Tag Archives: portraits of animals

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

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Daily Sketch: “Clash of Titans”

sketch of two cats wrestling, vine charcoal, compressed charcoal, white charcoal, black and white conté

“Clash of Titans”, vine charcoal, compressed charcoal, white charcoal, black and white conté on sanguine Canson Mi-tientes pastel paper, 11″ x 8″ © Bernadette E.Kazmarski

The studio wrestling champions, brothers Giuseppe Basil Verdi and Sir Jelly of Bean, engage in the kitchen but it’s all in fun. It started out when Giuseppe said his brother was a dirty mess and needed to be cleaned up and wavered between a bath and a rock ’em sock ’em boxing tournament, then flat out, literally flat out, wrestling, on the cabinet in the middel of the kitchen.  I had such fun watching them wrestle and did a quick light sketch in vine charcoal then later enhanced it with more vine charcoal to blend their movements.

I outlined it in compressed charcoal and then conté when that wasn’t dark enough, and used both white charcoal and then white conté for the highlights I remembered seeing as they threatened each other and acted fierce with they ears pinned back. I needed a mid-range tone of paper to make both the black and white show up, but my pad of this paper has limited darker colors and I wasn’t fond of most of them for this. Then I decided this sanguine tone worked well with the tones in their fur.

. . . . . . .

framed sketch of cats

“Clash of Titans”, pastel and charcoal.

Where to find this artwork

This sketch has been adopted by a loving forever home! Prints of this sketch are available in my Etsy shop.

You can find this artwork printed on paper and canvas in various sizes, giclee as well as digital prints, in my Etsy shop. To find other products and handmade goods bearing this art, search my Etsy shop for the title.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

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

.

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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 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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Daily Sketch: “Blending”

watercolor of cat looking out window

“Blending”, watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Jelly Bean watches out the upstairs window, streaming with winter morning sun. The white light glares and introduces all sorts of colors where they don’t normally appear, in Jelly Bean’s black fur, on the pine tabletop, in the lace curtain.

. . . . . . .

watercolor of cat

“Blending”, watercolor.

Where to find this artwork

I have this artwork available in many different print forms—on paper and canvas and as a highest-quality giclee both smaller and larger than the original, and I also offer a framed print as I had framed the original, seen at left.

Click this link to find all the various prints of this artwork I have in stock in my shop Portraits of Animals on Etsy, and simply search the title, “Blending” to find anything else I might have on hand at the moment (note that you can search only my shop from my shop’s front page, searching from a product or category page will search all of Etsy).

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

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

.


Subscribe to 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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Fifteen Years

pastel painting of the aurora borealis

“Aurora Borealis”, pastel, 18″ x 12″, 2000 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Aurora Borealis”, a sketch I did for an illustration for a book about two polar bears who…I don’t remember the story line, but I do remember checking my voice mail at home while I was at work that last autumn I was at my day job, and listened to the message from the small press publisher who’d found my art online. He had an idea for a book that incorporated text and art, and he liked the style of my pastels and how I treated animals in my paintings, and he also saw that I was a graphic designer and freelanced as a book designer. He wanted me to illustrate and design the book.

That one call was “it”. I had been freelancing full time nights and weekends as well as carrying a schedule of new paintings and art exhibits monthly and was still working full time, but knew the time was near. I could live on what I made from the book publishers and the other customers I had at the time, one of them a home builder who had me create artist’s renderings of his house plans and flyers from that. The art sales were gravy. My office was set up, my car was paid off and the only other debt was my mortgage, money in the bank, health insurance and retirement set up. But was I really ready? I only needed on good nudge. That call was it.

In fact, I suddenly felt a little panic. Had I waited too long? Should I be home right now? Was I missing calls? That was why I checked my voice mail during lunch, but without caller ID, how would I know if someone had called and not left a message? I had to be at home!

January 1 is the anniversary of the day I began working at home and it’s very easy to remember what year I’m celebrating because that day was January 1, 2000. I still remember that first day, going to sit at my desk in the room downstairs even though it wasn’t really a work day. I’d been freelancing and working at that desk in the corner for a few years already, and looking out the two big windows to watch birds at the feeders and observe the neighborhood, my desk and the windowsills lined with my family of felines, happy I’d be sitting still for a while so they could get in a good bath and nap on me and my papers.

I had done the sketch during the evenings while still working, but photographed it to send a print to the publisher on pretty much my first day working at home, along with photographing some other artwork, and some other photos on that same roll…

cat in sunshine

Reference photo for “Warm Winter Sun”.

Look somewhat familiar? Yes, it’s the reference photo for the art that’s in the header for The Creative Cat, “Warm Winter Sun”. Only in January does the light stream all the way into the kitchen like that, not even in December is the light that color. And another photo next to that one…

cat sleeping in sun

“Contentment”, photo of Moses sleeping in the sun.

That’s Moses sleeping in about the same spot as Namir in the other photo, but she had been there earlier. The sun is a little higher on the bookshelf. I remember debating between the two and I had intended to paint both, but only painted Namir. Fifteen years later, I can’t tell you why, but I do know that one of my goals was to focus on photography generally, photograph my cats more often so I had lots of reference photos, and get around to painting them way sooner than before, like paint them as soon as I got the photos back. And so I did, because instead of waiting a decade as I had with other photos I entered the painting of Namir and won Best Pastel in South Hills Art League’s 2000 Annual Juried Show. I’ve sold framed prints of the photo of Moses, but I think this spring I’ll paint the one this photo and we’ll see what 15 years of experience in painting has done to my style.

Another photo on that roll…

tortie cat on back

Reference image for “The Goddess” linoleum block print.

Yes, Cookie really did lie about on her back like this, and I decided to take her photo. The image stayed with me, and a little later that year I suddenly visualized the hand-colored block print you’ll see by clicking on this link. I decided making a block print, something I could reproduce but was still an “original”, would be ideal for donating to shelter events and to sell at animals events I attended, and so it was. I didn’t get to do it right away but waited until 2001 when I had the time and the idea for a set including “The Roundest Eyes”.

And also because my brother had suffered a traumatic brain injury in April 2000 and became my responsibility as he moved through his recovery, and then my mother developed lung cancer and had surgery and barely recovered, both of them incapacitated with multiple medical conditions and in care for the next decade as I was legal guardian for my mother and POA and representative for my brother. We never know what will happen to change our plans, and those two medical emergencies certainly changed the business plan and list of objectives I had spent a decade determining.

But my felines were there for me, unconditionally, at the end of a long day at the computer; below, my desk in summer 2006 featuring Stanley curled next to Sophie, Kelly bathing, Namir and Cookie curled in front of me and Peaches having a good scratch on the file cabinet, six cats and not one of them black….

desk with six cats

Desk with six cats, taken in 2006, but typical of my desk at any given time.

…or an all night project, or when I came home from a long day at one hospital or another, or a day of doctor appointments.

It’s 3:00 a.m., do you know where your human is?

Over the years my customers and work projects have evolved as has my family of felines, though lying all over my desk never went out of style, even in the wee hours when I was up with a project as in the photo above from 2010 with Peaches on a box, Mimi on the windowsill, Dickie on my desk, Cookie having a good bath right in front of me, and Giuseppe  on the right. It really was 3:00 a.m.—there were plenty of times in my mother’s last years that I was off at a hospital unexpectedly for hours to see to her care that I just worked whenever I could, and my cats took it all in stride.

And yes, Stanley and Moses and Cookie and Sophie and Namir and Kelly and Nikka were very glad I just quit going to work one day, and we’ve never looked back. I’m so glad I was home for their last years.

Yesterday I repaired the keyboard shelf on this desk and I remembered that, including the time I’d spent freelancing in the 1990s, I’d been working in this same corner of the room for 20 years and at this desk for 15, and as much as I love the views out the windows, the convenience to the kitchen and outdoors and all the memories, I was really tired of that spot! When my keyboard shelf fell off my desk a few months ago, rendering it unusable for me because of where I need to have my keyboard positioned to avoid repetitive motion strain injuries, I temporarily abandoned the desk and set up shop in my studio, and currently do nearly all my work up there, design as well as art. But that would not be permanent, I am simply pleased now to have two computers networked and two equally suited workstations.

But I also enjoyed the change in scenery and found the room conducive to writing as well, and began moving more and more of my work up to my studio. As my work has included more fine art, writing and creating gift items and less commercial graphic design, I’ve been spending more time in the studio and enjoying every minute. For many years it was the “spare kitty room”, holding many memories of sitting in that room and looking out that window while trying to tame or comfort or treat a rescued cat, and may still serve that purpose again if it’s ever necessary, but I think I’ve moved that operation to the bathroom for now. I think my family of felines appreciates the change in scenery too, or they just like to make sure I am properly supervised as you see Jelly Bean, Mewsette, Giuseppe, Sunshine and Cookie on the chair.

five cats in studio

The Curious Quartet joins Cookie in getting ready for a day of work.

Many things changed in my commercial art life even from just last year, the printers I use, the projects I work on, and things changed in my art life too as I’ve loosened up and feel much more free in my work through the practice of my daily sketches, and I’m looking for more opportunities to market and sell my art and merchandise. I’ve also continued to find more places to publish my articles and stories.

When I talk to students about being self-employed I tell them two things I’m sure they don’t listen to: learning to run a business is more important to performing your skill, and expect everything to change on a regular basis.

You can read more about my background in my 13-year anniversary post from a previous year and about my education in my ten-year anniversary post and on my About page. Also visit my blog What’s New in Bernadette’s Studio? to see current commercial projects and visit my main website in Graphic Design and Illustration to see projects by product and by customer.

 


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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 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

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January Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: “Rolling Around”

"Rolling Around", black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5" x 7.5" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Rolling Around”, black pastel pencil and white charcoal pencil on blue Canson paper, 10.5″ x 7.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been planning on using this art as a winter month desktop calendar for quite some time, and I’m so glad the time has finally come around!

Here is what I said about it when I posted it as a daily sketch on October 12, 2013:

Giuseppe was having a really good roll around on the floor, for no apparent reason except that it made him happy. I think we should all do that each day!

This was another fun attempt to follow a moving target with my eyes while drawing with my hand and not looking at the paper.

Even though the time of the original sketch was October and Giuseppe was rolling around on the floor, the blue background, the simple black and white, just make me think of Giuseppe on the bed, rolling around in preparation for a long afternoon’s nap on a quiet, snowy winter afternoon. Enjoy!

. . . . . . .

"Rolling Around" framed.

“Rolling Around” framed.

Where to find this artwork

You can find this artwork printed on paper and canvas in various sizes, giclee as well as digital prints, in my Etsy shop. To find other products and handmade goods bearing this art, search my Etsy shop for the title.

 

 


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

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

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

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

“Rolling Around” desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Fine Art and Portraiture on my main website.

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

.


Subscribe to 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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November Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar: “After Dinner Nap”

pastel painting of cat on table

“After Dinner Nap”, pastel on Hahnemuhle sanded watercolor paper, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The face that launched a thousand portraits,” my Stanley, the feline mascot of my business, appearing on my business card and brochure cover.

Bright sunshine on anything will catch my eye, especially when it’s illuminating one of my cats. During the late winter, the sun shone in at just the right angle for my Stanley to take a comfortable nap right after eating and the obligatory bath. The combination of his sleepy expression and the glare of the sun on his (sparkling) white chest and paws and the angle of the shadows, a daily visual treat for me, became a pleasurable subject for me to draw.

detail of painting

Just Stanley

This portrait changed my world, as an artist and in my career. The day I finished this portrait in 1997, I knew I had reached a higher level of skill as an artist and a deeper level of visualization combined with that skill that goes way beyond reproducing what I see, very far into what I feel. I marvel now at how I applied and blended the pastels, the colors I used, to create this image so full of different kinds of light. I knew what I saw, but how to draw that? Stanley was a classic tabby with big black swirls on his sides and just bits of a warm tan to warm gold between, and then the brilliant sunlight shone on his fur and also reflected up from the pine table.

detail of painting

Light and shadow on Stanley’s side

Stanley was a difficult soul, but his real personality was sweet, fun, silly and relaxed, and for all his issues I loved him completely. He had been abused and traumatized before he was dumped outdoors and just showed up on my porch one day, friendly and talkative, trying to get into my car with me when I left for work in the morning and wondering why I didn’t just let him in the door when I came home—I initially thought he was a girl kitty in heat trying to court little Allegro inside who had just achieved the age of knowledge and been neutered, and I actually posted “found cat” signs.

It was two full weeks before I “got it”, and poor kitty had to go and stand in a November ice storm and let ice crystals collect on his fur before I just opened the door and said “come on”. And I did just let him in, this being the early days of rescuing for me, 1986, when I knew little of socializing cats or feline contagious illnesses. I had four cats and I really didn’t want any more, but what else was there to do when this pretty kitty crouched, shivering, perfect white paws tucked under his white chest, the perfect white diamond between his eyes and the little snip of white on the end of his nose, with ice pellets building up on his back and the top of his head, looking at me with those big green eyes? I named him Stanley for the number of relatives named Stanislaus on both sides of my family, but had to Americanize it so others not of East European ethnicity could spell it.

detail of painting

Detail of Stanley’s face

I look at the composition now with so much of the background in it, and realize I loved the light in the background as much as the light on the subject. The walls are white, yet the reflected sun casts many, many colors on them.

detail of painting

Detail of the wall.

And I always laugh and say “that’s why we have art” when I think of how much household stuff I removed from the original to get to the essence of the scene.

tabby cat on the table

Stanley on the table, the reference photo for “After Dinner Nap”.

He suffered from male cat urinary tract disorders and blocked several times, having a lot of difficulty and pain in between, in the years before much was available for care. It was obvious he’d been literally kicked and repeated the memory of the trauma whenever his condition flared up. He actually bit my wrist pretty badly during one incident, and he marked everything in my home all 21 years he was with me, walls, furniture, computers, everything, but I just moved things and covered other things and tried every medication and flower essence and alternative treatment I could find.

Because most of his moments were wonderful. In this scene, the after dinner nap he enjoyed just about every day, I found that part of him, and that part of me, and got it onto the paper. It’s been magic since then with my art, not just with my portraits and other animal artwork, but with all my artwork. I may have arrived at that point as an artist eventually, but it was my deep feeling for Stanley that delivered me to the door, which I had only to open.

Anyone who knows my beginnings in this business understands why Stanley’s portrait watches over what I do. Years ago, I was wondering what to do with the artwork I kept producing. Selling originals isn’t all that easy, but there aren’t too many other opportunities available for getting your artwork “out there” in front of people who will appreciate it.

And I knew I had to share this image, so decided right then that I’d create the four images I was visualizing of “my cats in the sun”, and this became my first set of color notecards, and my first offering of high-quality prints of my artwork. You’ll find those notecards and the corresponding prints in my marketplace on the Feline Notecards page and in my Etsy shop.

When high-quality photography became available to make gicleé reproductions of my artwork, this painting was the first I had done, and have always offered various prints of it. The original painting is sold to a friend who understands its meaning to me, but I also offer the highest quality gicleé prints as well as digital prints, canvas prints and mousepads in my Etsy shop.

Stanley was with me for 21 years, and considering that he was an adult when he arrived on my porch of his own accord, that meant he was nearing the quarter-century mark when he died in 2007, inspiring until the end as I was photographing and sketching him until his final month.

Where to find this artwork

You can find giclee, digital and canvas prints as well as mousepads and the occasional keepsake box and other handmade item featuring Stanley in my Etsy shop.

Read more posts about Stanley, and art and photos featuring him.


This month’s desktop calendar

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Looking at the downloads from previous months and averaging out which dimensions fit which devices, I have reduced the number of variations from 12 to three. It was very time-consuming to create all the variations with new devices arriving all the time, so I have one for horizontal monitors/screens, one for square monitors/screens, and one that should fit the dimensions of nearly all mobile devices.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

 

How to download and use your desktop calendar

  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.

Horizontal and HD monitors and screens

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar for HD and wide screens.

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors.

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors.

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets

"After Dinner Nap" desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

“After Dinner Nap” desktop calendar, for 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers

Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones

"After Dinner Nap desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

“After Dinner Nap desktop calendar for 480 x 854 for mobile devices

 


Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.


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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National Cat Day Specials!

portraits of animals on etsy

Only a dozen of the cat gift items available in my Etsy shop–there are dozens more!

Above, CAT GIFT ITEMS: keepsake boxes, mouse pads, wood-mounted art, garden flags, hand-printed textiles and more that isn’t even pictured here.

Well, we think every day is National Cat Day, but there really is a designated day—today, October 29! Because most of the feline-themed things I make and sell are based on my own feline family through the years, I owe them quite a bit for all that inspiration and assistance. I do my best to keep them happy, healthy and entertained, and you see the rewards every day here on The Creative Cat.

Below, CAT ART AND PRINTS: My Etsy cat art and prints gallery contains everything from large original paintings, original daily sketches and a variety of prints on paper and canvas—check within each listing to see what is available for each image .

portraits of animals on etsy

Art and prints available, from original paintings and daily sketches to a variety of prints on paper and canvas.

To celebrate this day devoted to cats, I have a discount of 25% off anything in my Etsy shop using the coupon code NATIONALCATDAY! Choose from original art and prints, gift items, greeting cards and gift certificates.

Below, CAT GREETING CARDS: Feline Art Cards, Animal Sympathy Cards, Valentines, Halloween Cards, Christmas and Winter Holiday Cards, all-purpose greeting cards and  small note cards, commercially printed or hand-printed, all sold individually or in sets.

portraits of animals on etsy

A small selection of the hundreds of cards I offer individually and in sets.

Because one day just isn’t enough to enjoy a sale like this, the coupon code is good through midnight on Friday, October 31, so you can hand out your Halloween candy and still get a great deal on art or gift items you may have been considering for a while, or start your holiday shopping now and look for items you’d like to give as a gift.

Below, SHOP FRONT PAGE: I add and renew items each day, so things change frequently, and don’t forget to browse my other galleries of dogs, wildlife and landscapes, florals, waterscapes and more.

portraits of animals on etsy

The front page of my Etsy shop–it changes all the time!

And because Etsy coupons can’t be limited to a certain item or group of items, they apply to the entire shop, and you can purchase non-feline art and merchandise as well—though my fine felines don’t understand why you’d want to do that! I also have canine art, wildlife art, and landscape paintings and gift items.


black cat watching

Mimi watching me cut out her silhouette.

Marketplace

Mimi sits on my lap to supervise me trimming her silhouette from a piece of black paper for Curving Silhouette.

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.

Donations

I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

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

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

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

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


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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

HOME


The TNR Story Print or Poster

marker illustration of 63 cats

“The TNR Story”, 8″ x 14″, Sharpie markers © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The TNR Story”

63 spayed and neutered cats in two paragraphs of cat shapes

“and no one ever had any more kittens, and they all lived happily ever after.”

THE END

CWA Certificate of Excellence badge.

CWA Certificate of Excellence badge.

This art was inspired by working in post op at the May Homeless Cat Management Team TNR clinic. I’m pleased to say that it won a Certificate of Excellence for Illustration in the Cat Writers’ Association annual communications contest this year, and is therefore in the running for a Muse Medallion. I would say the cats at this clinic were certainly muses for me!

I study cats all the time but it’s not too often I get to handle that many cats, especially when they are still pretty much under anesthetic, aside from a few ambitious ones. Cat after cat, large and small, male and female, solid, striped spotted, I cleaned ears and checked toes and combed fur for fleas and other parasites and finished off their ear tips, applied flea treatment and in passing studied their fur and their markings.

In that state they all look pretty much the same as far as where they came from and where they will be returned, whether it’s to a human and a loving home or to a human and a parking lot where they’ll be fed and watched over by a colony caretaker, regardless of whether their paperwork says they are stray or feral or owned by a caring human, at that moment, as I always say, they are all just cats.

All the fur colors and patterns and textures, the way they felt as I handled them, each of them soft and warm and relaxed, and then later as they awoke in recovery and began to get up and bathe a little and find a comfortable spot and position in their carrier or trap, stayed with me and I envisioned this artwork as I drove home, all those cat shapes together in simple marker sketches, simple colors, clearly visual, telling the story of TNR.

I began to plan it out that evening, but especially since it’s far from my usual daily sketch I knew it would take extra time. The idea stayed with me and each day after I worked out a few more details of medium, style, the actual shapes of all the kitties and how I’d represent their spots.

I decided I’d do it for “Just One Day” day, June 11, when shelters are encouraged to stop any voluntary euthanasia for just one day and instead photograph and actively promote the animals in their care for adoption, making the United States a no-kill nation for just that one day. Spaying and neutering companion animals regardless of whether or not they are actually a pet is a big part of reducing the amount of killing that happens in shelters, both by reducing populations being born and populations living on the streets by removing kittens and rescuing friendly cats for adoption, and by keeping these cats, considered unadoptable, out of shelters altogether.

We served 63 cats at the May 25 clinic, so there are 63 little cats in the art. I don’t know if the balance of coat colors and patterns and fur types and sizes represent what was actually there, but I let the choices rise from my subconscious so it’s no doubt in part from memory and in part from my design sense of a visually interesting layout of colors and shapes. I tried to capture each cat in a very simple representation so they were seen as a group, the way I remembered them all.

I also intentionally kept the colors limited. In part that’s the way I visualized it and I honor those visualizations. Each cat is outlined in black and the coat patterns and colors, built from a light orange and a dark orange and a gray to shade the black. As I continued to visualize I decided it could also easily be reproduced by screen printing so I planned it out with clear edges that could be easily color separated.

I had planned how I would draw the grid of cat shapes and laid out a physical grid in pencil on a piece of semi-transparent layout bond way back on clinic day, leaving space top and bottom for the text, then spent the intervening time thinking about cat shapes and how I’d represent the stripes and spots and such, letting the layout of colors and patterns work itself out in my mind. I watched my cats in sleep and at rest to derive the positions of the cats and drew a little cat shape in pencil inside each of the blocks where a cat would appear. I then laid another sheet of the layout bond over top and began coloring them in starting with the lighter orange and determining which would stay solid light orange and which would have stripes and which would have spots—and which would become dilute calico and dilute tortoiseshell—then moving to the light blue to represent the gray and dilute kitties, adding black stripes to some and building tuxedo cats and cow spotted cats and tortoiseshell cats and even a few Siamese-patterned cats, outlining them after finishing each coat pattern.

I actually used my set of colored Sharpie markers for this because it gave me the line quality I wanted, but I didn’t have a gray marker the right shade in any of my marker sets. I used a light blue intending to desaturate it in Photoshop after I’d scanned the art so that the blue appeared gray, which I did but I decided I really liked it better with the original light blue. Gray cats do have a bluish cast, and it simply looks more colorful and eye-catching with the blue, plus blue and orange are color complements and I think that visual is at work here as well.

I’d love to screen print this art just for the sake of screen printing, but for now I am offering this print as an archival digital print and as a poster on a lighter weight non-archival poster board. I was glad to share this inspiration for Just One Day” and now for Feral Cat Day we can still work to reduce the numbers of animals killed in shelters every day.

You can purchase this poster in my Etsy shop.

. . . . . . .

Another Opportunity to Donate With Purchase

sketch of black cat

“Kennedy”, white and black charcoal on gray toned paper, 5″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

If it hadn’t been for an organized group of rescuers Kennedy would never have found his way to my home. He would never have been rescued, and I would never have known him and been able to share him with you. Now that he is gone and the original will soon be on its way to Australia, I’m offering prints of the sketch and your opportunity to make a donation of $5.00 with each print purchased to the cat rescue I work with, Pittsburgh CAT, or to the Homeless Cat Management Team to help spay and neuter more cats so there won’t be so many to rescue.

I’m sure Kennedy is familiar to you now if you’ve been reading The Creative Cat, but if not you can read about this sketch when I first posted it, and the auction of the sketch to raise donations for his care, and read all the articles about Kennedy from when he arrived on June 16, 2014. Visit the post about the donations to learn more about the sketches and the donations.

You can find this print for sale in my Etsy shop.


black cat on floor

Kennedy looks up at me, sitting behind my chair.

Marketplace

Kennedy sits behind my chair in the studio to make sure I stay focused on my work.

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.

Donations

I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

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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It’s Almost Time for Meow-lo-ween, and Madame Mewsette and the Three Witches!

halloween black cat decorations

Happy Meow-lo-ween!

halloween design featuring four black cats

“Happy Meow-lo-ween from The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse!”

As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better to do with a family of five black cats during the festive Halloween season?

This sketch from Halloween night in 2012 as I handed out my candy and all the knocking got to be a bit much for these four was destined to be a Halloween design. I put together my desktop calendars, but when I designed the card the sketch needed a little something extra so I drew a pumpkin to add to the design.

You can find Happy Meow-lo-ween! in my Etsy shop as a single card and as a half dozen and I offer it with either a white or an orange envelope. Other quantities are available as well, and this card assorts with all other cards.

"Happy Meow-lo-ween" design.

“Happy Meow-lo-ween” garden flag.

Happy Meow-lo-ween Garden Flag

In addition, I’ve printed a Halloween garden flag in the same design. 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. Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s the same design back to back. 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.

You can find the Happy Meow-lo-ween garden flag in my Etsy shop.

Other Halloween cards featuring cats you know

As you’ll see below, the photos in the designs below are from my posting last year on October 31 as well as the one from October 30. In addition, three other designs include photos which appeared on The Creative Cat or one one of my other blogs. From the time I took the photo and when I posted it somewhere on one of my blogs and received the feedback about it, I’ve held onto a creative idea for those images: Halloween cards!

I don’t like to associate black cats with Halloween for various reasons so I actually tried to avoid this, but from the combination of looking at cards in shops whenever I get the chance, and currently compiling my holiday cards to post for sale this autumn and winter, I decided I really did want to create a few Halloween cards this year—especially when my generous felines gave me these first two images which were completely unposed—I got out the pumpkins, but my black cats organized the creative compositions!

And it’s never a bad thing to have cats of any color or pattern on a greeting card for any holiday. I so love to see my cats in my design work and share them with others.

You can find them in my Etsy shop as individuals (click each image for a direct link) and as a set of six, but also enjoy the stories of how these images became greeting cards. All cards come with the option of either a white or an orange envelope.

Madame Mewsette Will Tell Your For-tuna
Halloween greeting card

Madame Mewsette will tell your For-tuna

This card, “Madame Mewsette Will Tell Your For-tuna” features Miss Mewsette, who has a strong sense of the dramatic and arranged herself in this living still life, then looked at me as I walked through the room at night, probably preparing dinner. Where’s my camera?! And my tripod for this one, a difficult shot with the lamp contrasting with the very dark areas around, but Mewsette was patient. Here is what I included in the post adapted to the back of the card:

This is what Mewsette is dressed up as to celebrate this evening’s events. And she didn’t even have to put on one embarrassing garment or accessory.

When I attended Catholic grade school, we were to dress up as our patron saint for All Hallow’s Eve, and dressing up as St. Bernadette was pretty easy for me as I already tended to wear peasant-style clothing and St. Bernadette didn’t suffer any dire injuries or horrible torture like some of the other saints, she just lived to be very old, despite Lourdes.

Well, I think Mewsette is dressed up as one of her patron kitties—she is quiet and introspective, unlike her brothers, and I can just see her in the role of a familiar or a gypsy fortune-teller!

Enter: Three WITCHES
Halloween greeting card

Enter: Three WITCHES

This card, “Enter: Three WITCHES” features Miss Mewsette, her mom Mimi and her brother Giuseppe.

This image was taken on the same night as the one above, as Mewsette was joined by her mom and brother. Dinner was late as it was much more important to get all the photos I possibly could while they arranged themselves!

I majored in English in college and still keep my books around and still read Shakespeare. The text from MacBeth came to me as I looked at them gathered together around the lamp—I remember I couldn’t wait to post the photo and share the idea! Here’s what I posted with the photo and placed on the back of the card.

Guess the kids have been getting into my literature textbooks again. I thought my Riverside Shakespeare was too heavy for them, but there is no getting in the way of a determined reader. Now that they’ve mastered Act 1, Scene 1 of MacBeth, I can’t wait to see how they interpret Scene 2.

Maybe reading to them as kittens really did work.

Actually, Mimi, Mewsette and Giuseppe were gathered around the lamp “to keep warm” as they said, because the temperature was all of about 65 degrees. Time to get out the cozy beds!

Boo!
halloween card with black cat

“Boo!” featuring Lucy.

This card, “Boo!”, features Lucy from a photo I took in early summer 2007. Sadly, I lost Lucy to FIP when she was 15 months old so she never had the chance to develop her career as all my other cats have, so I love to use her image in a creative endeavor whenever possible. It’s my way of remembering and honoring my relationships with my cats, no matter how short or long they may have been.

When I took this photo of her next to the orange paper lamp most of my greeting cards were just a vague idea of something to be done in the future, and I dreamed of various other products like tote bags and woven blankets and all the other things I’m finally getting around to creating. I knew some day I’d want to use this photo as a Halloween or fall-themed image either as a card or another product, not the least because I knew I’d be losing Lucy sometime soon after it was taken. I kept this photo in mind all this time and, finally, here she is.

I Dare You
Halloween card

“I Dare You!”

This card, “I Dare You”, features my next-door neighbor’s calico cat, who could have a bit of an attitude as you can see by her expression, but I enjoyed her visits for the brief time they let her outside.

She had unique markings—her face, legs and tail are calico including white paws, but her torso is tortoiseshell. Even though she’s not my cat I loved this photo generally as her colors and random markings blended with the random leaves in the grass as well as the way the vibrant green and bright orange enhance each other. Her expression just makes it all the better.

I had actually posted her on The Creative Cat because the neighbors were moving and for a while were concerned that they couldn’t keep her indoors with two young children going in and out all the time. Apparently they worked that out since she’s doing fine in their new home.

Silhouettes
halloween card

“Silhouettes”

This card features the big yellow Harvest Moon I photographed in September 2011, and the silhouettes of two of my five black cats in a wordless design that actually can be used even outside of Halloween.

I’ve photographed nearly every full moon this year and post the images on my daily photo blog, Today. I wanted to incorporate this year’s Harvest Moon in at least one design, initially working with a photo where they sky was somewhat blue intending to use the cat images as a dark silhouette, but I just didn’t like the way it looked and so used one of the later shots where the sky was solid black, coordinating the color of the silhouetted cats to match the pale orange of the moon, light against dark instead of dark against light.

This image I used for the silhouettes is of Jelly Bean and Mimi looking out the front window where I often catch those silhouettes of two and three and four cats in the morning, but I never posted this one, possibly because there were several others I posted in the beginning of January 2011 when this was taken. My original idea was also to have several cats in silhouette possibly looking up at the moon or simply sitting with tails dangling hanging out as buddies, but I liked the pose and the more romantic idea this brought to the card; in every project there is space for change and development from what I first intended, and this is one example of that. I also adapted this card in red for Valentine’s Day.

We Three Pumpkins
halloween cards

We Three Pumpkins

This card, “We Three Pumpkins”, features my photos of jack-o-lanterns taken at the annual Night Walk on the Panhandle Trail. The Rennerdale Youth Group carves more than 100 pumpkins donated by Beccaris Farm Market, and the Collier Girl Scouts set out and light the jack-o-lanterns along a half-mile stretch of the Panhandle Trail from the bridge near the Walkers Mill trailhead to the Sunnyside entrance.

I use the trail all the time, volunteer for events as well as manage their website and social networking, and photograph the pumpkins every year seeking out the feline-themed pumpkins especially. When I posted my article about the many purposes of pumpkins this year I decided I wanted to use these photos in something else related to the holiday, so they became one of my cards.

They are all on Etsy

These 5″ x 7″ cards are printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock and include a matching envelope, packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. Cards are blank inside but can be customized with your message (please convo on Etsy). I sell them as individuals and as a set of six—but for this year the set of six will include seven, to include the new design.


Tortie Girls Garden Flags for Halloween too!

garden flags with tortoiseshell cats

“Tortie Girls” garden flags.

The Tortie Girls designs are based on a pair of linoleum block prints I designed in 2001 to show off my two torties’ best features. Typically I print these by hand and hand-color the print, but the size of these flags didn’t accommodate the 9” x 12” original so these are digitally printed from a hand-colored original print which I scanned. Each flag has the same design printed front and back, with a white background on one side and a yellow background on the other. “The Goddess” features Cookie and “The Roundest Eyes” features Kelly.

Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s either “The Goddess” or “The Roundest Eyes” on both sides, one side with a white background and one side with a yellow background.

You can find “The Goddess” garden flag and “The Roundest Eyes” garden flag in my Etsy shop.


And other Tortie Girls items for the season too!

block printed tablecloths with tortoiseshell cats

You really can’t go wrong with tortie girls in any season! Visit this post to read about the fun things I’ve made featuring Cookie and Kelly, or browse the gallery of what’s available in my Etsy shop.


For Christmas, Hanukkah and Winter Seasons

I also offer Christmas, Hanukkah and winter holiday cards and garden flags featuring natural scenes, winter scenes and backyard birds; honestly, winter is my favorite season for art and photography, and I’ll be posting more fully about them in a week or two, but here is a preview.

Since the late 1980s I’ve handmade my holiday cards or designed and printed them from my art, and eventually began offering the designs for sale to others. Then after my exhibit “Winter White” I decided to branch out to offer my artwork from that show, other artwork as well, and then my photos too, and last year designed cards with cats and nature for all the winter holidays.

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”.

Inside card.

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.

Click here to see more samples! or go to my Etsy shop to browse the singles and sets.


Ordering Information

 . . . . . . .

Ordering Single Cards

 You can purchase individual cards from any of my shops, and I will generally mail them them out the same day in first-class mail.

Custom Sets

Right now custom ordering is done by contacting me directly, but all 5″ x 7″ cards in my Etsy shop and on my websites can be mixed and matched for your own custom set. If you’d like a few regular sympathy cards and a few other cards to complete your order, you can simply list them and send me an email, I’ll return a PayPal invoice. You can choose cards from anywhere on my website or in my Etsy shop.

Wholesale for Animal Professionals

All cards are available for wholesale prices and quantities to animal professionals, and likewise you can also assort all cards for your order. Please contact me for details.


two black cats with sewing machine

Mewsette and Mimi help me stitch the pockets into new garden flags.

Marketplace

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


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

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

HOME

 


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