Tag Archives: cat gift items

My Feline- and Nature-themed Stuff at “The Outlet Barn”

Display from the other side.

Display from the other side.

So who would think a drafty old unheated honest-to-God barn from a long-time farm would be a hot spot for unique art and decorative items?

The Outlet Barn Garden and Art Center has been in business in this very same old barn for the past 20 years, with a list of loyal customers and new people stopping every day. They close on Christmas Eve and reopen on April 1, weather permitting. I’ve had a display of greeting cards and art there since 2011 when the Agway closed, but at that time I was the only artist. This year they’ve set up an area for many artists to display in this open and rustic setting, so I have a nice space with an antique entryway piece and and wall space to hang things.

Display from one side.

Display from one side.

Because the barn is just that—an old wooden and unheated barn—I have chosen things that can be easily dusted or cleaned, or are in packaging. That makes it perfect for my handmade keepsake boxes and wall art, trivets and garden flags as well as a selection of framed and packaged prints of feline, flowers and nature photos. I’m excited to be expanding my selection of floral and landscape gift items in addition to my feline gift items. I will have a small selection of note cards and greeting cards, but because the place is open I often have difficulty with the envelopes sealing shut, even in packaging.

Gift items.

Gift items.

I began visiting there because the place looked like the sort of place I’d like to check out, not carefully coiffed or neatly arranged, but artfully arranged and colorful outside, and inside just crowded enough in the semi-darkness of the old barn that I could take my time to peruse without feeling overwhelmed.

Garden flags.

Garden flags.

I ended up moving things into there because the former manager of the Agway I had been selling at was friends with Kathy, The Outlet Barn’s owner, and simply went to her and said I’d be over with my things, she’d like them and me. Life should be filled with such friends. Kathy herself is the one who artfully arranges things in a way that makes people passing on the road find it hard to resist, and is also a master with ribbon and grapevines and such and creates all the wreaths and swags sold throughout the year, often custom-making them for long-time customers. She also makes beaded jewelry for sale in the shop.

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

She also holds events with local musicians playing jazz and folk and alternative in among the gargoyles and gazing globes, or out back in one of the sample gazebos or on the deck.

Canvas prints.

Canvas prints.

And I can’t forget the enthusiastic rescued chocolate lab named Irish Malarkey, named so because his eyes were green when he was a puppy, who rides in with his human every day. He carefully checked each of my boxes for treats, in between trotting around the place with that huge destructive lab tail without overturning as much as a small terra cotta flowerpot.

Irish Malarkey.

Irish Malarkey.

Supporting a local small business is important from both standpoints, from buying and selling, so in addition to placing my things there on consignment, I also promote the places where my things are consigned. I’ll share notices of events, which will be of greatest interest to local friends, and also of things I find there that you might enjoy—feline-themed of course But there plenty of animal-themed things about the place, plus really cool gargoyles.

Feline-themed planting pots.

Feline-themed planting pots.

I have a love-hate relationship with retail. I love to create my artwork and even to create the derivative items from it like cards and notepads and prints, and the best way to get my artwork known is to create and sell these things, but it takes time to drive around and visit shops, introduce myself, deliver the goods and maintain a display; if I seem to have disappeared now and then, this is why—calling and driving around, following up suggestions from friends to visit and introducing myself and showing a few representative pieces of what I have for sale. The actual sales from this might break even for expenses and time, but the real benefit is in finding new customers and making new friends, and just sharing my inspirations. Finding a shop where I also have other reasons to visit just makes it better.

And there’s another constant—animals and animal rescue. One door closes and another one opens as our friends share us with their friends. It is not a loss and a gain, but simply a change.

Where to find The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn Garden Center

4577 Campbells Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15205

outletbarn@gmail.com – Phone: 412-494-5190

If you see merchandise pictured here, whether it’s mine or not, that you are interested in, please follow the link to The Outlet Barn website or let me know. The website is not an online store for things in the shop because there’s just too much, but Kathy will be glad to give you a few details and ship something to you if purchase it with the possible exception of a concrete gargoyle.

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

Below is a gallery of things in the barn, and another slideshow of other artisans’ items.

Here are a few of the artisans’ displays.


Basil inspects all the new goods.

Basil inspects all the new goods.

Marketplace

Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.

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.

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.

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

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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Two New Garden Flag Designs for Spring and Summer

Two New Garden Flag Designs

Two New Garden Flag Designs

It’s time for a little spring and summer! Here are two new garden flag designs I’m happy to introduce.

These will unfortunately be the last two garden flags I introduce for a while. I have more on that subject after the descriptions of these two pretty flags.

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things" garden flag.

“Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” garden flag.

Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s the same on both sides, but mirrored. This art is the only one in my set of garden flags that is not a sketch or painting, but a photograph–and a very favorite photograph called “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things”, taken in 2005.

You can find this flag in my Etsy shop, and read more about the image, below.

Sophie could use any prop to dramatic effect, and the lace curtains were her favorite. Of course, you can’t see her. But if you look closely you might see a cat’s face through the lace that might have Sophie’s big green eyes with heavy eye-liner, and her tabby babushka and outlined nose.

I took a number of other photographs the same day I took “Sophie Keeps and Eye on Things”, all with the lace curtain filled with early evening sun. I was preparing to leave the house on my bike and had my original little 2MP digital camera, and because Sophie always fussed when I was leaving she got extra attention, inside and out. Never sorry for spending that time!

In the evenings I closed my curtains before I left. Sophie always watched me leave the house and she took the opportunity to play around with the curtains—often I had to inspect the lace to see her white fur through the mesh, or she dramatically appeared from between the panels, around the edge or underneath, but she was always there with her big round eyes.

On this day, in the late afternoon, the warm spring sun angled into the window imparting a creamy tone to the lace, and the forget-me-nots I’d planted in pots in the windowbox were in full flower. Before I left I closed the curtains because I’d be gone after dark, and Sophie began her little game while I was still indoors, so I stopped and captured a few images of her silhouetted and peering through the curtain at me.

Then I finally went out the door and, as I always did, stopped to look back at both my front windows and the door to see which kitties were bidding me farewell, or sending me on a guilt trip, depending on their attitude. I don’t remember who was at the other window or the door, but Sophie managed to find an open spot to peer through the lace at me in several different ways. I had my bike and my hands full of things, and only my little 2MP digital with no zoom, and wished I had my Pentax film camera at least, knowing the shot would be difficult with the tiny digital. I considered stepping back in to get the film camera, but knew she’d move and I’d never see this particular shot again. So I put everything down, kicked out the kickstand on my bike, pulled the digital out of its little wallet, pointed and clicked, several times, and hoped for the best. And I got it.

I lost Sophie at the end of 2006 and hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Her rescue story is also one of the funniest of all my rescue stories, so take time to read “The Housewarming Cat”.

So in photographing your cats, let that be a lesson to you! Do your best with what you have, and don’t hesitate, just take the photo. If you don’t capture the shot you wanted you may get something else entirely, and you may come up with something fantastic.

You can find “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” garden flag in my Etsy shop.

Mimi in the Garden

"Mimi in the Garden" Garden Flag

“Mimi in the Garden” Garden Flag

Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s the same on both sides, but mirrored. This art is “Garden Sketch With Mimi”, originally 5″ wide x 7″ high on 90 lb. watercolor paper signed and dated 6/27/13.

This was not what I’d intended but I like it anyway. It’s Mimi napping in the shadow on the cool bricks among the geraniums, near the vintage aluminum tub where I grow pole beans. Mimi was so happy to be outside she only rested in each position for less than a minute, and the sun was in and out behind the clouds. The temperature was in the 90s and we weren’t doing much but looking for a comfortable spot.

I had wanted something a little tighter in detail, but I like the details this one has. I did a light pencil sketch underneath because it’s so small I knew I’d run out of space if I didn’t give myself some guidance about Mimi, the geraniums and the barrel, but aside from that I just painted.

In part I was using the quick and easy eight-color grade-school set that’s easy to carry and use I really need to get a set with a greater color range if I’m going to paint outdoors.

But what was my purpose with this painting? Sometimes I sit down to capture the details of the moment, and some day I’d like to do just that with the reference photos from this, but with my actual sketch, and all my daily sketches, my purpose is just to capture the essence of the moment and share what moved me to render the scene. In this case it was a relaxed Mimi in the shade on a hot morning, stretched on those familiar bricks next to the cool anodized aluminum tub where I’ve always planted pole beans and surrounded by my geraniums saved from year to year. It was a scene I loved for my love of my garden, my appreciation of Mimi relaxing in a place she’d once hunted for food to feed her kittens, and the memory of the generations of cats before her who enjoyed that very spot, this little patio and the verdance of my garden.

You can find “Mimi in the Garden” garden flag in my Etsy shop.

About the flags

I love this product, and I’ve enjoyed developing and designing it, combining my skills as a commercial artist, print buyer and fine artist. They are printed on a special paper stock which one of my regular printers had introduced to me several years ago and I knew as soon as I saw it that I could finally have the garden flags I’d been envisioning imprinted with my artwork. I had proofs made, sewed pockets in the top, and off I went.

Below I describe how I designed them, tested them and finish them. Each flag takes a number of steps to produce, and that can add complications to any product, but last year I introduced a dozen different designs, then added holiday designs. They sold well so I continued developing new designs and planned reprints.

Though all initial designs are sketches or paintings in knew I wanted to use “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” as my April featured artwork and desktop calendar, and also thought it would make a beautiful garden flag. I designed it and ordered it as I had ordered the others the previous year, but March went by, then April, the printer hadn’t seen my order, then hadn’t had a chance to get to it, I knew they had been bought by a new owner and were busy with new things, and so I waited. It would still be pretty no matter when it was done. In May I knew I wanted to use “Garden Sketch With Mimi” as my featured artwork and desktop calendar, and designed and ordered that flag with the promise of proofs very soon.

But by June I hadn’t received anything, and had run out of other popular flags. I asked two other printers I work with if they’d like to try the paper stock. One did try it and agreed to print these flags for me on a regular basis if I bought the paper. No problem, it would be a little more expensive than before, but I could still manage that. I finally got these flags in August, but decided to wait to introduce them because the holiday season would be starting soon, and I was ordering “Star of Wonder” holiday garden flags in September. The “Star of Wonder” flags were ultimately printed incorrectly, twice, and I had to buy more paper. By the time I bought the paper, it arrived, and the flags were printed we were into November; I shipped off the first few orders and a customer who had very patiently waited through it all sent me photos showing the flags were not waterproof on both sides as they had been. The manufacturer had reformulated their paper and the slightly different toner in the new printer’s machine meant I had to spray each flag with waterproofing spray. I went back to the flags I’d had printed in the summer and tested for colorfastness. Not. I was lucky to have a nice warm November day to spray all the flags with silicone outdoor waterproofing, but decided that, with this new complication, my costs were nearly my selling price and the process was just too complicated. I didn’t want to increase the price, nor did I want the hassles I’d met with producing them. One of my other ideas had been to offer custom garden flags for home and business as well as my original designs, so I’m looking into other options and hope to have a replacement product soon.

I guess you might say at this point that these are “Limited Edition”!

black cat with garden flag

Mimi poses with her favorite design, featuring her, of course.

At left Mimi models her favorite design, I presume, since this was when she chose to saunter over and rub herself on the bracket even though she is featured in three other designs. Mimi is not included with your order, I need her here to model for more art, supervise their design, and especially act as art director for our back yard photo shoots.

These are digitally printed on a product called digital satin, a woven product intended for outdoor as well as indoor use. It’s heavier than the nylon most other flags are made of, but if I’m judging by the the survival of the ones I have outdoors now this is tough and durable material, no fading, scratches in the finish, fraying or wrinkling of the flag in any way. I’m sure, like any other product, if the flag is in direct sun for more than four hours per day it will eventually fade, but the testing worked better than I’d thought. You can read about the development of these flags as well as backyard testing and a photo shoot with Mimi and me in Backyard Product Development and Testing With My Assistant, Mimi.

black cat with sewing machine

Mewsette inspects the threading of a bobbin.

The flags are printed flat and, after an inspection by either Mr. Sunshine, my engineer cat as shown below, or Mewsette as seen here, I fold over an stitch the pocket on each. They are then inspected by one or more felines prior to packaging.

I ship the garden flags flat at this point—the fabric holds a curl really well and some flags I had stored never wanted to completely flatten out. Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, seen here and sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area. You can order on through me, but with their weight and size it adds to the shipping cost.

Current designs

black cats and garden flags

Finished flags are inspected.

I have eleven garden flag designs now with three holiday designs now available in my Etsy shop, each one a completely different style and theme to suit any garden—fine art, Impressionist, Warhol-esque and “after van Gogh”, black cats, pink cats, tabby cats and calico cats, and of course, those tortie girls! Three are holiday designs, but the rest are summer and colorful.

These eight summery flags actually feature twelve images. All are two-sided, and most have two different designs so you can turn them around and show something different, or you can put them along a walk and see both sides as you move in each direction. I began with the most popular and requested images, and from those chose and ones that fit well on the shape of the flag while the image was still easily recognizable from a distance. Colors can be a little unpredictable with digital printing, and this digital fabric is a new product, but the colors and detail are astonishing.

The designs below are currently available in my Etsy shop—click the image to go to the product on Etsy, or scroll down for links to the images to read more about the original sketches here on The Creative Cat.


"Cats After Van Gogh"

“Cats After Van Gogh”

cat garden flags

“Mimi Amng the Geraniums”

cat garden flag

“Fine Art Cats”

garden flag with cats

“Impressionist Cats”


cat garden flag

“The Roundest Eyes”

cat garden flag

“The Goddess”

cat garden flag

“Kitty in Pink:

cat garden flag

“In Afternoon Sun”


Following is a list of links to the daily sketch or painting:

Cats After van Gogh: Two Cats After van Gogh/In Window Light

Mimi Among the Geraniums 1/Mimi Among the Geraniums 2

Fine Art Cats: Peaches and Peonies/After Dinner Nap

Impressionist Cats: Stanley With Apple/White Cat Reflecting

The Roundest Eyes (white background)/The Roundest Eyes (yellow background)

The Goddess (white background)/The Goddess (yellow background)

Kitty in Pink/Kitty in Pink

In Afternoon Sun/In Afternoon Sun

Below, just my favorite photo of my first proofs in my yard! Of course, I’ve moved them around, but this is what I was envisioning last year when I first had the idea to create these.

garden flags with cats

Garden flags are here!


black cat with sewing machine

Mr. Sunshine inspecting my sewing machine.

Marketplace

Mewsette checks to make sure my sewing machine is threaded properly and ready to go.

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.

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.

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

.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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

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Hand-printed Valentine Cards Purr-sonally Inspected By Discerning Black Cats

linocut cat vaentines in pink and purple

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

I usually print these little linocuts in earth tones or “tabby colors”, but I’ve been itching to use brights and pastels and all sorts of combinations with them. I decided they made cute valentines and that’s a great reason to create hand-printed cards in magenta on pink, violet, magenta and red card stock, embellished with magenta or purple stamp ink, just saturated with color for Valentine’s Day!

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

I offer them as singles, in sets by color and design, and in sets of four and eight that include all four colors.

block-printed note cards

Magenta on pink set.

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

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

magenta on red

Magenta on red with purple stamp ink.

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

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

violet cards

Violet cards printed in magenta.

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

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

Because these are handmade, I have a limited quantity of each card!

three black cats with printed note cards

Meet my quality control team: Mewsette, Giuseppe and Jelly Bean inspect each card.

About the art: Tabbies Linoleum Block Prints

The stripes made me do it! No, we have not always been a household of solid-color cats. 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 beginning with Fawn, Stanley and Allegro.

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

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

three black cats with cards

“These cats are all covered with funny markings,” say the three perfect black cats. They are very serious about their job.

I photographed the process as I printed these—of course, with feline supervision—and below you can see how block prints are made.

Find these cards and other Valentine cards and gifts

All designs are available in my Etsy shop. Individual cards are mailed first class.

To find my entire Valentine collection including cards and gift items, search “Valentine” in my Etsy shop.

And please explore my greeting card collections on Etsy to see all the designs and others too.


A little bit about block printing

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s 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.

Despite the fact I’ve been trying to video a little block print demonstration, all I have are a few photos taken as I was printing the “Tabbies” cards for Valentine’s Day last year. Here’s a brief slideshow:

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I nearly always add color to The Tortie Girls with watercolor or dyes since that was part of the original design, and I’ll often add color to other designs to give them extra interest.

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.

I’ve always intended to do others with tabbies and spots and even solids as I did with “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, and did start branching out to wildlife with “Yes?”, but soon after this four-color digital printing became widely available for a reasonable price and I focused on note cards and greeting cards featuring paintings I’d done and moved to larger block prints. I’ll have to get back to these little ones—they are so much easier to print!


Browse all my Valentine Cards

valentine cards with cats

Valentine cards available all year round!

My commercially printed cards are 5″ x 7″ and are printed on 12 pt. gloss cover, uncoated inside, and nearly all have a message inside. Orders of a half dozen or more are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

Envelope Options with Valentine Cards

Red or white? No, not your wine choice! All cards come with a 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelope which is inkjet/laser compatible, but for Valentine’s Day you can choose red or white when you order your cards on Etsy. “You Are My Heart Cat” above is shown with the red envelope, while the white envelope is bright white.


cat and art materials on table

All materials ready to start printing.

Marketplace

Mewsette may look like she’s sleeping, but she is ready to get up and give instructions or even a helping paw at any moment.

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.

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.

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

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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

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A “Back-to-School” Garden Flag

garden flag with cat

“Stanley With Apple” for back to school!

Last August when my felines and me watched the neighbor kids running for their bus in the morning on the first days of school I remembered this sketch of Stanley from the previous June. It not only had an apple, the universal symbol for “school”, but the background looks like one of those green chalkboards with chalk dust all over it! It’s time for Back to School!

cat in silhouette with apple

Stanley With Apple.

The original sketch was the daily sketch for June 22, 2012 and I reprised it in June 2014; on the same day in June 2012 I posted the original photo I used for this sketch, taken on film in 1990 or so. You can see the sketch below and the photo at right or click on any of the links to read more about the images and Stanley.

I originally took that photo as a reference for a future painting, and like so many others the photo remained packed in my boxes of photos for years, unseen, except that the image itself stayed with me.

In 2012 when I’d reorganized my photos I’d dug past it in one of the boxes and remembered it. When I decided I needed to post it here as a vintage photo I knew exactly where it was, and then later that day decided to use it for my daily sketch. It’s tiny, 5″ x 7″, and the paper is rough so the details are loose but I think it captures the composition; there are things I would change, there are always things I’d change, and perhaps someday I’ll do the larger painting where I can capture all the details and those things I would change.

But for now, I’m very happy to see this as a sketch. To think I took that photo nearly 24 years ago, before I had done most of what I have today. 24 years ago my rendering would have been quite different, or 10 years ago or last year or even yesterday, literally and metaphorically colored by my experiences in life and as an artist, and even the quality of sunlight coming in the window.

And 24 years ago Stanley was about 9 years old, not even halfway through his 25 years.

 

pastel sketch of cat on table with apple

Stanley With Apple, pastel, 5″ x 7″ © B.E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .

“Impressionist Cats” Garden Flag

garden flag with cats

“Impressionist Cats”

You may recognize this sketch as one of my garden flags, the set I call “Impressionist Cats”.

“Stanley With Apple” is on one side and “White Cat Reflecting” is on the other side, so you can show Stanley with his apple for early autumn, then change it out with another flag for October and winter holidays, then next spring put it out again with “White Cat Reflecting”.

About the garden flags

These “garden flags” are digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.)

Each flag has a design on both sides unless otherwise noted.

Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area.

My garden flags are designed with images of my feline artwork, from the quick colorful sketches I create each day to my detailed fine art paintings. They are made locally to me and I can work closely with the printer and have smaller quantities made, and therefore offer more designs. I sew the pocket into the top, and as you can see from these photos I have tested them all in my own yard.

Where to find this garden flag and other garden flags I make

You can find the Impressionists Cats garden flag in my Etsy shop as well as other feline-themed garden flags.

. . . . . . .

See more “Kitty Things”, feline-themed things I’ve made or with which I decorate my home, or which I’ve seen elsewhere. Also read other articles about my garden flags.

black cat with sewing machine

Mr. Sunshine inspecting my sewing machine.

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! Mr. Sunshine inspected my sewing machine and had the whole thing figured out before I even sat down to thread it.


 

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

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Kitty in Pink

Pink Sunshine garden flag in my pink garden by the driveway.

Pink Sunshine garden flag in my pink garden by the driveway.

This kitty in pink is really in the pink! Mr. Sunshine colored in pink looks wonderful in my “pink garden” so everyone knows where my driveway is.

This little garden is next to the end of my driveway by the street, developed from leftover native plants from the back yard. The spot had been very dry because of the number of trees growing over it from the rental house next door as well as my own maple trees, but when one of their trees fell and soon after I’d lost a branch from my old maple the spot was bright and sunny and received a good bit of rainfall and I decided to have a new garden knowing I had lots of extra natives from the back yard. The spot is in the bottom corner of my yard so watering and maintenance weren’t as easy as the rest of my yard, but I knew these native plants would have no problem if I didn’t get to water, or if the sun beating down and reflecting on the street hardened the soil even with watering. They also have dense enough foliage that they shade the soil from most other smaller plants.

I’d moved the pink pasture rose, in the back, left, here because it was so pretty but so thorny, and in that spot it could grow any size it wanted to, not needing to be trimmed to often! I lost more than half of it in the ice last winter so it’s much smaller this year. I also planted a clump of my pink phlox here, and to my surprise it bloomed this delicate blush pink, and the bergamont or bee balm is much happier than it was in the back yard.

cat garden flag

“Kitty in Pink” garden flag for Valentine’s Day and Spring!

It also includes a few flowers you can’t see that bloom at other times: a pink-lilac columbine and echinacea. It had also had autumn joy sedum and rose turtlehead plants, but the bergamot shaded them out and I moved them elsewhere, and I also have a few clumps of daffodils for spring blooms. The green and white variegated leaves are “bishop’s weed” which bloom with tall white umbels like Queen Anne’s Lace—right now those bright yellow-green clusters are the spent flower heads from these. I also encourage other plants with little white flowers to bloom here for accent and they come and go as wildflowers do, like the white avens in front of the right edge of the flag, and fleabane and feverfew.

I have a set of flags for my yard that are actually my first proofs and ones that were on display at others’ shops and were damaged. These are the ones I try out in different areas to see how they weather, and I also take them to shows and festivals, just pulling them out of the yard when I go. I was never really happy with Mr. Sunshine up by my front porch, but I’m really pleased with him in this garden!

This design is made from one of my daily sketches, Kitty in Pink.

Where to find this garden flag

You can find the Kitty in Pink garden flag in my Etsy  shop.

. . . . . . .

See more “Kitty Things”, feline-themed things I’ve made or with which I decorate my home, or which I’ve seen elsewhere.


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

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“Two Cats After van Gogh” Prints on Paper and Canvas

oil pastel sketch of two cats

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

This art is “Two Cats After van Gogh”, 5″ x 6″ oil pastel on textured paper, © Bernadette E. Kazmarski, signed and dated 4/12/12.

After seeing the  “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit I wanted to work the same energy and form I saw in his brush strokes choosing oil pastel to layer and blend the strokes. It’s Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, just quietly hanging together on the landing, Giuseppe sitting upright, Sunshine loafing. Originally the sketch had only the two cats but I decided that if I was to truly create homage to van Gogh, I needed to have a background for these two to exist within, especially that lovely cerulean blue and turquoise van Gogh often used. I scraped my name into the oil pastel in the lower left as Vincent often did in his paint.

I am honored that this painting, and the series based on it, won the President’s Award in the Cat Writers’ Association 2013 Communications Contest.

SHIPPING

Shipping within the US is included in all the prices listed. All shipping is via Priority Mail. Prints are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Canvases are shipped in a box to fit with padding. Since this original is small it is also shipped in a box with extra padding.

PRINTS

Note that prints are not the same dimensions as the original and may be cropped  on the top or sides to fit the dimensions of the print size.

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.

FRAMED PRINT

This print is matted with a double mat 1.5″ wide, white on top with a rust underneath to match the outline of the two cats. The frame is a molded 1.25″ natural white flat painted wood. On this piece, the frame and mats may vary slightly since both the mat and frame are on the list to be discontinued, though that may take more than a year. The framed pieces will definitely resemble the one shown here.

framed print of oil pastel painting

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

MOUSEPADS

Mousepads are 8″ x 7″, always horizontal, 1/4″ black foam rubber with the image printed on a flexible fabric on top.

mousepads with cats

“Two Cats After van Gogh” mousepad.

Stay tuned for other items with this image, like keepsake boxes, wood-mounted prints and coasters!

DAILY SKETCHES

I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses, so I have a small pouch of art materials and a few various sized sketchbooks available in the house and out. Usually, these are done in pencil, my first and favorite medium, though sometimes it’s charcoal, ink, colored pencil, ink and brush, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, the greatest challenge to keep it quick and not get caught up in details, let the idea flow onto the paper.

Most often, the subjects are my cats because they are such willing models, though sometimes I’ll also wander afield, literally, and sketch in my yard or anywhere I go for errands. Medium and especially style vary just so I get a chance to do something new.

Every once in a while, they are meant for framing, and I’ve designed a series of notecards, notepaper and notepads using other daily sketches (see my notecards section). Often I use them as illustrations for graphics projects I’m designing.


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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The Birthday Party Placemants Featured in an Etsy Treasury

five black cats with party hats

“The Birthday Party” celebrating their fifth birthday!

Thanks so much From Glen to Glen for featuring is in your Pretty Things Treasury!

This placemat is “The Birthday Party” featuring all Five felines lined up with their festive party hats and eating breakfast on the Fantastic Four’s fifth birthday with Mama Mimi joining in the celebration. On the back “Five Black Cats in a Line” in color when we were celebrating “Black Cat Day”.

A second design for placemats features “Five Black Cats in a Line” from the post “Still Celebrating Black Cats”, which I’d posted in both black and white and color on Black Cat Appreciation Day in August 2012, so it’s color on one side and black and white on the other.

Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.
Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.
"Five Black Cats in a Line" black and white side of laminated placemat.
“Five Black Cats in a Line” black and white side of laminated placemat.

I’ve worked out several ideas for placemats and, discouraged at the price of the prints on the absorbent materials and various fabrics, I decided to go back to the good old laminated placemat. The neat thing about these is that I can make them two-sided, so these feature the two photos of The Five mentioned above, “Five Black Cats in a Line” in black and white on one side and in color on the other.

They are 11.5″ x 17.5″, printed double-sided on 120# card stock then laminated with heat-sealed 5 mil laminate trimmed 1/4″ larger than the print with rounded corners. They can be dunked in dishwater or wiped down with just about anything to clean, just avoid any abrasives to avoid scratching the laminate. Other than that, my household test have found them to be just about indestructible. Use as a mat under your cat’s food bowl, water bowl, your own food bowl, or just for decoration on a table or counter.

Where to find these things…

“Five Black Cats in a Line (color)/(black and white)” placemats on Etsy

“The Birthday Party/Five Black Cats in a Line (color)” placemats on Etsy

And read more 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.



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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“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

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

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The Goddess, and Friends

"The Goddess," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Goddess,” hand-tinted linoleum block print.

Above is a hand-printed linoleum block print tinted in tortie colors featuring my Cookie, who was indeed “The Goddess”. From the very first time I showed the design to someone, and each time I set up a display where the prints are included someone, or several, stops by to tell me about a cat they have “who looks just like that”, and tell me stories and share a laugh. People often tell me stories when they purchase prints as well. The number of them who were rescued always warms my heart.

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess” last week. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw 🙂 . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat

Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

. . . . . . .

About my Tortie Girls linoleum block prints

"The Goddess," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Goddess,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

More often than anything else in my collection of feline art, these two prints have been purchased in memory of a special tortie. I’ve even customized prints in memory of other torties by hand-tinting them using photos, and dedicated them to the memory of other kitties by lettering their name in underneath; read this post for more on those stories.

Three years ago a customer in Canada purchased a print of “The Goddess” in memory of her tortie Clio, ill and malnourished and rescued from a pet store, which led to a friendship—and a very famous affaire between her ladycat Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald and my opera star Giuseppe Basil Verdi. Today, May 15, we remember Clio especially as her mama said goodbye to Clio 13 years ago on this day, and because she was so bereft at the loss, she found herself a month later at the Toronto Humane Society where she met and adopted the elegant Mademoiselle.

How the designs came to be

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back

Reference photo for “The Goddess”

Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block

Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor

Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.

Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat

Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

You can read more about “The Roundest Eyes” and see more detailed images in “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

A little bit about block printing

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s 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.

Despite the fact I’ve been trying to video a little block print demonstration, all I have are a few photos taken as I was printing the “Tabbies” cards for Valentine’s Day last year. Click here to see a brief slideshow (it won’t play on this blog).

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I nearly always add color to The Tortie Girls with watercolor or dyes since that was part of the original design, and I’ll often add color to other designs to give them extra interest.

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.

The Tortie Girls Set

 

matted framed block prints.

The Tortie Girls set.

Each image is 9″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions are 16″ x 20″, and I also offer the tortie girls designs on many other things.

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

From the time I first described it to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

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

Where to find the prints and more

You can read more about my girls printed on everything from tees to garden flags  this post, and visit my Etsy shop and search “tortie”.

Click here if you’d like to see all the Tortie Girls goods in my Etsy shop together.


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

Treats For Homeless Cats And Caretakers


 

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

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 on The Creative Cat I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Visit The Creative Cat and choose the category for featured artwork.

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


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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


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

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The Sunny Upstairs Window, Framed Original or Prints

pastel sketch of two cats

“The Sunny Upstairs Window”, 6″ wide x 8″ high on acid-free Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and Sennelier pastels © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This art is “The Sunny Upstairs Window”, 6″ wide x 8″ high on acid-free Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and Sennelier pastels © Bernadette E. Kazmarski, signed and dated 5/11/12.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

If you’ve been following my sketches for any length of time, you’ve probably seen gradual changes that begin with a particular sketch—adding new media, using a new color palette, finding a new style, even using a new and different paper. In my everyday life as an artist I took the time to experiment far lest often, in part because I did less art, and because my visualization and aesthetic senses moved more slowly. With this daily practice everything happens faster, and with more daring I’ll add.

Up to this point I’d done most of my sketches away from my studio, with my toy bag full of older, lower-quality and well-used pencils, pastels, charcoal, pens and even sketch pads. The sketches were just for practice after all, and I didn’t want to use “good” materials on what was basically a quick and temporary item.

But leading up to this with oil pastels and ink and watercolor, this particular morning I picked up my imported pastel paper and my really good pastels and quickly came up with this sketch, and it was truly inspired and enhanced by using the better materials. The two girls have such dimension and interest all over their tiny figures, the light streams in and changes tone and color just as natural light tends to do, and even the shadows have dimension. Let that be a lesson to me.

. . . . . . .

Mimi and Mewsette enjoy the morning sunshine in front of the sunniest window in the house.

Friday morning was the first of several completely sunny mornings after a row of somewhat dark and rainy ones. All the cats were gravitating to the back of the house, facing east, as the sun streamed in the back door into the kitchen, and in the windows at the top of the stairs and in the bathroom.

I also recently took all the geraniums outside, so this top level of the wardrobe is now accessible, and a perfect spot to enjoy a sunny morning.

In my studio for part of the morning, I used the very Italianate Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and a small set of my Sennelier pastels. Typically, what I have easily available downstairs in my toybox of art materials is not this quality of stuff, but in my studio I can play around with other things.

. . . . . . .

SHIPPING

Shipping within the US is included in all the prices listed. All shipping is via Priority Mail. Prints are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Canvases are shipped in a box to fit with padding. Since this original is small it is also shipped in a box with extra padding.

"The Sunny Upstairs Window" framed.

“The Sunny Upstairs Window” framed.

ORIGINAL PAINTING

This sketch is 6″ wide x 8″ high on acid-free Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and Sennelier pastels. It is matted with 1-1/4″ acid-free purple top and bottom mats, framed in a 1-1/2″ dusk blue barnwood 8″ x 10″ solid wood frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass. All framing is done by me in my studio.

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.

"The Sunny Upstairs Window" canvas.

“The Sunny Upstairs Window” canvas.

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.

MOUSEPADS

"The Sunny Upstairs Window" mousepad.

“The Sunny Upstairs Window” mousepad.

Mousepads are 8″ x 7″, always horizontal, 1/4″ black foam rubber with the image printed on a flexible fabric on top.

Stay tuned for other items with this image, like keepsake boxes, wood-mounted prints and coasters!

DAILY SKETCHES

I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses, so I have a small pouch of art materials and a few various sized sketchbooks available in the house and out. Usually, these are done in pencil, my first and favorite medium, though sometimes it’s charcoal, ink, colored pencil, ink and brush, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, the greatest challenge to keep it quick and not get caught up in details, let the idea flow onto the paper.

Most often, the subjects are my cats because they are such willing models, though sometimes I’ll also wander afield, literally, and sketch in my yard or anywhere I go for errands. Medium and especially style vary just so I get a chance to do something new.

Every once in a while, they are meant for framing, and I’ve designed a series of notecards, notepaper and notepads using other daily sketches (see my notecards section). Often I use them as illustrations for graphics projects I’m designing.


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

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

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