, pastel, matted and framed, available on Etsy.

I will always remember summer for the time I had to learn to paint en plein air during long, hot summer afternoons when the sun seemed to move slowly enough that I could keep up with it, out there in a field somewhere with my easel and drawing board, listening to insects and deciding exactly what shade a cerulean the sky was that day.

Sometimes these are studies for larger works when I’m remembering a scene or working from reference photos and trying to get back to that moment of inspiration to find what was most important to me then.

For instance, I had taken a number of reference photos for a painting of a scene I’d seen on Chartiers Creek while I was canoeing. I couldn’t do a plein air painting in a canoe because I didn’t want to hold up my group of canoers, but I did a quick reference sketch either that night or the next day, doing my best to hold onto what I had perceived in that space. The result was “Sunbeams”.

pastel painting of sunbeams through trees

Sunbeams, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I didn’t get a chance to paint the painting until January, though sometimes waiting until January or February for a big work is by choice because it’s a better time of year to focus one something big and complicated, and business is a little slower. But in this case it was also icy cold and snowy, a long way from the warm June morning in a canoe. Looking at photographs will bring that back, but my sketches hold my memories and thoughts at the moment of creating more than my photos do. Photos aren’t always accurate for color, especially contrasty ones like this scene, so I’m also careful to choose the colors I feel at that moment for later use. The result is “Morning on the Creek”, though trust me, this one in particular was no quick sketch! It’s the only one in the set that was a planned and long-term piece.

My Neighbor’s Laundry

painting of laundry on line

My Neighbor’s Laundry, acrylic, 6″ x 12″ © B.E. Kazmarski

This is a signed digital canvas print of an original acrylic painting, gallery-wrapped on wooden canvas stretchers with black paint covering the sides, ready to hang or frame as you choose.

This could be anywhere, but Carnegie really is a place where people still use their backyards to hang laundry. And it really is my neighbor’s back yard on a lovely summer morning.

I originally painted this for my home town’s annual art exhibit “Carnegie Painted”, and it was one of the very first acrylic works I’d painted since high school, but I could see the colors, see the canvas, see the texture of the paint and off I went. Interestingly enough, this is a small portion of a larger painting. There was a neat old barn of a garage behind it, but I just couldn’t work out the colors right but I loved the laundry, so I cut this out of the panel and framed it.

The original was 6″H x 12″W, but canvas stretchers are difficult to find smaller than 8″ so I just make a slightly larger print and gallery wrap it. I can also make an original size print and wrap it around a piece of 1/2″ gatorboard. I can also make other size prints as well.

You can find this 8″ x 16″ canvas print in my Etsy shop.

The original was sold but that summer morning lives on, available as this print and in the gallery “My Home Town” as a note card on my website.

%d bloggers like this: