A Sweet Award

Peaches and Peonies Detail

Peaches and Peonies Detail, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

I was honored and excited to see that “Peaches and Peonies” had won a Certificate of Excellence in the illustration category for my line of feline art cards in the Cat Writer’s Association Annual Communication Contest.

I also won another Certificate in the contest, for my poem “Pawprints and Raindrops” which was published in the April issue of Catnip Chronicles. Kelly is the subject of this poem, and they used “Sunday Morning”, a painting of Moses, as the illustration.

The Cat Writer’s Annual Communication Contest includes self-submitted works in categories from books and articles to websites and cartoons, anything published that includes feline interests as its subject. The Certificates are awarded to works achieved 90 points or above in a scale of 100 as judged by our peers. The entry receiving the highest award in each category wins a Muse Medallion, but this won’t be announced until the Cat Writer’s annual conference in November.

I have also entered Peaches’ image in one of the special award categories focused on senior cats, so we’ll see in November how it goes. I was hesitating to plan for the conference seeing Peaches’ condition as we came into the autumn, but now I can consider it.

Many thanks for your condolences

I’d like to thank everyone who commented, e-mailed, sent e-cards or whatever else you’ve done to let me know you care. Every message is another step to healing, and I’m sure Peaches is off somewhere knowing she deserves the memories. Because she came to me as a senior I knew our time would be brief, but still it’s hard to believe she was only with me for five years—we packed a lifetime into those five years. As she slipped into chronic kidney failure this spring and very slowly gave into it, and especially in the past week, she and I had plenty of time to think about what life would be like without her here and I used these many late nights to convince myself to face this reality. I have the wisdom of the twelve cats who’ve crossed the Bridge before Peaches and who taught me to accept it by preparing myself because they wanted their last moments with me to be moments of joy, not pain, and they didn’t want to see me suffering any more than I would see them suffer. I actually feel Peaches’ elation at being freed of the body that was holding her back.

So for now, and for always, I will remember her in that moment of inspiration that became her portrait, pretty, petite, and simply going about her daily routine.

Future articles

I have had a number of articles in the works for September and October, but Peaches’ constantly changing condition was my priority in the past two months and I was hard pressed to even write the articles about her that I had planned. When she began to refuse food last weekend, I knew her time was imminent and was writing an article about “how you know” and how to prepare yourself. I thought we had a few more days, but with a kitty the size and age of Peaches, changes happen quickly. She was fully in charge and knew exactly what to do and where to go, and I only followed along to support her. I will finish this article with a slightly different ending than I had thought, but I will take a little more time with it.

I will also finish off the other articles I have on hand—I have three portrait commissions right now and some artwork I’ve been planning, I had word that the subject of a portrait I’d done years ago has crossed the Bridge and I’d like to tell you about her, and a friend’s cat is approaching a critical state with his heart condition. I also have information on processing your own pumpkin for your pets, and about getting out your feeders for your backyard birds as well as saving vegetable seeds to feed to them through the winter. And for Halloween, some stories of feline visits.

As I’ve traveled around to shows and festivals this year, I’ve found some truly unique handmade feline-oriented merchandise inspired by actual kitties just as my work is, and I’ll be writing up these stories and providing links on where to find the goods.

I also have lots of feline photos, including many of Peaches looking darned good in her last few days, and the Gang of Four, and sometimes their mom, complaining about the drop in temperatures.


5 Comments on “A Sweet Award”

  1. […] learned that “Peaches and Peonies” had won a Certificate of Excellence as a Single Illustration used as a greeting card in the Cat Writers’ Association annual communications contest two days […]

  2. Cindy says:

    this little tortie looks like my scooter… Sorry I dont have a pic to post.
    Shes 15, but livelier than ever.. I followed one of the members on here as she is older and needs more fibre. Try pumpkin pie filling for your older kitties.

    • animalartist says:

      Cindy,

      I’m glad she’s lively–Peaches came to me at age 15 and started a whole new life! Post a picture of Scooter when you get a chance. Funny you should mention pumpkin–I wrote another article on here about using it for bowel issues and how to roast and puree your own (https://portraitsofanimals.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/pumpkin-pumpkin-pumpkin/). In her last year, Peaches couldn’t eat enough for it to work for her, though she got as much as she could eat. Don’t use the pie filling though–it has sugar in it, enough to cause a problem with regular consumption, especially in an older cat, and it also has spices, which probably aren’t harmful but some cats don’t like them. Just regular old canned pumpkin is what’s recommended. Visit again!

  3. I HAVE CAT says:

    That painting is stunning Bernadette. Take time for yourself if you need it. So happy for all your well-deserved recognition 🙂 xoxoxoxoxox

  4. curator says:

    I send you so much sympathy and affection in the loss of Peaches… she is free, but it is so very hard to miss a loved creature. May you take great comfort in memories of her.


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