Tag Archives: feline artwork

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.

Sign up for e-newsletters

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

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter,
for feline and animal-specific products and information.

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for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

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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.


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“Stripes on Stripe”, a Favorite Photo

Stripes on Stripe, photo

Stripes on Stripe, photo

An image of Stanley in his last summer…we always visited the back yard in the morning, and afterward he loved to nap on the deck in the morning sun in warm weather. Stanley always had a way of arranging himself in interesting compositions, such as this one. One of my nicknames for him from way, way back was “Stripe” because he was the first tabby cat I rescued.

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.

Stripes on Stripe, 4" x 4", white frame

Stripes on Stripe, 4″ x 4″, white frame

FRAMED PRINTS

The photo is matted with Arctic White acid-free mat and a white solid wood frame. Frames are available in white or black and may vary in style and finish, but are always about 1″ wide. Prints are signed on the photo and on the mat.

I also have a black option for this frame as well as a silver metal options that fall in the same price range. Also, other custom framing options are also available for a special quote. Please ask if you’d like another option.

Stripes on Stripe, 4" X 4", black frame

Stripes on Stripe, 4″ X 4″, black frame

PHOTO PRINTS

Digital prints are made on acid-free gloss photo paper using archival digital inks. I usually leave an inch or two of white around the print for easier frame fitting. All prints are countersigned by me.

Larger sizes are available than what I have listed, so please ask if you want a special size.

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 wraps around the sides.

MOUSEPADS

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

It’s in my Etsy shop!


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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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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It’s Tortie Girls Time!

Tortie Girls tote bags.

Tortie Girls tote bags.

The gold and orange and yellow of tortoiseshell cats may seem more of an autumn theme, but for me those bright colors always meant June and sunshine. I love to welcome the summer with my tortie girls Cookie and Kelly on as many items as I can make.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

“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”.

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

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

“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.

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

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

I’ve spent a good bit of time in the past month or so printing and painting and sewing and finishing things for this month’s marketplace, and I have more Tortie Girls things than ever before, including a few things I’ve never offered before.

The hand-tinted tees drying all around my deck.

The hand-tinted tees drying all around my deck.

And of course I was duly supervised during the creation and manufacture of all of these items!

Mimi really is supervising me though it looks as if she's napping next to my paints, inks and brushes.

Mimi really is supervising me though it looks as if she’s napping next to my paints, inks and brushes.

Items include the last three Tortie Girls garden flags, tablecloths, place mats, t-shirts, unframed, framed or mounted prints, all listed below with links to my Etsy shop. Shipping cost is included in the prices listed so you don’t need to worry about calculating shipping later. And don’t forget your discount code: JUNE10, to get 10% off your entire order through June 30.

So if Tortie Girls are your definition of summer too, happy shopping!

"Those are my fur sisters' images, take care of them!" Mimi says.

“Those are my fur sisters’ images, take care of them!” Mimi says.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Tees

Jenna and her mom Mary Kay model the new tees and totes.

Jenna and her mom Mary Kay model the new tees and totes.

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print and then hand-painted with diluted screen-printing ink to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly. I sign and date each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

The Roundest Eyes tee.

The Roundest Eyes tee.

The Goddess tee.

The Goddess tee.

Mimi gives Jenna a few tips on modeling.

Mimi gives Jenna a few tips on modeling.

Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring a narrow bound edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, and sizes run a little smaller than the typical beefy tee. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL and printed three each of each size and pattern.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. 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 wearable work of art.

Mimi is proud of her student.

Mimi is proud of her student.

Many thanks to Jenna Corso-Gentert and her mom May Kay Gentert for modeling my tees! They look so much better on a human than on a hanger, and Jenna has a definite presence for modeling even though she is only 12, just finishing sixth grade. She studies musical theater, vocal training and dance with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and in school she is excellent in math and science.

Mary Kay is a member of our rescue group and is the person who trapped and rescued our foster Bella and Bella’s brother Butters, who they adopted. Mary Kay can always be counted on to transport any cats or supplies or traps or whatever a foster might need from anywhere to anywhere in the Pittsburgh area, up to an hour away sometimes. And they made time to come over here and model!

As you see, Mimi, an experienced art model and lighting and set designer, had some modeling pointers for Jenna. She also supervised the whole operation. I only wish the lighting had been better.

Mimi supervises the photo shoot.

Mimi supervises the photo shoot.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Totes

The Roundest Eyes tote bag, approved by Mimi!

The Roundest Eyes tote bag, approved by Mimi!

And you know how Mimi likes to photobomb my product photography!

These tote bags are heavy-weight poly-cotton canvas measuring 12.5″ wide x 13″ high with a 3″ deep gusset to open and hold a lot of stuff.

Why the odd size? And poly-cotton? These bags are “repurposed”!

What the bags originally looked like.

What the bags originally looked like.

Several years ago one of my commercial customers told me he had a box of canvas bags that had been printed badly (the four fingerprints are not dark enough) and he just wanted to get rid of them—was I interested? I took them and initially tried to sell them on ebay but no one bought even one. But I had always wanted to print tote bags with my art, and from the time I’d designed the linocuts I’d wanted to see the Tortie Girls on tote bags, and decided this was a great place to start.

Mewsette inspects my materials as I iron the designs on the bags.

Mewsette inspects my materials as I iron the designs on the bags.

I printed and tinted the design on a natural cotton muslin and layered that fabric with a more opaque fabric underneath to completely cover the original design, used fusible webbing to adhere it all together and to the bag, then stitched around the outside edge to keep it in place.

Edge-stitching on the tote bags.

Edge-stitching on the tote bags.

Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your arm!

The Goddess tote bag--and you know how Mimi loves to photobomb my product photography.

The Goddess tote bag–and you know how Mimi loves to photobomb my product photography.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Tablecloths

Tortie Girls tablecloth, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls tablecloth, The Goddess.

Made of unbleached cotton muslin, this little accent tablecloth is approximately 36″ x 36″ and has the same image printed four times, one on each side. It is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag. Each tablecloth is signed, just as I would a print on paper. The edge is finished with an overcast stitch.

I can also customize these to a certain extent by adding your cat’s name. Please tell me you’d like to do this and include your cat’s name in the “notes” section when you order.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. 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 wearable work of art. They are also slightly odd sizes because I cut the squares without measuring, and though the fabric is nominally 72″ wide it’s not exactly that size, so…it makes them interesting.

Tortie Girls tablecloth, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls tablecloth, The Roundest Eyes.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Placemats

Tortie Girls placemats, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls placemats, The Goddess.

I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table! I sign each placemat, just as I would a print on paper.

I can also customize these to a certain extent by adding your cat’s name. Please tell me you ‘d like to do this and include your cat’s name in the “notes” section when you order. Please ask about set pricing if you’d like more than one.

Tortie Girls placemats, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls placemats, The Roundest Eyes.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Prints

The Tortie Girls set.

The Tortie Girls set.

I originally designed these in 2001 before digital and giclee printing were affordable to take with me to smaller art festivals and to donate to shelter and rescue events. These framed prints were the original intent and while they’ve gone so much farther in the past 14 years I still love these prints matted and framed as I’d visualized them before I even purchased the linoleum blocks.

They are a set of hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints featuring my tortoiseshell girls. I print them with screen printing ink and then hand tint each one with watercolor. I offer them matted and framed and ready to hang, or you can get them matted only, tinted only with no mat, or just the print, and you can also choose just “The Goddess” or “The Roundest Eyes”. Each image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″, horizontal or vertical as shown in the photo.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Wood Mount Prints

Tortie Girls wood mounted prints.

Tortie Girls wood mounted prints.

The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1.5″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I offer “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” individually as well as in a set.

The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” decoupaged on the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Prints Hot Pads

Tortie Girls hot pads, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls hot pads, The Goddess.

This product is an 9″ x 12″ cork-backed wood panel with feline art on the front that you can use as a hot pad or a decorative item to protect your countertop–or any surface, not just the kitchen counters!

The print is a hand-colored, hand-tinted and signed block print decoupaged on the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors.

I used an 9″ x 12″ hardboard panel 1/8″ thick originally intended for oil or acrylic painting and adhered a high-quality digital print of one of my paintings to the front. I covered the front and edges with several thin coats of satin-finish acrylic varnish, the same one that’s lasted 15 years on my kitchen counters, for protection from moisture and heat, and easy clean-up. It is backed with a thin sheet of cork to keep it in place.

The surface will withstand the occasional heat of items from a moderately hot oven such as glass casseroles or pie pans, and also will resist water and other liquids so you can use it under glasses or mugs. I don’t recommend completely immersing it in water to wash, but wiping it with mild detergent and then rinsing.

Tortie Girls hot pads, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls hot pads, The Roundest Eyes.

. . . . . . .

Tortie Girls Prints Garden Flags

Tortie Girls garden flags, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls garden flags, The Goddess.

I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to offer these garden flags anymore unless I come up with another way to create small quantities of them. And I only have two of “The Goddess” and one of “The Roundest Eyes” left!

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, in this case it’s “The Goddess on both sides, one side with a white background and one side with a yellow background. 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.

Tortie Girls garden flags, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls garden flags, The Roundest Eyes.


Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.

Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.

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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Little Wood-mounted Photos and Sketches

"Mimi" wood-mounted photo.

“Mimi” wood-mounted photo.

It’s when I see Mimi like this, relaxed, quietly happy by a sunny window, breeze ruffling her ears, her delicate features so lovely with the lace curtain, that I deeply sense she and I are both having a moment of appreciation for her life here, indoors, spayed, well-fed; often after one of these moments she turns and looks right at me, aware we are sharing the same sentiment, as she did some time after I took this photo when I’d simply stood admiring her.

These 4″ x 4″ blocks, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with 1″ x 1″ pine wood added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging. And because they have wide sides the smaller ones can even stand up on a tabletop or shelf. I’ve painted the sides white and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. You can find this one in my Etsy shop!

"Looking Out the Window" wood-mounted ink sketch.

“Looking Out the Window” wood-mounted ink sketch.

In this ink sketch Jelly Bean peeks through the cafe curtains as I sit at my desk working after dark; what he can see out there is probably something I would never be able to see, but he is raptly attentive. You can see the original sketch in the last image in this gallery or on The Creative Cat at http://thecreativecat.net/daily-sketch-looking-out-the-window-2/#.ULJrDGcZ9o0.

The 4″ x 4″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with 1.5″ x 1.5″ pine wood added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging. And because they have wide sides the smaller ones can even stand up on a tabletop or shelf. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. You can find it in my Etsy shop.

 

"Studying Something" wood-mounted photo

“Studying Something” wood-mounted photo

I have no idea what disturbed Bean’s bath and held him and Mewsette with rapt attention, but it took an enormous number of whiskers and individual hairs to accomplish it, a few toes too.

The 4″ x 4″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with 1″ x 1″ pine wood added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging. And because they have wide sides the smaller ones can even stand up on a tabletop or shelf. I’ve painted the sides white and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. It’s in my Etsy shop!

And below is a little suggestion of how a customer arranged her wood-mounted art.

How a customer hung her wood-mounted art.

How a customer hung her wood-mounted art.

 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

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “Sooty”

pastel portrait of chinchilla persian cat

“Sooty”, 1997, pastel, 11″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T MATTER how much sentiment is attached to adopting a cat, how much people pay for a cat, or how beautiful or sweet it is, that cat is out the door when they no longer want it; sometimes, like Sooty, it is actually headed for its loving forever home and the people who will truly cherish it forever.

. . . . . . .

Sooty was a full-bred Chinchilla-point Persian but didn’t come to his forever home directly from his breeder.

Adopted by a newly-engaged couple as a wedding gift to the bride-to-be, the couple subsequently broke up and Sooty was homeless. Passed along from one unloving home to another, finally housed in a detached garage with the door left open in the hope that he would run into the street…a neighbor kept watch, talked to the family, and finally convinced them to give Sooty to her. She asked her sister-in-law to foster him.

Though her sister-in-law had no pets then, she had always had a cat and a dog growing up. When her mother passed away her father came to live with her along with his dog and cat. They lost the pets and her father passed away soon after and she vowed “no more pets”. She made it clear that she would have Sooty neutered, given all his shots and shaved because he was filthy and had such large hair balls under each limb, but he was a foster, not an adoption.

He arrived in a cage, “frightened to death” and would not come out; she and her husband left the room and pretty soon Sooty came out of his cage and disappeared. Looking everywhere, she finally found him in her father’s old room, all curled up like he belonged there. “That did it,” and he stayed.

. . . . . . .

Animals always know, whether it’s Oscar, the prognosticating cat in the nursing home, or a cat who walked into your home and seemed to have been acquainted with it already, where they are needed most.

I’ve known people who would have taken in Sooty, even as a foster, and rejected him for his distant personality, not understanding that he’d never had a real home, not given him the space to learn to trust. But it’s also a truly wonderful thing to know that a cat came along at just the right time for people who needed him, as Sooty immediately recognized the place of loss and moved to fill it in the best way he could.

Sooty had been deeply hurt by his own experiences. It was months before he would even go upstairs to the bedrooms, let alone sleep on the bed, or even the couch; sadly it was clear he’d been taught those places were not for cats. But he never lost a drop of his natural quiet sweetness, and in time his forever family welcomed him to cuddle up next to them or sleep on their lap.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Sooty’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. You can read that article here.


Here is Sooty’s page in Great Rescues:

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Sooty:

The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

. . . . . . .

About the Portrait

detail of pastel cat portrait

Detail of portrait: Sooty’s face.

I’ve always loved the way Sooty’s portrait looked, the horizontal layout and simple composition, clear and contrasting colors. In my portfolio of portraits Sooty’s was admired by many, and when I had visualized the Great Rescues calendar and day book series over ten years ago, Sooty’s portrait was one of the first that came to mind.

When I met with the couple who owned him, we looked at a few photos, but this one of Sooty, both his posture and demeanor, was perfect and the three of us knew it, even as Sooty quietly observed our process in much the same position. He was so calm and relaxed I managed to get detail shots of his face, especially his blue-green eyes.

Sooty was in his teens when I met him in the 90s, and he’d been bred so long ago that his Persian face looks little like the Persian cats I meet today. His nose is shorter than the usual cat nose, but not as deep-set as that of modern Persians.

I love the hair between long-haired cats’ toes, but Sooty’s was exceptional—it was so long his paws looked like little dust mops and I remember us joking about it, but when I was painting the portrait I remember questioning myself even though I’d seen it right there on his paws and taken the photos. It wasn’t helped by the contrast between pale silver fur and deep charcoal gray fur that made it look as if it had been attached.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of portrait: toes.

His fur itself was beautifully unique, each long guard hair ending in a short black tip which gave him the ashy sort of look that led to his name. He had wonderful eyeliner and even his nose was outlined, and most endearing of all his whiskers were black. But that field of fur along his sides and back had so much detail that I got all lost in drawing it.

The background in a portrait like this is a style I developed myself over the years for portraits where there was just a color and no particular object or surface. I base the predominant color on one that complements the subject well and is possibly a color in the subject itself; see Nick where I used the blue from his eyes. In Sooty’s case I looked around the room where the portrait would hang and at Sooty’s cool silver fur, and then at his terra cotta nose and knew that was the color. As you can see in front of him I’ve added a few “wrinkles” as if the background is a cloth, but you can see in the upper left that I’ve mimicked the entrance of a light source from the left and used an olive green shading lighter to a yellowish shade as if it’s sunlight on a wall.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of background and fur.

I usually frame my portraits in custom mats and molding per my customer. To finish it off, I used a deeper soft terra cotta top mat and silver gray bottom mat, both black core to gently coordinate with Sooty’s eyeliner and other charcoal trim, and a simple wood frame with a brushed silver finish that captured his fur. You can tell his portrait is still one of my favorites nearly 20 years later. Sooty is even included in the brochure I designed and still use today; click the link below.


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Sooty 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.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and 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.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop 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

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “A Wonderful Gift”

pastel portrait of cat with flowers

“A Wonderful Gift”, pastel, 12″ x 14″, 2010 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES A CAT has so many connections to other cats or people or circumstances or places, but then this Peaches’s life was intertwined with her rescuer’s before she was even adopted. Sometimes the cat and the person are simply meant to be together.

. . . . . . .

Here’s how Peaches was rescued…

Peaches’ rescue includes a number of mysterious and exciting coincidences. First there was another cat, Wally, who Peaches’ mom was to adopt from her eight-year-old niece as the girl’s parents divorced and Wally couldn’t move with her. When Wally died unexpectedly the niece insisted they find another kitty and in searching found a kitty whose owner was very ill and could no longer care for her. While the ill woman’s name was auspiciously connected with the names of both Peaches’ eventual mom and the soul mate cat she had recently lost, Peaches also looked identical to Wally, and not only had the same birthday as the niece but was also the same age as the niece.

. . . . . . .

I created this portrait in 2010 to be given as a Christmas gift to a special friend. I’m always honored to be trusted with another’s gift, and so happy to be a part of its giving. With this slight distance from the animal’s person I need to be certain the giver has clear materials and knows the person and the animal well in order to be able to portray the animal correctly, and in this case I was given an excellent and meaningful photo, and a touching story.

My customer told me: “She’s the cat of … my closest friend, and she just turned 18. … is going through a lot of stuff right now, her mother is very ill and even though we’ve been saying this for the last few years, it feels as though the end is probably not that far away. Peaches has some mild kidney issues, but is otherwise doing well for her age. When … father died, her then soul mate cat Prince died within days of her father, so even though she’s trying to not give this any energy, she sometimes has a sense that her mother’s death and Peaches’ may be happening in a similar fashion.

“And not that this has anything to do with Peaches, but it gives you an idea of what … is about: Prince was diagnosed with FIP, but lived for fifteen more years post diagnosis. … made a promise to the universe when he was diagnosed that if he beat it, she would start a pet loss support group. She’s been running three pet loss support groups for the county at no charge for the last fifteen years.

“Anyway, it’s why I thought a painting would be a wonderful Christmas gift either way – of course I’m hoping that Peaches will still be with us at Christmas, but even if, God forbid, she’s not, it will still be a perfect present for … .

amaryllis bud.

The amaryllis bud.

“Peaches is … only cat, and they’re very connected. … comes home for lunch each day, and she sits with Peaches in her lap for half an hour or so. It’s her form of meditation. The story behind the photo is pretty amazing. For a period of several months last year, Peaches became very withdrawn, she stopped sleeping with …, and spent most of her time in a guest bedroom. At the time, we thought this was it. Then a friend of … gave her this flower (I think it’s an Amaryllis?), and Peaches became fascinated with it, and would check progress every day. As the flower started to bloom, Peaches ended her phase of withdrawing. I thought it would be a nice starting point for a painting because it will always remind … of the happy time when Peaches became herself again.”

Could there be a more touching story, or a better gift for a friend?

Peaches had the chance to give her human more years of love after she recovered from this, and lived to January 2013.

About the portrait

I typically name the portraits after the names of its subjects, but in this case it might have been a little confusing for others, and emotional for me. You’ve read about my dilute calico Peaches, this kitty dilute tortoiseshell kitty has the name name, but I had recently lost Peaches in October 2010 when I painted this portrait; in fact, I delayed this portrait because of my Peaches’ death, finishing it in December. For that reason I called it “A Wonderful Gift” because of the gift of the subject’s healing, above, and because the portrait was a gift for a special friend.

You can read the progress articles about this portrait to see it in its initial sketch and then in its middle stage, just before the final details in A New Portrait and The New Portrait, Second View. At the final stage of a portrait I add textures where necessary, even out the highlights and shadows, make sure the color palette hasn’t shifted and make sure all subjects are the right shape and proportion. It’s surprising how easily these details can throw things off if I’m not careful, and you can see in comparing the first and second images where things went a bit awry. Up to the final passes for details, I was working over the entire portrait each time, mostly to work out the palette and settle the details of shape and proportion and keeping an overall vision for the portrait.

The most important detail, the sweetest part of the whole image, was Peaches’ face where she has it happily pressed into the flower, her eyes closed, the sunlight shining through the flower petals coloring her fur. That had to be perfect, not photographically so, but in spirit. I enjoyed working many other areas of this portrait, but capturing the gentle shadings and gentle details of her face, her chin and neck and her ear were my favorite part of this portrait.

detail of portrait

Detail of Peaches and amaryllis

I clarified the flowers to see each of the petals, and went back and forth with the shade of pink. I had originally used a brighter pink which was not accurate and was too bright for the painting, so I toned that down with a slightly browner pink. I also shifted the blanket from the original bright blue to more of a teal shade to coordinate with elements in the curtains, which would also be in the person’s room, and the blanket’s highlights are blended so it looks fuzzy and soft. The highlights on the vase had made it look very shiny though it wasn’t, and those extreme reflections were also a little harsh for the soft tone of this portrait, so they got toned down.

But two of my favorite areas were the bare branches outside the window which you can see in the detail of the amaryllis buds, above, and the books on the table next to the window, especially in detail below.

detail of portrait

Detail of portrait, books on the shelf.

A little more about this portrait

“A Wonderful Gift” was the December 2011 kitty in my first Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book because her portrait and the story had a strong connection to Christmas. She is included in my current version, Great Rescues Day Book, but is not featured at a month; the original book had 16 months, this only has 12, so I have the extra four portraits grouped together in the center of the book. This portrait will always be a part of December for me, though.

Note, also, that the plant Peaches is visiting is an amaryllis, grown from a bulb, one of the class of plants that can be highly toxic to cats. Peaches was not a plan nibbler, and it seemed to play such a complete role in her life.

As a greeting card

And I was also thrilled when Peaches’ person approved my publishing of a feline art card bearing Peaches’ portrait and story. Read about the card and find a link to it on Portraits of Animals Marketplace blog. This has inspired me to create a few subsets of my feline art cards, and one of those would be the calicoes and tortoiseshells!


Here is Peaches’s page in Great Rescues:

portrait of cat in day book

Peaches’s page in “Great Rescues Day Book”

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Peaches:

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. ~ Jean Cocteau


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Buster 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.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and 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.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop 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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A Year in Memories, My 2014 Fosters

sketch of six cats

“A Year in Memories: Emeraude, Kennedy, Smokie, Bella, Ernie and Bert”, Brush markers, 9″ x 5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A Year in Memories: Emeraude, Kennedy, Smokie, Bella, Ernie and Bert

It’s been some year with fostering.

We lost Emeraude on February 3.

Kennedy arrived on June 16 and left us on August 6.

Smokie arrived on August 27.

Bella arrived on September 17.

Bert and Ernie arrived on November 26.

Thanks to each one of you who arrived out of the universe and brought your unique gifts and challenges.

Lady Emeraude with 19 years of wisdom and wear and tear, we were glad to give you a few months of being the absolute star of the household and our purrs and energy when you were ill, and to grieve you when you left. We know you were happy. You radiated happiness. We still feel it where you slept. We will never forget you.

Kennedy, our brother, we recognized you the moment we saw you, and though you only had weeks left in your journey we were glad you made it before your travels were over. You belonged here, and you are a part of this family, the fifth spirit sharing our age and our furs, forever.

Smokie, Bella, Bert and Ernie, with your great need and desire to learn to trust the human and let go of your fears, we are glad to show you how to be happy housecats, how to play and wrestle and love, and cast you on your journey to a long and happy life.

A year from now, who knows?

Just as I finished this sketch and began my post listing the dates above, watching the ball drop in Times Square on my computer just now, I heard the familiar big band Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians’ “Auld Lang Syne” which reminds me of my parents and growing up, followed by Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” which makes me cry no matter what, and by the time Iz Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow” started I was done.

Happy New Year everyone, health and love to us all in the new year, people and cats and dogs and all animals and living things everywhere, all over the earth.

Auld acquaintance shall ne’er be forgot, nor days of auld lang syne.


Click here to see other daily sketches.

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

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Three Years of Daily Sketches, Awards and Collections.

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

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

 


"Feline Style Sampler" book of sketches and portraits.

A collection of 34 images of feline artwork

Feline Style Sampler

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

Click here or on the image to read more

or find this book in my Etsy shop and on Amazon.com.


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

HOME


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