Tag Archives: cat greeting cards

Follow Me to the New Portraits of Animals!

Portraits of Animals new website!

Portraits of Animals new website!

Several new followers have signed up recently, and I don’t want you to be disappointed—I don’t post on this site anymore because I’ve built a brand new website that includes a blog where I post all the inspirations from my felines, my backyard and garden and the beautiful world around me. Maintaining this blog plus my Etsy profile, Fine Art America account and a few other profiles where I displayed and sold my things and decided to invest the time to combine them all into one completely new site. Please visit Portraits of Animals! I moved all the posts from this site to that blog, so to be sure you see the latest I’ve created and have to offer you can go to Portraits of Animals and subscribe to “Notes and Stories” there.

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

That’s what you see above, a screen shot for the home page. Finally, this plan I’ve visualized for the past five years has been put into action. I found a template I liked, I’ve planned out my new products and I set up my Sampler Box Program and a free gift for those who register for an account on the site. I have features on the new site that I couldn’t have here, including setting up an account with a free gift when you do, member rewards programs and a sampler box program!

The New “Portraits of Animals”

January had originally been my deadline to have this website ready, but the holiday season doesn’t permit focus on too many things other than the holiday season, so I didn’t get too far. And then I ran off to Savannah to deliver a couple of kittens and visit family. But before I did I decided to stop building that site and decide which way to go: continue with the site or look for a template that better represented my work.

The new menu.

The new menu.

I found the perfect template, designed by an artist for artists. Next, I needed to find three or four days to set it up and get all the parts in there and start adding merchandise. Designing websites has always been a process of not only putting your visualization on a computer screen but also fixing all the little issues, bugs and conflicts that come up, and at this point in my life I like to stake out some time to just focus on it.

At left is what the new menu looks like, always accessible on the left, with drop-downs for extra pages to keep merchandise grouped and organized.

The site includes not only my feline inspirations but my nature and wildlife art as well. How wonderful it is to have it all in one place!

Below are some samples of what the merchandise looks like when you visit!

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

I love the way I can set up the galleries so that you can see a whole screen full of images and read the headlines, click on the item and read the details and order. Here is a sample section of animal sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

And here is a detail page, what you see when you click on a product.

Detail page.

Detail page.

A signing bonus!

I like to thank each person who signs up for an account on Portraits of Animals. Each new member receives a thank-you gift not only as an honest thanks from me for signing up, but also so that you can see a sample of my art and the quality of my merchandise, even if you’ve been a customer already and purchased from me in other places.

You don’t need to purchase anything to get your thank you gift, you can just register an account and get your free print.

The thank you gifts always include matted digital prints of art and photos that I usually sell for between $20.00 and $40.00. The selection includes the current month’s featured artwork and several of the more popular images I sell. Sizes vary according to the size of the art itself—some of my more popular sketches are as small as 3″ x 5″—but they are always matted to fit a standard frame size so you can use a frame you have on hand or easily purchase one without the cost of custom framing. Below is the current selection of prints you can choose from. Visit Current New Member Gifts to read more about the size and matting for each print.

The current selection of new member gifts.

The current selection of new member gifts.

About that Sampler Box

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

I’m offering a sampler box with a single box or a three month box subscription which will include the following items:

  • a 5″ x 7″ or 8” x 10” print matted and ready to frame OR a small framed print, either an existing piece of artwork or a new one
  • an alternate print of any size, unmatted, different from the main print in media, style, subject, etc.
  • several greeting cards: a sympathy card, feline art card, feline photo card, non-feline greeting card and two or more note cards, current designs and new designs
  • a handmade or other gift item—a small keepsake box or a little art sampler book, a polymer clay or ceramic item, screen-printed dishtowel, tote bag, crocheted item or rubber stamp, new art paper, for instance—which is exclusive to box recipients and not shared with the public for a week or so after boxes are sent
  • the “boxes” are not boxes at all because they vary so much in content so they are carefully wrapped with wrapping paper made from my designs that you can reuse

These can be things your use for yourself or give as gifts or donation items to shelter or rescue or other fundraisers. Sometimes they’ll be little experiments and I’ll be asking for feedback. I’ll be happy that you get to see art you may have never noticed, and little handmade goods that work so much better in your hands than a photo on your computer.

You can order a single sampler box or a subscription of three boxes. Shipping within the US is included.

$25.00 for one box, value about $47.50

$75.00 for a three box subscription, value about $142.50

You can read more about the content in the gift boxes on the page on Portraits of Animals, and don’t forget to go and visit the rest of the site too! I add new items and post on the blog every day, and now that I have a comprehensive website I can spend much more time actually creating new things instead of maintaining four or five selling sites.

 

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Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog.
Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

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You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

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© 2016 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “Custom Orders” for availability and terms.



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

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Note Cards, “My Cats in the Sun”

"My Cats in the Sun" set of cards.

“My Cats in the Sun” set of cards.

This set of note cards was recently featured in an Etsy Treasury, “Summer Pets”.

This was my first full-color set of cards, made from those first four paintings of Stanley, Moses, Sally and Cookie that changed the course of my art career. Each time I looked at these paintings in my home I could just picture them as note cards.

In 1997, in the days before digital printing, I finally got the process started and spoke to one of the printers I worked with now and then through my employer, discussing size, paper stock and file preparation, choosing an A-6 and a satin-finish ivory cover stock. I’d been a graphic designer for years at my day job and had also freelanced for years at home and had my own computer, so I set about preparing my files.

Scanning my own artwork I set up the cards with the image in the center surrounded by a series of lines in tones that matched the painting, much as a French mat would be. It’s a very old-fashioned style of design, but I wanted the cards to look old-fashioned, like cards I remembered as a child.

Bright sunshine on anything will inspire me, especially when it’s illuminating one of my cats…and so I’d like to share that inspiration with other feline fans. These four designs are printed from my original artwork, each of them cats who’ve shared my life past and present.

 

after dinner nap note card image

 

After Dinner Nap

Stanley didn’t have many relaxed moments during the day, but one of them was always a spot of sun right after dinner and a nice bath. Rather than disturb him by trying to share in his contentment and fussing over him, I chose to render the warmth of the sun on his side and the depth of the early evening shadows all around.

a warm bath note card

A Warm Bath © B.E. Kazmarski

A Warm Bath

My white cat was endlessly inspiring to me, and I would need two lifetimes to recreate all the images of her that I have photographed and saw every day. With all that lustrous long white fur, Sally’s baths are quite a production, but each bath is like a graceful dance, especially when taken in the morning sun.

a rosy glow note card

A Rosy Glow © B.E. Kazmarski

A Rosy Glow

She found a warm spot to sleep in the sun on that old pink sweater of mine, and the look of contentment on her face was my first inspiration, especially since Miss Moses (we all thought she was a boy) had been a feral kitten and all her life hesitated to walk across the center of any room, finding security in keeping close to the furniture. But there she is in the middle of the room looking rather smug—I can almost hear her purr.

the little sunflower note card

The Little Sunflower © B.E. Kazmarski

The Little Sunflower

Real sunworshippers, all of my cats wait for the sun to enter the house in the morning and take their appointed spots. The brilliance of that first light and its reflections around the room, plus the contrast of all the exaggerated straight-line shapes with the organic shape of little Cookie and her shadow inspired this one.

my cats in the sun note cards logoOrdering Information
Cards include a border as shown, and are printed in full color on matte-finish ivory stock. They are blank inside, 4-1/2” x 6-1/4” and come with cream opaque square-flap envelopes.

They are available in packs of 12 with three cards in each of the four images or boxes of individual images. Different combinations are available on request. You can find these cards in my Marketplace, and also as a set in my Etsy shop.



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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Featured Artwork: “Interior With Cat”

watercolor of flowers and cat

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

reference photo for painting

Reference photo for painting.

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

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

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

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

watercolor of flowers

Detail of cloth, calendula and pots.

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

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

detail of watercolor

Detail of glass vase with marbles.

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

watercolor of flowers and cat

Detail of Sophie looking out the door.

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

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

Original, prints, cards and merchandise

framed watercolor

“Interior With Cat”, matted and framed.

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

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

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



Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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


Featured Artwork: Pawse

pencil sketch of sleeping cat

“Pawse”, pencil, 10″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Moses sleeps happily on the bed. This quick pencil sketch is actually an early “daily sketch” from a decade ago when I first practiced my daily sketches.

I called Moses my “velveteen kitty”, her plushy gray fur thick and lustrous with that sparkling sheen known well to those who live with gray cats, and I knew no hard lines could describe her. I used the side of my pencil to capture that softness with just enough definition to show a few stripes and the familiar outlines tabby cats have around eyes, nose, ears and toes. Around her is just a sketchy suggestion of a pillow, and then I stopped.

Moses was a former feral cat, and was hobbled by hind legs that never fully developed.  Getting up on the bed was a big deal for her, both in difficulty and habit. But the comfort of the bed was worth all the risks and difficulty to her. I loved to find her there, and would tiptoe in to look at her, sometimes photograph her, and a few times sketch her, as in “Sunday Morning”. As I always say about my sketches, they are a more immediate and even tactile memory for how deeply I study the details of my subject. Though it was more than ten years ago I still have a memory of holding my pencil on its side and sketching the soft shadows of her face and those soft paws, and the tangle of paws along with the pun on the word was what gave this sketch its name.

Where to find this artwork

I framed this original and donated it to a shelter art auction, but I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set. “Pawse” is a favorite as both a general purpose note card and as a sympathy card as some people have chosen this card to use for an animal sympathy card.

My ever-inspiring family of felines causes me to carry both my camera and a sketch pad around the house. Quick, simple pencil sketches catch them hanging around the house and are my favorite warm-up to creating larger pieces of artwork. While I could live three lifetimes and never be finished with the images I can create from my group, friends also give me photos that are too good to pass up. Pencil can be challenging to reproduce, and I’m happy to introduce a new series in addition to my pen and ink and my full-color fine art note cards series. You can find them in Portraits of Animals Marketplace.

. . . . . . .

My daily sketches from this era were less “daily” than now, but were still quite frequent. I carried a sketchbook with me outdoors and kept a sketchbook and pencil at the desk, and it is this second sketchbook that became my series, “From the Lost Sketchbook” , where I’d found a sketchbook that I’d kept at my desk beginning in 2002 and used periodically until about 2005. This was a general purpose sketchbook and I used it for many things in addition to extemporaneous sketches such as illustrations and ideas, and it included sketches of my cats and a few other subjects. I was so happy to see it again when I found it in 2010 that I scanned all the sketches that were pertinent to The Creative Cat and posted them.

See more articles and images of Moses.


Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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


A Great Rescue: Milan and Felix

portrait of two cats

“Milan and Felix”, pastel, 22″ x 15″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

TWO ADULT CATS who’d lost their people but found their way to the same rescuing household; we build our rescued families first out of need and then out of love—do we really find our way to each other, animals and people, until we’re where we should be?

. . . . . . .

After his owner went into a nursing home Milan found himself at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh. His mom, who volunteered there, noticed the shy tabby and white cat and took him home for a cage break. He blossomed and she and her husband fell in love with his big personality; cage break was over as he became permanent.

Felix was found wandering in the neighborhood between Christmas and New Years about a year later with no collar and no microchip; neighbors agreed that he had just appeared about a week before. His people took him in and got him on the wait list for Animal Friends. Three weeks later when Animal Friends called and said there was room for him at the shelter he had already worked his way into their hearts and made best friends with Milan—no shelter for Felix! He had chosen the right home to wander by; cats always know.

. . . . . . .

Sadly, we lost Milan in September 2012, but this family has not stopped rescuing cats—or dogs, and the continue to volunteer for Animal Friends. Also, Milan and Felix’s mom is a skilled quilter and makes cat-themed quilts to donate for shelter benefits. Read Creating With Cats Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity.

. . . . . . .

Tomorrow I’ll write about Milan and Felix’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. Here is April with Milan and Felix’s portrait and rescue story in Great Rescues Day Book:

page in day book with cats

April in Great Rescues Day Book.


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Holly is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories. This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years. Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more. Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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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.

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

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

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Valentine Cards for Cat Lovers, and Lovers with Cats

valentine greeting card with cats
“Heart Cats” Valentine Card

So far this year “You Are My Heart Cat” is the most popular Valentine card, already being ordered. Those are some eager Valentines!

As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and you may recognize many of the photos and illustrations I’ve used to create these cards. Each of the cats depicted here is one of mine, even if they are in yellow marker outlined in black. My cats have no choice but to be models, especially “if they like to eat” as I always tell them when they roll their eyes.

These 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.

valentine cards with cats
Valentine cards available all year round!

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.

Ordering Valentines

All designs are available in my Etsy shop. You can order:

  • Individually
  • Set of six of one design in clear-top stationery box
  • Set of all six in clear-top stationery box
  • Individual cards are mailed first class, sets via Priority Mail.

Two Yellow Cats

This card was designed from one of my daily sketches and just lends itself to a variety of themes—Valentine, friendship, thinking of you…I introduced it for Valentine’s Day but actually offer it in two designs.

You may just be friends with the recipient, or you may be using the card for an entirely different purpose, so I offer this two ways in the same item on Etsy:


card design of two cats in yellow outlined in black with heart
“Two Yellow Cats” as a Valentine card.
card design of two cats in yellow outlined in black
“Two Yellow Cats” as an Everyday card.

text inside card
Text inside “Two Yellow Cats”, both design versions.

“Two Yellow Cats” finishes out my set of six different Valentine greeting cards, as always inspired by and based on images of my household of felines! The message inside is “…purrrr….purrrrr…purrrrr…” in my own handwriting in an attempt to simulate the kitty purring on my lap at the time, a message that can be given to a friend or to someone who is a little more than a friend!

Both design options will be available all the time so you can send your chosen greeting any time of the year.

Each card comes with choice of red or white acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.

ABOUT THE ART

This daily sketch was done in felt-tip brush markers, signed and dated 7/7/12.

“Even if it’s too hot to cuddle, I still love my sister.”

That’s Jelly Bean and Mewsette enjoying a quiet moment looking out the basement door. Actually, Jelly Bean was trying to get Mewsette to give him a little bath on the head, knowing that if he leaned in at just the right angle and just the right moment, Mewsette would turn and lick him without even thinking about it. It didn’t work, but it was okay.

Jelly Bean and Mewsette are black but as you know I have fun sketching them in totally unrealistic colors.


Nuzzles and Purrrrrs for Valentine’s Day!

Nuzzles and Purrrrrs

The operatically romantic Giuseppe  Basil Verdi and the French-Canadian belle femme Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite have been carrying on a long-distance affaire since the summer of 2011; they always conclude their correspondence with “nuzzles and purrrrrs”, hence the name and the text inside.

I photographed Mewsette and Giuseppe cuddling on my desk while I worked at my computer and posted them as a daily photo. So many readers immediately said “Valentine” that I thought I’d oblige with a design! And even though it’s Mewsette and not Mlle. Daisy, Mewsette looks so much like the lovely and dignified Mlle. that she is a stand-in when needed, and always knows when her brother needs a hug.

nuzzles and purrs inside crop
Text inside “Nuzzles and Purrs”.

The message inside is “NUZZLES AND PURRRRRS” in a really fun font. Each card comes with choice of red or white acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.


two black cats with heart on yellow background
“Heart Cats”, featuring Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette.

You Are My Heart Cat

The siblings of the Fantastic Four often cuddle and hug, cheek to cheek, but this design adapted from the original heart-shaped cats photo of Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette is still my favorite; the background color of the card is adapted from the color of their eyes.

I photographed these two in the bathroom at night in poor light, but no matter, such a sweet photo I’d do my best. Since then I’ve adapted the two into many different designs and colors. Here, for Valentine’s day, they are solid black with the solid cerise of their eyes, and just one red heart as they hug.

you are my heart cat
Text inside “You Are My Heart Cat”

The message inside is “YOU ARE MY HEART CAT” in a really fun font. Each card comes with choice of red or white acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.


two cats on red blanket
“Purple Cats, Red Blanket”

Purple Cats, Red Blanket

This daily sketch was done in felt-tip ink technical drawing pen with watercolor washes, signed and dated 1/6/12, and pictures Jelly Bean and Mewsette using a red blanket I’d tossed to the landing for the laundry as a comfy impromptu cat bed.

Black cats, like white cats, have all sorts of colors in their fur, and in the day’s filtered sunlight their fur glistened with all sorts of highlights and shadows. The randomly shaped and wrinkled red blanket heightened the range of colors in their fur and even the neutral wood floor held random combinations in its old unfinished grain. Mostly, the composition was what attracted me in the first place: two similar heavy rounded shapes, the random soft shape and the smooth shape brought elements together in a very pleasing way.

text inside card
“Purr Hearts” illustration inside card.

The message inside is “Purr Hearts” in my handwriting and hand-drawn heart-pawprints. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.


black and white photo of cats
Steal a Moment With a Kitty You Love

Steal a Moment

This photo was originally an unfocused mistake but I liked it better than the focused version, and so did many readers of The Creative Cat.

text inside card
“Happy Valentine’s Day”

The message inside is “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY”—imagine that!

Each card comes with choice of red or white acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.


card with moon and silhouette of two cats
Silhouettes for Valentine’s Day.

Silhouettes for Valentine’s Day

I originated this design as a Halloween card using autumn shades in autumn 2011, but with a little color change it suits Valentine’s Day. It features my photograph of the Harvest Moon and the silhouettes of Jelly Bean and Mimi derived from a photo of the two.

Each card comes with choice of red or white acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. I sell them individually as a set of six packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box in my shop on Etsy.

Unlike all the others, this card is blank inside, ready for your message.


Set of Six, one of each

Purchase a set including one of each of these six cards with your choice of red or white envelopes, and even your choice of design for “Two Yellow Cats”!

block print valentine cards with cats
Full set, smaller sets and individuals of hand-printed Valentines

Also read about my handprinted Valentine note cards: Block Print Valentine Note Cards.

I’ll have other Valentine’s Day merchandise specials to offer next week. If you’d like to receive advance notice with special discounts on these and other items I offer here and on Etsy, scroll down and sign up for The Creative Cat E-newsletter.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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

.


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

Sophie-HolidayCheerForHomelessPets-300


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

© 2013 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST

 



“Peace” on “Earth”, and Other Holiday Card Designs

christmas card with dog and cat

“A Cat Named Peace, A Dog Named Earth”, Pen and Ink Illustration • 1997

Look a little closer at those markings…what do you see?

For my holiday card in 1997, I was puzzling out yet another way to say “Peace on Earth”. I saw an illustration that had each hemisphere of a globe on either side of a Christmas tree ornament, and thought the idea of using the globe was clever.

Creating portraits of spotted dogs and spotted cats at the time, something in my brain put it all together for me. While I regularly create linoleum block prints, I decided to draw this one out instead of cutting it! Don’t know why…

I decided to bring this design back out this year!

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. And you can choose white, red or brown kraft envelopes; if you don’t choose one I’ll ship them with white envelopes.

The card is blank inside, but with a minimum order of four dozen they can also be customized with your message or logo, but please ask soon—time is running out for custom printing!

Scroll down or browse the selection of Holiday cards in my Etsy shop. You may order directly from there for single cards and sets of six or a dozen and use your discount. For larger orders and for customized orders, please e-mail me so we can discuss and I’ll send you a customized invoice that reflects your order.

holiday card with tortoiseshell cat
Cookie’s Full of Holiday Cheer

Cookie’s Holiday Cheer

You know that Cookie is usually the sweetest tortoiseshell kitty you’d ever want to meet, but she’s less than thrilled about modeling. Especially when she’s been…”decorated”.

On the back:

“You’ll Pay For This.”
Photo • 2006

“This is not how I want to be remembered.”
It all started when I set the silver sparkle ball on Cookie’s head, and she gave me the tortie look, but stayed put. Cookie isn’t really wild about modeling for her mom’s stupid pictures. But you don’t see her running away. Too bad for Cookie.

Inside card.

Inside at left.

With a minimum order of two dozen it can also be customized with your message or logo (please convo on Etsy).

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and includes a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box.

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


Star of Wonder

holiday card cat looking at star
Star of Wonder

This card features a simple, wordless illustration of a cat looking at a star.

Inside card.

Inside it reads: “May the wonder of the season bring you peace and joy through the year.”

I love to design with silhouettes. As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better models are my family of five black cats than creating with feline silhouettes?

Using a photo of Mr. Sunshine looking up at a moth, I created his silhouette including all those lovely long whiskers and fur tips. I created the star motif years ago for another holiday design project for a customer, and I’m glad to use it for my designs this year.

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. Cards can be customized with your message with a minimum order of four dozen.

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


Can We Get That Thing?

holiday card featuring kittens looking at star
Can We GetThat thing?

This card features a wordless illustration of the Curious Quartet looking at a star.

Inside card.

Inside the card reads: “…they look-ed up, and sa-aw a star …
…and they WANTED it!

I love to design with silhouettes. As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better models are my family of five black cats than creating with feline silhouettes?

For this illustration I used reference photos I’d taken of the Curious Quartet when they were just little kitties watching birds. I created the star motif years ago for another holiday design project for a customer, and I’m glad to use it for my designs this year.

This 5″ x 7” card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. Cards can be customized with your message with a minimum order of four dozen (please convo on Etsy).

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


Sophie Gets a Look at Herself

holiday card with cat
Sophie Gets a Look at Herself

Sophie was a little goofy, and did at one time look at herself in a glass ornament on the tree…for my holiday card in 1999 I decided to illustrate that memory in a quick little sketch!

On the back:

Sophie Gets a Look at Herself
Pastel • 1999

The message inside reads: “Hope your Christmas is full of wonderful surprises!”

Inside card.

Whether or not Sophie thinks she is all nose with tiny eyes and ears or that every ornament has her image on it, I don’t know, but she certainly looked a little disconcerted at encountering her reflection in this way. In any case, she provided the inspiration for a bright, cheerful piece of holiday artwork!

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope.

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


An Old Memory

cat-themed holiday card
An Old Memory

This card is based on a photo I took years ago…

An Old memory
Photo • 1983

Cut-paper snowflakes taped
to a wavy glass window reflecting
the big front porch from an apartment I lived in long ago,
and a cat I will always remember from when he and I were very young,
just beginning,
me just getting to know my camera, and my art;
how did I capture a perfectly blended image to reflect those times?

Inside card.

This card has a message inside: Wishing you wonderful memories this holiday season and new year.

With a minimum order of four dozen it can also be customized with your message or logo (please convo on Etsy).

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and includes a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box.

Find this card in my Etsy shop



Meowy Cats’ Mess

Meowy Cats’ Mess red.
Meowy Cats’ Mess green.

This card is a linoleum block print I designed for my holiday card in 1996. It’s printed in red ink on smooth cream-colored card stock.

I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 1996 I decided I’d revive my love for block printing (and it was one of the creative things I did in the aftermath of losing Kublai and Allegro).

The design is derived from hand-lettering and playing around with fonts, plus tiny cat silhouettes I had designed for various projects; I added a border just to be decorative.

Where most of my other cards are printed commercially, each of these cards is hand-printed by me on my little Speedball printing press. I usually print a run of 48 cards at a time, so each set is in its own way a limited edition.

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

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed in water-based ink on cream card stock, hand trimmed and folded and includes a matching envelope. I also have a limited set on brown kraft card stock but matching envelopes have been hard to find; you will find these on Etsy if I find enough envelopes. Cards are blank inside and can also be framed.

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


Window Kitty, Snowy Night

cat themed holiday card
Window Kitty, Snowy Night

Kitty is waiting in the window for you to return home. This card is a linoleum block print I designed for my holiday card in 2001. It’s printed in cobalt blue ink on smooth yellow card stock, then overprinted with iridescent glitter in a clear base to simulate the sense of falling snow at night.

I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 2001 decided to take my block prints a step further by adding a glittery finish, but it didn’t work well until newer glitter-based finishes were available. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, but it doesn’t photograph or scan well enough to see the actual finish.

The design is based on coming home at night from work for years and seeing one or another of my cats in this very window, usually Sally, watching for me as I came from the driveway.

Where most of my other cards are printed commercially, each of these cards is hand-printed by me on my little Speedball printing press. I usually print a run of 48 cards at a time, so each set is in its own way a limited edition.

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

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed in water-based ink on yellow card stock, iridescent glitter finish hand-rolled onto the paper, and hand trimmed and folded. It includes a matching envelope. Cards are blank inside and can also be framed.

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


Nature and Wild Birds

These sets inspired by nature are designed from my paintings and photographs from my backyard and the trails I enjoy in winter. Each set includes four or more designs. Click on any image to read more about it on Etsy.

Backyard Birds in Winter
Unexpected Berries
Winter Beauty
Cardinals Brighten a Snowy Day

cat and art materials on table

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Usually 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.

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.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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

.


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

Sophie-HolidayCheerForHomelessPets-300


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

© 2013 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST



Two Hand-printed Holiday Card Designs

    Hand-printed linocut holiday cards.
Hand-printed linocut holiday cards.

Years before I really went into business at home and I’d just begun freelancing, I designed and printed my own cards each year. This initially meant in the 80s I created a design in black and white and copied it…then when I got a computer in the early 90s I printed them on my black and white laser printer, then my color printer as the years marched on, and then finally had them digitally printed as I do with most of my cards today.

But every so often I want to print a card by hand and I go back to my love of block prints—in fact, my first block print designs outside of classes in school were for holiday cards, not for wall art. One of these days I’ll pull out and reprint the half-dozen non-feline designs I have and still enjoy, but for the past few years I’ve printed a limited number of two designs featuring cats.


Meowy Cats’ Mess

Meowy Cats’ Mess red.

I designed this linoleum block print  for my holiday card in 1996. Back in the day, if you were a graphic designer using clip art, the “wood cut” look was really popular, and it also helped to really revive my need to create block prints. At first I was drawing illustrations that incorporated the signature patterns of long and short incised lines for both decorative pattern and dimension and shading, then decided to take it to the real thing.

Meowy Cats’ Mess green.

My hands have always had a little touch of arthritis and tendon issues, even before heavy computer use, and while I love wood blocks and the exceptionally fine details you can achieve, I decided to go with linoleum blocks since they were easier to cut and that put less stress on my hands.

I’ve earlier referenced losing two of my cats in 1996, Kublai and Allegro, and all the things I’d done to work my way through my grief that autumn. This was really my final big project in that process, and while I’d initially decided to try to avoid the subject of cats in my holiday cards, I could take joy in them again, watching them in their everyday play and activities, and thought I’d celebrate them instead, my whole household at once.

Meowy Cat's Mess in red on brown kraft.
Meowy Cat’s Mess in red on brown kraft.

In brainstorming a clever visual or verbal “headline”, I like to twist words and “Meowy Cat’s Mess” came up as I thought through all the phrases connected with Christmas and other winter holidays. I worked my way through a few sketches with the text and the cats and pretty quickly came to this, with all these happy busy kitties making a mess of my design!

I took the little feline silhouettes I’d designed years earlier, then stylized them for block printing in 1993 when I designed the “Tabbies” series. In this case, however, I wanted each of the cats to be a little different and more or less representative of the cats in my household at the time including a few prior fosters, so I designed them with stripes, spots, specks, white paws and solids dark and light.

The design is derived from playing around with fonts then hand-lettering. I liked the design, but it looked to be floating on the card so I added a border with a bow because I liked how the cut lines in the bow and ribbon used for shading looked.

Meowy Cat's Mess in green on brown kraft.
Meowy Cat’s Mess in green on brown kraft.

Just in case you haven’t read this in prior posts, block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique. You can see a little slideshow of the process in a recent post, “Featured Artwork: “Fawnball”.

I’ve also recently found an economical little Speedball printing press which enables me to print cards faster. I usually print only a dozen cards at a time because I have to have a place for them to dry for at least a day, out of the reach of curious paws…and that means hanging clotheslines in my studio and bathroom and clothes pinning them to hang to dry before I stamp my information on the back and fold them.

This card is 5″ x 7″ and is printed in water-based acrylic ink on card stock in four variations, with several choices of envelope:

  • cream card stock with red ink, cream or red envelope
  • cream card stock with green ink, cream or green envelope
  • kraft card stock with red ink, red or kraft envelope
  • kraft card stock with green ink, green or kraft envelope

Cards are blank inside and can also be framed. You can find all the cards here. In addition, this year I made a set of 5″ x 7″ wood-mount prints of just the prints.


Window Kitty, Snowy Night

cat themed holiday card
Window Kitty, Snowy Night

Kitty is waiting in the window for you to return home.

I designed this linoleum block print for my holiday card in 2001.The design is based on the actual scene that met me many snowy nights when I came home from my day job and seeing one of my kitties in silhouette, Sally for many years, then Sophie, sitting on the windowsill at the big casement window facing north, the light falling across the snow on the ground below.

It’s printed in cobalt blue ink on smooth yellow card stock, and the ink wraps completely around the back. It’s then lightly rolled with iridescent glitter in a clear base to simulate the sense of falling snow at night as you move the card. Unfortunately, it doesn’t scan or photograph well, you’ll just have to use a little visualization…

I had initially used all sorts of other glitter to achieve the effect, but it either obscured the design or just fell off in the envelope when it was mailed. Each year for four or five years I experimented with another type of glitter, unsuccessfully. I put it away for several years until 2012 and decided I’d revive the design somehow, even if it just meant printing the design on the paper, which is nice on its own, though I really felt the need for the extra dimension of glitter. So it took over a decade to achieve that final idea, but it was well worth it.

As with the “Meowy Cat’s Mess” card I print these cards one dozen at a time, let them dry, then roll on the iridescent finish and let that dry, add a little label to the back with my information, then finally fold it.

This card is also 5″ x 7″ and printed in water-based acrylic ink on yellow card stock, iridescent glitter finish hand-rolled onto the paper as described, and hand trimmed and folded. It includes a matching envelope in your choice of yellow or white. Card is blank inside and can also be framed, though I haven’t made any wood-mount versions of this, but only for lack of space!

Find this card in my Etsy shop.


cat and art materials on table

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Usually 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.

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.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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

.


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

Sophie-HolidayCheerForHomelessPets-300


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

© 2013 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST



Featured Artwork: Conversation With a Daisy

pencil portrait of cat with daisies
“Conversation With a Daisy”, pencil on cream cotton paper, 9″ x 12″, 2004 © B.E. Kazmarski

I call pencil “my first and favorite medium”. My mother was a newspaper crossword puzzle fan and I’ve been sketching in pencil since I picked up one of her readily-sharpened No. 2 pencils with the yellow paint and the pink eraser and began to make lines on one of her lined 3″ x 5″ index cards. I actually remember doing this and watching myself make the lines; I have no idea how old I was but I believe I was in kindergarten or first grade. Fast forward a few years and I sat on our dining room table looking out the window at the gnarled crabapple tree in the snow, No. 2 pencil in hand and a piece of blank paper, trying capture the bare tree against the snow, learning the many things a pencil could do.

Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, cat with daisies
Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, just Namir.

And from that beginning I often say that “I can speak in pencil”, that what goes in my eyes and comes out the tip of the pencil has very little logical translation much as you would speak fluently in more than one language. I see the scene, and I see the pencil drawing. That’s also one of the reasons you’ll see so many of my daily sketches in pencil, and I have a huge body of works in pencil featuring my cats, commissioned portraits, wildlife, landscapes, waterscapes and flowers.

So when I saw Namir stretching his entire slender self up toward a downward-facing daisy I looked at his crisp gray fur with its muted stripes, his graceful curving figure, the simplicity of the daisies and immediately decided I had to do a pencil sketch entitled “Conversation With a Daisy”.

I had carried in an armload of my Shasta daisies that had been knocked over in a summer storm and put them in the crystal vase on the kitchen cabinet, always a risk in a house of cats who ate nearly all green things but who considered freshly-cut flowers a special treat. One of them had indeed been bent and was facing downward. Seeing Namir I snapped several photographs, but he would not stretch himself out again and sniff that daisy! “I already did that, I don’t have to do it again, cats only sniff things once and then they know all about them,” he said. So much for me, but I know how to get my models into the positions I need, and this one was easy: hold any object above his head in about the position the daisy had been—snap! Sketch.

When I look at scenes like my kitchen it’s when I really mean it when I say, “That’s why we have art.” I can use only what I need of the original scene, and still you see my point of inspiration, plus no one really needs to see my cluttered little kitchen.  But it’s not only about being able to leave things out; these choices are part your aesthetic decision about what’s truly important to your statement. In this case, it was Namir’s exploration of the daisy, and briefly I considered leaving out the bunch of daisies and the vase too, but I liked the interaction between his shape and the vase.

Working in pencil I can also express details either with strength, like Namir’s fur, using both texture and opacity for you to understand what I see, or with subtlety, like the barely outlined curve of his cheek and the whisps of his whiskers curving upward toward the daisy in curiosity, just enough quick lines to see the fur on the curve of his chest.

Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, cat with daisy.
Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, Namir meets the daisy.

One of the things I enjoy about pencil is the expressiveness of the lines you can make, and this simple drawing makes use of not only a soft pencil lead similar to that old No. 2 but also harder leads that make lighter but cleaner lines, and I’ve also used the point of an extremely sharp pencil, a slightly dulled pencil and the full side of the pencil to create detail and texture, and even combinations of all of these in one simple line as you can see rounding his left whisker pad, above.

I do love flowers, and I don’t give myself enough of a chance to draw and paint them—partly because I’m usually outside tending to them instead. But in this case, along with comparing the two shapes of Namir and the vase, it was another reason to include the vase of daisies in the drawing. As with Namir, I didn’t draw every daisy in the vase or even every petal, in fact they are a little rough and sketchy up close, but overall you get the sense of daisies when you look at them. I looked for the details that stood out most to me, and that was the stems with their tiny leaves, and the positions of the flowers and their petals.

Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, the daisies
Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, the daisies.
Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, the crystal vase.
Detail of Conversation With a Daisy, the crystal vase.

And I also don’t take enough time to sketch just everyday objects, though I study and photograph them all the time.  How to work with the complexity of a bunch of daisy stems refracted through the facets of flowers and leaves cut into the crystal vase? Again, look for shadows and light, and recognizable shapes.

I sketched this in 2004 and framed it then. Namir’s idiopathic cystitis began causing issues as his heart murmur increased, and while we never knew if they were related, he began to suffer occasional bladder infections and needed to be hospitalized and catheterized, not from the usual crystals in his urine, but because of swelling, somewhere along the line. My veterinarian and others who treated him guessed that he’d picked up a herpes virus when he’d been an outdoor unneutered kitty at the beginning of his life and it settled somewhere in his urinary tract.

In order to help pay his bill for all the testing and treatment I “raffled” this sketch and a friend won it.

His condition continued on. Because of his heart murmur and developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy we had to be extra careful of any treatments and of the possible retention of fluid since he was already showing some fluid build up around his heart. In August 2005 he suffered his first round of congestive heart failure and this persistent bladder issue was a huge concern, but after he’d been on a diuretic for a while he would still have infections and urinary issues, but never came near blocking again. Not sure if trading one thing for the other was worth it, but with all that Namir managed to live to be 15 years old with his sense of humor fully intact. No one who met him ever had any idea that his health was so precarious, and for all the really painful treatments he endured, all the veterinarians and technicians at the specialist and emergency hospital welcomed him for a “visit” and I often read in his medical reports how he loved “face scunches” and kisses, and how he sat on someone’s desk and laid all over the papers.

Where to find this sketch

Feline Sketches Fine Art Correspondence
Feline Sketches Fine Art Correspondence

I have this sketch in a set of notecards called “Feline Sketches”, a collection of this and other pencil sketches from years past offset printed on acid-free cream cover with matching envelopes as well as writing paper. You’ll also see memo pads, but I only have a few left and I need to reprint.

These cards are printed offset, meaning that ink is applied to a plate, and that plate is applied to the piece of paper, not the type of digital reproduction I use for my full-color cards and prints. Pencil is not truly black, and when I’d reproduced my pencil sketches using ink in the past they often looked like charcoal sketches instead.

When I had these printed the printer and I did tests to match the ink to the pencil drawings and used Warm Gray 9 ink instead of black ink and I’m very pleased with the outcome. In this one, Namir’s fur looks just like Namir’s fur did, and it looks so much like my original sketch that, printed on the same cream paper, it’s hard to tell them apart.

A few veterinary hospitals purchase my animal sympathy cards, and while they also purchase the more designed 5″ x 7″ greeting cards, a few also choose a selection of these, and I use them as well myself.

At the time I had them printed I had also had a limited number of prints made, like 10 each, in ink on cream cotton cover of each of the images you see at right, and I will get around to that sometime again soon.



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.


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