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.


Suddenly Spring: 2011

tortie cat in greens

Cookie is in the green.

Last year, April 23 was a rainy day just like today, but the forget-me-nots were just getting started. I’ve been looking forward to this picture of Cookie, along with the Queen Bee, below, on the picnic table.

Cookie sits amid the sprouting grass and forget-me-nots, deciding where in the yard to explore first.

Just a week ago Cookie’s speckled tortie coat still blended into the background of dormant grass, leaves and twigs and I would often lose track of her when she stood still. Now I have no problem at all as everything has greened up in just the past week and her camouflage has lost its effectiveness.

We’ve been checking the progress on what we planted in the garden last month, and this week the peas finally began sprouting, and while the spinach and lettuce had sent up a few scouts earlier they sprouted in earnest this week and began to grow. The asparagus sent up some spears and the violets, along with the forget-me-nots, added some color to the greenery. Cookie and I are glad our back yard is finally starting to look familiar, and it’s warm enough to take our walk!

And Cookie got to take a little rest on our picnic table, one of her favorite spots. Now it’s in dappled sun but when the trees leaf out it’s pretty much in shade. We took a little time to remember Namir; the three of us spent quite a few mornings and afternoons out there, and the picnic table was always a favorite spot for observation.

And with that, it’s officially the outdoor season.

tortie cat on picnic table

Cookie is ready to supervise my work.

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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.


El Puzzle Natural, a New Friend from Spain: 2011

Chief Inspector Llum

Last year at this time we met a wonderful new friend—from Spain! A cat rescuer in Barcelona ordered my Tortie Girls tees to benefit animals affected in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and I’ve been following her blog and the news on feline rescue on the streets of Barcelona since then. Here are her two cats, who happily received the t-shirts and inspected the boxes! Click the link at the end to visit her blog today.

Thanks to “The Goddess” through sales of the Tortie Girls tees to benefit Japanese animals after the earthquake and tsunami, we met a new friend and a wonderful connection with a group of people who love and assist animals in Barcelona, Spain.

Before the internet allowed greater communication, many of us who rescued animals and worked with animal welfare felt isolated and even overwhelmed in our concerns for animals, not realizing how much work was being done by hundreds, thousands, millions of caring people even in our own towns and cities. Now, even though we can’t always speak the same language, we can form a bond with people all over the world who love animals and do the same work as we do in rescuing stray animals, running spay and neuter clinics to prevent overpopulation, educating owners about veterinary care and lobbying for legislation to see that all animals are protected from abuse and neglect and receive a minimum of care that assures their health.

It’s so exciting to see this animal welfare revolution happening all over the world! Who knew that all the work everyone had done in cities all over in decades past sowed the seeds for today’s animal welfare organizations in nearly every country across the globe?

Kiara and Llum checking work

And Rosa, from Barcelona, Spain, bought tee shirts from me in Carnegie, PA, USA to benefit animals in northern Japan. How cool is that?!

She was so excited about them that she composed a blog post, Camisetas fantásticas con las que ayudas al Animal Refuge Kansai, including photos of her own cats, Llum and Kiara, helping to open the package and inspect the contents. The two photos used in this post are her two cats, used with permission.

She also covers many animal-oriented events and stories of interest in her city—most recently she has an article from her visit to the 29th Annual Barcelona International Comic Fair which this year featured felines in comics and Jardinet dels Gats, an organization that has been assisting feral cats in Barcelona since 2005.

Visit her blog: El Puzzle Natural:Flores de Bach,Animales y Cia

And I apologize to Rosa for taking so long to post this—I had intended to translate a few things but in the interests of time decided to just let Google do a basic translation.

Here’s a link to the entire blog in Google translation

And we think Tortitude is understood in any language!

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way 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.


The Butterfly

red admiral butterfly in forget-me-nots

The Butterfly.

The forget-me-nots were a happening place this afternoon, flower stems waving with the weight of various bees and other insects. And butterflies were out in force in the garden this afternoon.

But this Red Admiral was special. Why else would a black and orange and cream butterfly be fluttering among the forget-me-nots, skipping just a few flowers ahead of me, happily flitting from one place to another?

tortoiseshell cat in forget me nots

My Little Butterfly.

Cookie loved the forget-me-nots. It’s where I remember her best in all the years in this house. Butterflies also indicate a visit from the spirit world. And a butterfly in Cookie’s colors fluttering about in the forget-me-nots, when I just happened to be walking out to the compost bin (yes, with my camera) is too much of a coincidence.

I know I’ve written quite a bit about Cookie lately, but it’s not because I’m trying to remember her. You’d be hearing just as much about her if she was still alive, she was just that present in my life every day. And in many ways, she still is and always will be. But especially in the forget-me-nots.

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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.


Cookie as Photo Assistant: 2011

tortie cat in front of painting

Cookie, My Photography Assistant

Photographing framed artwork through the glass is a difficult proposition at best and not always successful, but a helpful tortie can check your angles and settings and add her magic to your skill.

Here you can clearly see Cookie’s black knee socks. I’ve always loved her black knee socks. She also has a saddle, which I’ve alternately compared to the stripes on a caterpillar. And her little fanny pack, carried under her belly, is clearly marked with her white patch. I’d better be careful, she’s watching me type this.

Why would I photograph art through the glass? Because the person who purchased it from me years ago, before I had the capacity to take adequate photos of  my artwork for reproduction, temporarily loaned it back to me and I didn’t have the time to take the art out of the frame, then put it back in and repaper the back. Too many helpful paws in the house.

Cookie worked in this position for many years. Digging back through very old photos a few months ago I found the first one I took of Cookie being my art photo assistant, when she was about one year old and I had lights, reflectors and a tripod set up in my basement. I didn’t photograph through the glass but actually put the frame together without the glass and photographed the art, took it apart and placed the glass then finished it up. Here Cookie is checking the position of one of my lights.

tortie cat with painting

Cookie my art assistant, at age one!

And here she was last summer when I photographed the black cat sculpture I’d done in college, after she’d been promoted to studio supervisor. I think she had a thing for lighting…

tortie cat with sculpture

Cookie, as studio supervisor, tells me the lighting is all wrong.

But the day I took the top photo in April 2011 Cookie was really in a mood for strutting her stuff as I packed up the artwork and my camera, and was quick to point out that I hadn’t moved her table far enough away from the deck railing, uncertain of the balance of a 19-year-old cat. She apparently needs to walk all the way to the end of the railing at the other set of steps, turn around and come back and step down onto the swing and invite me to sit with her. Guess she showed me. Of course, I took her advice.

tortie cat on deck railing

Cookie Walks the Plank

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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.


Outdoor Adventures: 2009

Namir and Cookie are not happy about having to go inside.

Namir and Cookie are not happy about having to go inside.

On this day three years ago I had some company out in the back yard, inspecting my work and making the decisions about who was inside and outside and when. I’ve often had one cat outdoors with me and could keep a close watch on their activities—as they usually did in watching mine.

Two cats was not so much of a challenge during the years when Moses was one of the kitties because she spread herself out on the warm bricks and napped the entire time.

But I still marvel that both Namir and Cookie actually stayed with me though they didn’t always hang together, and when I told them it was time to go in, they made faces at me, as you see, but in they went.

tortoiseshell cat with daffodil greens

Cookie pauses to let me see how well the daffodil greens match her eyes.

Yes, I watch them around the daffodils and other plants that may be toxic. No one has ever shown any interest in eating them outdoors. Cookie was famous for posing, and she knew she’d look lovely with the greens.

You can see the cluster of lettuce sprouts far behind Namir, below; that part of this cold frame simply got more sun so I began planting at that end every year. You can also see that his right front leg is shaved. He had very recently been in the emergency hospital for a bout of congestive heart failure. His neck would also have a shaved patch. I got so accustomed to seeing the shaved areas I didn’t even notice them. The April visit to the emergency clinic was one of his last though; he never completely recovered from that, and even with medication changes he only lived to July, though he had lived four full years after an initial prognosis of about six months.

cat walking on bricks

Namir stays carefully on the brick edge after inspecting the new lettuce sprouts.

But I’ve always noticed that a trip to the great outdoors of the back yard is an antidote to a lot of ills for them and me, even just a few minutes will do. My yard is a Backyard Wildlife Habitat so it’s full of smells and noises and movement and the noses get to work and ears swivel around and eyes focus on tiny movements, and soon discomfort and infirmities are forgotten in the important business of being a cat.

I had some artwork to photograph as well as working in the yard, and my two photo assistants are right on the job. I can only guess they liked to be with me, why else would they hang around that dirty old blanket I used to cushion the framed art from the bricks and to reflect extra light up onto the art?

two cats with photo bag

Namir and Cookie assist with some outdoor photography.

So as I watched Namir chase leaves and harass Cookie for fun, and Cookie cruise around and nap in the leaf litter, and had them both supervise my gardening progress while enjoying their time outdoors, I thoroughly enjoyed their presences.

two cats in spring garden

My two seniors join me outdoors to supervise my gardening.

It was a joy to watch Namir sprint across the yard just for the joy of running and Cookie patrol the garden paths, even in the late winter when strewn with weeds and debris.

Mimi is getting accustomed to this. We’ll see what she thinks tomorrow.

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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.


Excuse Me, Girlfriend? 2011

black cat and tortie cat nose to nose

Mimi and Cookie

Cookie and Mimi actually get along just fine, but Mimi kept trying to: 1) steal the limelight as I was photographing The Goddess, and; 2) steal the catnip candy cane from under Cookie’s paws. Cookie gives a friendly warning, her ears and whiskers swept forward, and a warning was enough for Mimi, ears and whiskers swept back.

Cookie’s coloring looks odd because she is in full sun so her details are flashed out in order to get any detail in Mimi, who is in shadow. Why couldn’t they have been reversed?!

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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.