Daily Sketch: Quickly, Before They Wake

pencil sketch of two cats cuddling

Quickly, Before They Wake, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe and Mewsette spent the day on my desk and I watched as they cuddled, stretched and blocked my view. I’ve already sketched those postures, they are moving too much, I’m in the middle of something…

But when they tucked their heads in together like two commas cuddling, I furtively grabbed my sketchbook and a pencil and quietly but quickly stood up to do a quick sketch of their two faces tucked together; sometimes my movements or even looking at them wakens them, especially as the afternoon draws along and they are thinking of dinner. I did manage to snap a photo as well, but they sensed my vigilance and woke up to look around, shift, and the moment was over.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Kelly With Grapes and Apples

view of cat with server plate and fruits

Another Kelly Still Life.

Kelly is on a roll with these late afternoon baths on the cabinet in front of the window. She is lovely in all her poses, long legs dancing around, tail curving gracefully, her very shape a focal point.

Here I really did try to get one of her similar to Kelly with Squashes and perhaps even Kelly with Apples and Scale, prowling around the kitchen with my camera to get just the right angle. Because it’s not just the shot but what’s in the background and I really didn’t want my crusty ancient refrigerator with all the refrigerator magnets, or the cars parked on the street seen through the window, and the sun had to be shining on the green compote with the fruit, and shadows had to fall across the wood, but mostly Kelly had to be at the right angle to the sun, in one of her interesting and elegant shapes, partly in silhouette and partly illuminated. And the center of my kitchen is dominated by the big white cabinet and a table and chairs so I have a little path and can’t quickly get from here to there to catch Kelly in a classic pose as she twirls or my movements startle her. And then one of the other cats wants in the still life and it all falls apart. So if anyone finds it difficult to get interesting photos of their cat, they are absolutely correct, it’s often nearly impossible, but very much worth it for one good shot.

I couldn’t get the sideways angle I wanted, so I took one from above because the scene was actually quite interesting from my viewpoint. I am not this tall. I held the camera (that big DSLR) above my head, pointed, let it self-focus and hoped for the best. It’s nice.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

 


Did I Hear There Was Milk? 2011

tortoiseshell cat curved in bath

Graceful Kelly

Funny, when I looked at this photo the first thing I thought was, “If I saw Kelly like this today, this would be a daily sketch.” Aha, I see a little farther into this that I was getting the daily sketch urge this far back in 2011, yet it took me until December to actually get around to it. Glad I did. As usual, I have a cat to thank for one of my creative efforts.

Kelly shapes herself into a graceful curve in mid-bath as I open the refrigerator door.

I don’t give my cats milk very often, but Kelly gets on these kicks where she demands it whenever I open the refrigerator door. I don’t usually give it to her, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask because every now and then, on my silly whim, out comes the little milk dish and Kelly gets a treat.

But Kelly is just so pretty here bathing gracefully in front of the plants. In fact, Kelly is graceful no matter what she does.

And I think it may be time for me to grab that sketchbook as often as the camera since I’ve been visualizing sketches and paintings in greater detail every day. I used to sketch something each day, often it was my cats though it might be an interior scene or something in my yard, usually in pencil, but sometimes in other media, just to keep my fingers in the mix. So much has happened in the last few months it’s been difficult to focus on quick sketches, which demand more attention than larger works, though for shorter periods of time.

So I decided to use a little help from PhotoShop to see what Kelly would look like in a rough, impressionistic sketch. I used the same photo as above, applied the “dry brush” filter and made the brush strokes fairly large. But the filters in PhotoShop don’t produce a realistic effect. If I was teaching I would grade the products of PS filters around the mid-range, but then it’s a computer making the decisions, and creative effort is one area of human endeavor where a computer will never produce work as individual and insightful as a human being.

For instance, I work in pastel, but I’ve never seen anyone produce a pastel sketch or painting anything like what PS produces with its “rough pastels” filter, but the “dry brush” filter is somewhat like what I’d visualize in pastel. But it looked a little dull so I also had to fool around with the contrast and brightness, and I also added a 35% deep yellow “photo filter” to warm it up a bit.

Still, I want highlights and deep rich areas, and I want to see orange in Kelly and green in the plants and it just wasn’t happening, even when I went back and adjusted the original photo. I think I’d also take the red from the medallion at the top and from the bricks and add it elsewhere in the painting so everything wasn’t in basic earth tones. Those are the artistic judgments I’d make before I even started, and it never ceases to amaze me how far I wander from my reference images while painting, and yet the finished painting is perfectly acceptable. Guess I’d better get out the pastels. In the time I’d spent on this I could have had a passable sketch done! But still, this gets the little painterly cells firing in my brain. And right now Kelly is over there meowing for her dinner, so I’d better get to it.

Yes, I’d better get to it!

photoshop effect on photo

A painterly version of the same scene.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Pet Parents Day Painting Party Supports WPHS!

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

First of all, HAPPY PET PARENTS DAY this Sunday to all those lucky enough to share their lives with loving animal companions.

Second, celebrate Pet Parents Day AND help the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society with ceramics for the Pittsburgh Pet Parents Day Painting Party! Celebrate your best friend while helping other pets find their forever homes.

As a fundraiser for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, Heal from Pet Loss and Color Me Mine are hosting a painting party on Sunday, April 29 from noon to 6 PM.

color me mine logo

Color Me Mine logo.

Paint a cool food bowl, treat jar, picture frame or memorial plaque for your special animal companion. $15 covers painting and firing time, refreshments, treat bag and a donation to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. There will be a wide range of pieces to choose from to accommodate various price ranges.

Color Me Mine is located at 5887 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15217, Squirrel Hill. Call 412-421-2909 today to reserve your two hour block of time. We may be able to accommodate walk-ins on a space available basis, but pre-register to guarantee your spot!

You are welcome to bring your well-behaved pet and enjoy an outing together.

Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

As part of the fundraiser, Karen Litzinger will be doing a CD signing of the award-winning Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet with profits going to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Consider having one on hand to give as a sympathy gift to a dear animal lover friend or family member.

Karen Litzinger, author of Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet is a sponsor and organizer of this event. I’ve written about her and her wonderful CD several times on The Creative Cat in Heal Your Heart and in A Remarkable CD and Guidebook. Karen’s website is Heal From Pet Loss.

Pet Parents Day was founded by VPI Pet Insurance and this year is offering free e-cards to send to Pet Parents.

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is an open-door shelter on Pittsburgh’s North Side serving over 14,000 animals every year. In addition to providing shelter for every animal presented regardless of how it arrived, they provide low-cost spay and neuter and veterinary clinic services, dog training and owner education for any animal parent, humane investigations of animal abuse and cruelty cases, pet loss counseling groups and fun events of all sorts for animals and the people who love them. I donate to them and write about them regularly; read about them here on The Creative Cat.

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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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Tortie Girls Block Prints in Black with Red

block print in black ink with red mat

The Roundest Eyes, black ink in rice paper, red mat, black frame, 12" x 16"

What enchanted me first about block prints, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors and types and even prints of paper, the black on white is what I usually return to.

Even when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed. When I initially print them they are that familiar black on white, and all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks. The color completes the design, but I always save a few prints back to leave in black on white.

And when I was studying Japanese block prints and other similar styles of art from eastern countries a certain shade of red often seemed to accompany them, and it still seems appropriate, so I include that rich red mat with a black frame to complete the color scheme.

Each image is 8″ x 12″, signed and numbered, with acid-free rich red mat. Frame is 12″ x 16″ black matte-finish wood frame 3/4″ wide and 1-1/4″ deep, almost like a box with the print on the top.

“The Roundest Eyes” (at top)
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes. Find this print in my Etsy shop.

“The Goddess” (below)
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”. Find this print in my Etsy shop.

matted and framed block print

The Goddess, black ink on rice paper, red mat, black frame, 12" x 16.

framed block print of tortoiseshell cat

The Roundest Eyes, hand colored.

And the usual colors

You can also find the hand-colored prints in my Etsy shop, though they have different mats to coordinate with the hand-coloring, and a slightly larger frame. Find the girls in my Etsy shop under “Prints”.

I have also printed the girls on white t-shirts. You can also find these in my Etsy shop under T-shirts.

I also occasionally have other items, usually textiles, printed with the tortie girls. In the past I’ve had curtains, placemats, tablecloths and runners, and I’ve been working on those at the same time as these prints. You’ll see them soon.

awakening block print with red mat

Awakening, matted and framed, linoleum block print © B.E. Kazmarski

And another block print in black with a red mat

While I offer this print both black only and hand-colored, and in a variety of mat colors, I still like it best in black and white and it’s striking with the red mat. This combination was popular at Valentine’s Day so I’ve prepared a few more to have for any time of the year. Read about “Awakening” or find it on Etsy.

About Block Printing

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I will sometimes add color to them with watercolor or dyes to give them extra interest. The resulting work, even though they are all printed from the same block, is a unique print, still handmade by the artist.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

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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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.