Happy Easter, Eostre, Renewal and Spring

wild rabbit in back yard

Our Backyard Bunny

Have a blessed and beautiful day from our back yard to yours!

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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.


Use Your Credit Card Directly on Etsy

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

As an artist it’s my business to follow my muse and create what life brings to me. Click the image above to find out why Stanley is the face of  Portraits of Animals, and why this painting was important to my career as an animal artist.

As a self-employed small business owner it is my business to give you as many options and opportunities as possible to find what I create and make a purchase once you’ve decided you want something I’ve created.

Etsy, the online handmade marketplace, has made this decidedly easier for many of us so that we can spend more time doing what we do best, making stuff with their attractive interface and easy setup of accounts, shops and product displays.

Now they’ve added a new feature which not only makes transactions easier for us, but it may make many customers happy as well—you can now purchase with a credit card directly through Etsy, no PayPal involved, no redirect to your PayPal account or extra steps, so it’s quicker for you as well.

Read more at Portraits of Animals Marketplace, including a discount for purchases in April.

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And be sure to visit my Etsy shop to see what’s currently available.

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.


Special on Green Things in My Etsy Shop Today

black cat card

"God, I'm Cute"

I may not be Irish, but while everyone knows my first name is “Bernadette”, you probably don’t know my middle name is “Eileen”. Following a name like “Bernadette Eileen” I’m sure a Polish surname like “Kazmarski” is the last thing you expect—perhaps something like O’Toole or McShane (two Irish families I grew up with). So for St. Patrick’s Day a friend has pronounced I am honorarily “Bernadette Eileen O’Kazmarski”. Goes along with my bright henna-red hair, yes? Let the celebration begin!

I love totally random sales, and looking at the gallery of things that are tagged as “green” in my Etsy shop it certainly looks that way—original artwork, greeting cards, gift bags—and not just feline-themed things but also wildlife and nature and flowers!

still life of pepper in bowl

One Pepper, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Just for St. Patrick’s Day I’ve got 10% off your entire order if you buy one of the things tagged with green in this gallery in my Etsy shop. Just use the code STPATRICKGREEN10 when you place your order.

pastel painting of a cat looking out a window

Winter Window, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski; this painting is of Kelly, click the image to read about it.

And as I mentioned, it’s not just 10% off your green item, it’s 10% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER if you purchase one of the items in the green gallery.

crocheted sunflower washcloths

Set of three cotton washcloths, designed and crocheted by me (and supervised by guess who).

Happy shopping! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Read about more of the things I create that are inspired by my cats in the category “Marketplace”.

And be sure to visit my Etsy shop to see what’s currently available.

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.


On St. Patrick’s Day, Drink Straight From the Tap

four black cats drinking from faucet

Have a drink with family and friends.

My traditional St. Patrick’s Day greeting!

Especially if you’re the Parched Puddies having your daily drink in the mint green sink! It’s Giuseppe, Jelly Bean, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette. They’re not Irish and neither am I, but when you’re getting together with family and drinking from the tap in the presence of something green on St. Patrick’s Day…well, we non-Irish have to improvise.

I ran this last year on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s still too good not to share again! All four do this every day—including this morning—in fact doing their best to lead me back upstairs after breakfast to turn the faucet on to a drip so they can drink. Just this morning the light was perfect* and all four were drinking at one time, plus you can actually see the faucet (a little) and tell it’s a sink. They’re pretty big and block a lot of the view.

Also enjoy an older gallery of the Fantastic Four plus Mimi and others in the green and white bathroom on my website.

*Photographing black cats in natural light is a trick, and many of the other photos I have of them drinking in the sink—or doing anything as a group, for that matter—often turns out as a black blob with eyes and ears if I’m not careful. It was often difficult to tell what was in the sink, let alone the number of cats.

But the sun was bright that day and reflected off the white walls in the bathroom and I finally captured one of my favorite moments with these four.

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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.


Four-Leaf Kitties, Happy Day Before St. Patrick’s

four black cats

Four-Leaf Kitties

Could I pose them like this? Never! I just follow them around with my camera. Actually, this is another one of those photos that happens while I am unaware and focused working at my computer, and because I am still and quiet while I’m working all the cats settle down. Then I take a break, turn around and there they are. I can’t tell you how many photos happen that way.

Giuseppe is at 12:00 with his head turned upside down and his paws in the air, Mewsette is curled at 3:00, Jelly Bean at 6:00, Mr. Sunshine at 9:00 using Giuseppe as a pillow.

Right now, the time is a little past Mewsette.

And though this is St. Patrick’s Week for photos with green and kitties, this photo fits in the theme even without green for two reasons: first, the kitties are in shape for it, and they certainly are my lucky charm; and, second, there’s a little scrap of an orange bag under them, and I know orange is certainly not the color of St. Patrick, but it is on the Irish flag.

Besides that, it was the orange bag that started it all—I placed it on my chair to pack it with stuff, and when I turned around Giuseppe was in it, then he decided to curl up and take a nap. I moved bag and Giuseppe to the floor and got another bag.

Through the course of that day and the next, all five of the black kitties cycled through the bag in ones and twos and threes, using it as a fort, a bed, and a bath house, then finally in this perfect foursome. And because I used a flash for this photo because there was so much blur without it you can clearly see the difference in fur color—Giuseppe and Jelly Bean have short fur like their mother and are distinctly brown like her, while Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine are a denser black and have longer fur like one of the studs with good genetics chosen carefully by Mimi.

Four lucky kitties!

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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.


Happy Birthday, Mom: 2011

black cat with green sparkle ball

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Okay, so somehow word got out that it is my birthday. I wasn’t going to repost this to try to keep that a secret, but what the heck.

“From all of us to you, here is your birthday gift. My favorite green sparkle ball.”

Has Giuseppe learned the joy of giving and sharing something he treasures? I’d like to think so. Still, he probably knows the toy is useless to me without him and everyone else. That knowledge is a treasure to me, but for him it just means he’ll get his toy back in the end.

This year they were all extra special cute and sweet, and the four spent most of the day in my studio with me. That’s a great birthday gift, almost as good as a green sparkle ball.

And here’s a little bit about the significance of the Green Sparkle Ball.

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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.


Heart-Shaped Cats

heart-shaped cats on afghan

Heart Shaped Cats on the Afghan

My Fantastic Four are famous for their heart-shaped hugs and cuddles, but the two most famous are Mr. Sunshine and his sister Mewsette, featured here in just a few everyday cuddles.

This is only a portion of my personal heart-shaped cat collection. Mr. Sunshine and Miss Mewsette have always been cuddle buddies, and they’ve always had this habit of curling up together cheek to cheek and chest to chest and wrapping their little arms around each other, even crossing tails in the front. They are a somewhat elongated heart here on the afghan with the heart right-side up, but looking at them below they are a more typical heart shape only with the heart upside down!

heart-shaped black cats

Heart-shaped cats the other way!

Mewsette is clearly posing, but Mr. Sunshine isn’t as concerned, he just wants to cuddle. Unfortunately, they don’t always cuddle together in the best light or against a contrasting background, and they are black, absorbing all of what’s available and not giving much back, making photos a challenge. Look closely, though, Mewsette has her arm right under Mr. Sunshine’s chin and he has his below hers, then he has his hind leg tucked into her belly and she has hers wrapped around his hip, then they have their tails layered on top of each others’, completely interwoven.

Here they are one night in my studio as I was moving furniture and cleaning, supervising what I was doing.

two heart-shaped black cats

Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette curled again.

And then the view from the top shows them heart-shaped again, but Mimi is sleeping behind them so they look a little misshapen.

two heart-shaped black cats

Heart-shaped again!

I found one very early photo of them as they were apparently developing this wonderful way to cuddle, though Giuseppe in the background looks a little miffed at the attention they are getting. I can assure you that I only got one shot because Giuseppe got up and sauntered between me and them.

black cats curled together

Early stages of the heart-shaped cat.

And finally, the photo of them I took on the night before Valentine’s Day in 2009 where they have their technique fully developed. Too bad that old camera wasn’t so good in low light conditions! Still, I couldn’t believe how sweet they were.

two black cats curled together

The original Heart Cats

Sometimes when I get a good photo composition that’s blurry or otherwise unclear, and not in a way that I can use for effect, I play around with it in PhotoShop. I never get enough time playing in PhotoShop so I’ll take any excuse. I liked the way this series of filters and adjustments clarified the image, even though it’s no longer photographic. The black outlines and areas of color remind me of the illustrations from some of the books I looked at and read as a child.

illustration of two black cats curled together

The original Heart Cats illustration.

I liked this so much I used it to print on a tote bag for sale.

And, of course, this very photo went on to become a Valentine note card, available all year round as a greeting card for when you need to send a note to that special heart cat.

two black cats with one heart

Heart Cats note card © B.E. Kazmarski

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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.


Happy New Year with Sparklies: From A Year Ago

black cat with fuzzy crocheted collar

A sparkly new year's wish for everyone!

Because we’ve been preoccupied with Cookie, we couldn’t create a new year wish for you, but Mewsette was so beautiful in her photo shoot last year she deserves another year of greeting our readers!

On behalf of my household of kitties, Mewsette wishes you and yours a happy new year!

black cat with crocheted collar

Faraway Expression (I'd rather be birdwatching than wearing this thing around my neck).

She’s modeling my latest crochet scarf with vintage pin, and the little sparks of color and the shape of the pin brought to mind fireworks. She has the greenest eyes of the group, too, and I wanted to highlight that with the background.

black cat with crocheted collar and vintage pin

Mewsette Coquette (are you actually going to give me that treat or just wave it so I'll look at it?)

I’ve never been one to dress up my cats, but I’ve been handling Mewsette and her brothers since they were three days old and somehow decorating this family of nearly solid black cats seems like the natural thing to do.

This extemporaneous photo shoot developed after I tried to photograph the scarf but certain kitties decided it was meant to be a toy—I have to admit they have a few toys that resemble this—and in the ensuing activity someone ended up wearing it.

And they tolerate it, in part because they inherited their mom’s sweet personality and are the nicest family of kitties I’ve ever known (in a lifetime of kitties), and perhaps also because I’ve been handling them all their lives. They put up with a lot of stuff from me, but of course, the benefits are many.

black cat with crocheted collar and vintage pin

Dignified (I'm just letting you know that I'd done with this thing around my neck now).

They are now three years old, so it’s time to put them to work!

I think Mewsette has a true career as a model—I’ve included a few more shots from this session along with Mewsette’s comments.

Her brothers were spared the indignity of having to wear this thing, but their day will come.

It’s a little difficult to tell, but I’ve included the extra space on the right of this last photo so you might see how l-o-o-n-n-g Mewsette’s whiskers are.

I hope your 2011 begins on a bright note with colors, smiles, purrs and happiness, and continues to become more beautiful every day!

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

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.


Wishing You Peace and Joy

cat looking at star

Star of Wonder

Whether you celebrate the ancient customs of the miracle of the sun’s return, the sacred oil that lasted eight days, the birth of your savior or any number of old and new rituals of heritage and family, my Creative Cats and I wish you peace and joy in your gatherings, travels and meals. At this darkening time of year may the star of love and friendship of family and friends, both human and animal, light your way.

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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.


Happy Mother’s Day from Furball Fables

A friend sent this brief video around this morning and it’s so sweet I just have to share it.

Aside from the nieces and great-neices and nephews and generations of neighbor kids who’ve become my friends, I’ve only had furry feline “children”. I can’t miss the looks of love in their furry little faces, and someday when they’ve mastered all the hardware and software on my computer as I know they are plotting (surely they’re not just sleeping on my desk but are soaking in crucial information as they pretend to nap), I’m sure they’ll make a video like this about me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you cat moms, and moms of all the animals we love!