Tag Archives: watercolor of cat

“Interior With Cat”, Framed Original or Prints

watercolor of flowers and cat

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

reference photo for painting

Reference photo for painting.

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

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

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

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

watercolor of flowers

Detail of cloth, calendula and pots.

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

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

detail of watercolor

Detail of glass vase with marbles.

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

watercolor of flowers and cat

Detail of Sophie looking out the door.

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

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

I hope you enjoy your February image!

Original, prints, cards and merchandise

"Interior With Cat" framed.

“Interior With Cat” framed.

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

I also have it available as a full-size 8 x 12 print or an 8 x 10 print that will fit in a premade frame by trimming a bit off the top of the image in a digital print, a giclee print and a canvas print. Visit this product in my Etsy shop to see all the possibilities.

“Interior With Cat” is also one of the images included in my  Feline Greetings Art Cards as a 5 x 7 image.


The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.

I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.


Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original.

The giclees have 2″ of white around the outside edges. The 5″ x 7″ and 8″ x 10″ digital prints are centered on 8.5″ x 11″ digital cover while the 11″ x 14″ has 1″ around the edges because the digital paper is 12″ wide. All are countersigned by me.


I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas is white on the sides.

And I will soon have keepsake boxes and wall-mounted art in this design.

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

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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

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

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



Commissioned Portrait: Holly on the Rocker, a Portrait I Couldn’t Resist

watercolor portrait of cat on rocker in victorian room

Holly on the Rocker, watercolor, 8″ x 12″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

Holly is a congenial little calico who greets you at the door and knows she’s the center of attention. On the back of the rocker Holly is accessible to everyone who walks through the room and can see most of the first floor of the house.

You can read about Holly’s rescue in yesterday’s story, A Great Rescue: Holly and a little about Holly herself and her rescuers. Holly’s mom and dad are friends of mine and long-time cat rescuers as I described in the story “A Bridge Between the Ages”.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of Holly.

The scene of this portrait is pretty much what I was looking at when I visited one bright winter afternoon, and while my portraits usually feature the animal subject pr0minently in this case I wanted to capture the colorful and beautiful, warm and welcoming feel of their home where the cats go where they please despite all the pretty stuff.

And I decided that I wanted to paint this as a watercolor instead of my usual pastel, I simply visualized it that way in the moment. I remember thinking, “Neat watercolor….I should probably take some pictures…” I showed the photos to Judi and asked her if she’d mind if I painted from one of them—I’m always sensitive about the interiors of peoples’ homes—and she said that was fine with her and she’d probably be interested in the painting too.

So the scene was pretty much as you see. I was excited at the challenge of the window and the footstool as well as Holly. I used a watercolor block instead of a free sheet of watercolor paper, and the sheets are all attached around the edges and stay fairly flat. The block of paper I have is 9″ x 12″, perfect for the smaller size I wanted to paint.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of rocker and footstool.

I’ve always been a little uncertain with watercolor and usually traced the scene in this way to make sure I could keep things in perspective (that was why it was such a big deal when I painted “Lazy Saturday Afternoon” without pencil lines, it took a lot of practice). I enlarged the photo to the size of the paper and, covering the back of the paper with the side of the pencil lead, I placed the sheet on top of the watercolor pad and lightly traced the outlines of the image from the printout so that the lead would transfer from the back of my printout to the watercolor paper. There’s always a danger of actually impressing the paper with a dent from the pencil which gets in the way of painting, so this step has to go easy. I also don’t always want the traced pencil lines and in this case I was sure I didn’t because the details were so fine. Tracing lightly not only doesn’t impress the surface of the paper, it also just leaves a faint pencil line which is easy to paint over or erase.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of windows.

Then to choose the colors and techniques. I lightly painted over each area in a base wash of color to block it off, erasing pencil lines where the colors would be light enough to see them. Generally with watercolor, unlike pastel where I nearly always use a colored paper and work the white back into the area for greater depth, the watercolor paper is white, and anything pure white in the painting is not painted at all, and believe it or not it was difficult to remember not to paint Holly. And even though I enjoy working out animal fur in pastel I was looking forward to her clear calico markings done with a brush and liquid.

The chair is upholstered in velvet and that texture is a natural for pastel and I’ve done plenty of wood tones in pastel, and it was exciting to translate my usual methods from a medium I’m so accustomed to into watercolor. This can be confusing, visualizing one thing but accustomed to creating it in a totally different method! Once I had practiced a bit and was accustomed to the techniques of layering colors to mix and blend and simply deepen with each successive layer, then washing off areas for soft blends and highlights, I was glad for my narrow liner brushes when it came to Holly’s markings, the flowers on the footstool, the lead in the window and the shadows on the door at right.

detail of watercolor painting of cat

Detail of the tree and the door.

One thing I’m a little disappointed in with the reproduction is the right-hand window next to the stained glass window. It’s a plain glass window behind a mini-blind with lots of light coming through, and I carefully painted the shadow of each horizontal slat. You can see a trace of them, but I don’t think you get the feel of the blind. The only reason I mention it is I decided to paint the blind because I felt that area needed a pattern to balance the rest of the painting. With the heavy leafy darkness of the ficus tree on the left, the right side needs a pattern as well. But that’s why studying original art is important, while looking at prints is nice.

And to be perfectly honest, I have always wished I had thought change that blue terry hand towel to something more Victorian, a shawl perhaps. I had intended to when I was visualizing, but forgot when it came to transferring the image and didn’t remember until it was pretty much in place. I did try to remove some of the paint in preparation for a change, but the paper started to show too much wear and tear from reworking. But I can live with this!

About Judi and her business(es)…

woman with black and white cat

Judi with Hilda

Judi is a friend of mine and a customer for my business, so visit the website she and I designed and see if anything strikes your fancy, and if you are local to Pittsburgh, visit her shop Carnegie Antiques where I had my little shop in the back room and also the estate sales she sets up and hosts for her customers.

You can see a little more of her lovely home and photos of her cats in “A Bridge Between the Ages”, and you can also see other of her cats in Out in the Garden, one of my favorites, and sweet since the subject, Houdini, is now gone, and Emerson, which I took just a few weeks ago when I checked on him while Judi was out for a long day with an estate sale.

Prints, note cards and more featuring this artwork

I offer a signed digital print of this painting in archival inks on matte-finish cover stock, centered on a sheet at least 11.5″ x 14.5″ so that you can slip it into a frame with an 11″ x 14″ mat. I can always have prints made for you in other sizes or on canvas or other materials, and I can also custom frame your print or custom cut a mat for a frame you already own. Visit my Etsy shop for details about prints. Visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on ordering a custom product.

This image is also available in my set of Feline Greetings Art Cards on Etsy. You can also purchase a single card or a dozen in a box on my website, and I’d be glad to make up a special box for you, just ask.

And I’m currently designing two completely new products with this image and I’m so excited but I have to wait until my trials with them work. Hopefully I’ll be able to share them come April!

You can also find this image at my Fine Art America site

You can also visit my Fine Art America site for other types and sizes of prints of this painting, including canvas and acrylic and matted and frame.

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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Holly is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.


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 from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

Also browse Featured Artwork

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

Featured Artwork

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and at assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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

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


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




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