Live Animals

three black cats around cat carrier

Live Animals?

You can see that Giuseppe is asking where the live animals are. And why I need more when I already have several perfectly good live animals. They are not ordering a live human, but perhaps they should consider it, since there is only one human is she is sometimes woefully inadequate. Even Mewsette looks a little perturbed, though Jelly Bean is just sort of hanging out because that’s where the action is.

They looked carefully inside the black thing and did not see anything at all. Perhaps this human is playing a cruel joke on them.

Anything I add to their environment becomes a prop, even if it’s unintentional. They explore everything, that’s their job. In this case Peg Bowman brought back the carrier we had used for Skeeter when we took him to the vet, and I had no other place to put it at that moment than on that table. And because the Feline Inspection and Quality Control takes their job very seriously and will drop everything to perform their duties at a moment’s notice, the carrier was immediately covered and surrounded by cats. I left it there for a few days waiting for a good shot. There was a second from today, different; perhaps I’ll post that tomorrow.

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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.

 


Mewsette, Morning

black cat in sun

Mewsette in the morning sun.

Mewsette is letting the shadows fall behind her on this sunny morning, dozing in warm winter sun.

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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.

 


Framed!

two black cats sitting in a picture frame

Framed!

Mewsette gives Mr. Sunshine a big, soft sisterly headbutt as they nuzzle and bathe each other.

Of course, they are doing this inside the square of a frame I’ve just assembled, just right for kitties in need of a special kitty spot to be. Trust me, it’s like setting down a piece of paper or a box, cats are immediately sucked into the square, or rectangle, or whatever it is you’ve got. But they always make a lovely picture, worthy of framing, probably more worthy than that thing you’ve got ready.

The real challenge is managing to frame something without at least one cat hair on the mat.

Of course, they need to leave before I get to the part with the mat cutter and the glass. Imagine that, telling cats to get off the table while I’m working!

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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.

 


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.


More Valentine Cards for Cat Lovers, and Lovers with Cats

two black cats with red background

Nuzzles and Purrrrrs for Valentine's Day!

Here are four more designs to finish out my set of Valentine note cards and greeting cards, as always inspired by and based on images of my household of felines!

As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better to do with a family of five black cats during the festive Halloween season? I posted many of these photos on my blog, The Creative Cat, for my daily photos. Each of the cats depicted here is one of mine. My cats have no choice but to be models, especially “if they like to eat” as I always tell them when they roll their eyes.

Nuzzles and Purrrrrs

The operatically romantic Giuseppe and the French-Canadian belle femme Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite have been carrying on a long-distance affaire since the summer of 2011; they always conclude their correspondence with “nuzzles and purrrrrs”.

I photographed Mewsette and Giuseppe cuddling on my desk while I worked at my computer and posted them as a daily photo on The Creative Cat. So many readers immediately said “Valentine” that I thought I’d oblige with a design! And even though it’s Mewsette and not Mlle. Daisy, Mewsette still knows when her brother needs a hug.

These greeting cards are 5″ x 7″ and are printed on 14 pt. matte-coated stock. The message inside is “NUZZLES AND PURRRRRS” in a really fun font. Each card comes with Autumn Red 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. They are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box. I sell them as a set of six in my shop on Etsy.

two black cats with heart on yellow background

Heart Cats, featuring Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette.

Heart Cats

The siblings of the Fantastic Four often cuddle and hug, cheek to cheek, but this design adapted from the original heart-shaped cats photo of Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette is still my favorite; the background color of the card is adapted from the color of their eyes.

I photographed these two in the bathroom at night in poor light, but no matter, such a sweet photo I’d do my best. Since then I’ve adapted the two into many different designs and colors. Here, for Valentine’s day, they are solid black with the solid cerise of their eyes, and just one red heart as they hug.

These are note cards at 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ and are printed on matte-coated stock. The message inside is “YOU ARE MY HEART CAT” in a really fun font. Each card comes with Autumn Red 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. They are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

They are available as a set of 12 in my shop on Etsy.

black and white photo of cats

Steal a Moment With a Kitty You Love

Steal a Moment

This photo was originally an unfocused mistake but I liked it better than the focused version, and so did many readers of The Creative Cat!

These greeting cards are 5″ x 7″ and are printed on 14 pt. matte-coated stock. The message inside is a simple “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY”. Each card comes with Autumn Red 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. They are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box. I sell them as a set of six in my shop on Etsy.

card with moon and silhouette of two cats

Silhouettes for Valentine's Day.

Silhouettes for Valentine’s Day

I originated this design as a Halloween card using autumn shades in autumn 2011, but with a little color change it suits Valentine’s Day! It features my photograph of the Harvest Moon and the silhouettes of two of my five black cats.

These greeting cards are 5″ x 7″ and are printed on 14 pt. matte-coated stock.

This card is blank inside, ready for your message.

Each card comes with Autumn Red 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. They are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

They are all on Etsy

In addition to the four cards featured here you’ll find other designs on Etsy. Read about them on Portraits of Animals Marketplace.

Purple Cats Valentine Note Cards

Block Print Valentine Note Cards

And a special issue of a block print matted and framed for Valentine’s Day:

Awakening, a Special for Valentine’s Day

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All images and text used in this article 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.


Colorful Block Print Valentine Note Cards

block print Valentine cards

Linoleum block-printed Valentine cards inspired by Valentine Candy hearts!

I usually print these little linocuts in earth tones or “tabby colors”, but I’ve been itching to use brights and pastels and all sorts of combinations with them. Considering the designs, what better time to start with this than Valentine’s day to create hand-printed cards in magenta on pink, violet, magenta and red card stock, embellished with magenta or purple stamp ink, just saturated with color for Valentine’s Day!

This set of 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards features two designs combining my hand-cut block prints with commercial rubber stamps on smooth uncoated 70 lb. cover stock.

I offer them in sets of single color cards with matching envelopes and in one big set of all four colors.

block-printed note cards

Magenta on pink set.

PINK, VIOLET AND MAGENTA CARDS
A single kitty entitled “Sunshine and Flowers” printed in magenta says “MEOW!” stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “You’re PURRRFECT” is stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp.

Two kitties cuddling for a bath say “You’re PURRRFECT” stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “MEOW!” is stamped in magenta with a commercial rubber stamp.

magenta on red

Magenta on red with purple stamp ink.

RED CARDS
A single kitty entitled “Sunshine and Flowers” printed in magenta says “MEOW!” stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “You’re PURRRFECT” is stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp.

Two kitties cuddling for a bath say “You’re PURRRFECT” stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp. Inside “MEOW!” is stamped in purple with a commercial rubber stamp.

violet cards

Violet cards printed in magenta.

On the back of all the cards I’ve stamped in purple ink the name of the series of block prints, my logo and my name and contact information.

Each set comes with Soft Pink 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. The set of six, including three each of the two designs, are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

Individual color sets come with matching envelopes, and use these links to find each of these sets in my Etsy shop:

Pink cards come with Soft Pink envelopes.

Violet cards come with Soft Violet envelopes.

Magenta cards come with Autumn Red envelopes.

Red cards come with Autumn Red envelopes.

three black cats with printed note cards

Mewsette, Giuseppe and Jelly Bean inspect each card.

ABOUT THE ART: TABBIES LINOLEUM BLOCK PRINTS

The stripes made me do it! The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape has always been an inspiration for more graphic designs.

These cards were block printed, a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of 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.

These two designs are from a set of four, and have always had a sweet and cuddly feel to me. I’d always printed these in natural earth tones but have been planning to print them in bright colors on brightly-colored paper as well.

Please explore my greeting card collections in my shop on Etsy to see all the designs and others too.

three black cats with cards

"These cats are all covered with funny markings," say the three perfect black cats.

I photographed the process as I printed these—of course, with feline supervision—and I’ll be posting my article soon to explain how block prints are made.

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All images and text used in this article 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.


Purple Cats Valentine Note Cards

note cards with purple cats and red blanket

Purple Cats Valentine Note Cards

You may recognize this little painting—it was one of my most popular daily sketches, “Purple Cats, Red Blanket”, and just lends itself to a Valentine theme.

These note cards are 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ and printed on uncoated cover stock, rather than the matte finish stock I usually prefer for cards, to mimic the original watercolor paper I used for the illustration.

The message inside is “Purr Hearts”, which I drew by hand in pen, a message that can be given to a friend or to someone who is a little more than a friend!

hand-drawn purr hearts

Purr Hearts, my own little doodle in ink

Each card comes with Autumn Red 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelopes which are inkjet/laser compatible. They are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

I will have these small note cards available in my Etsy shop until Valentine’s Day; after Valentine’s Day I will be offering the design as part of my “Feline Greetings Art Cards” selection as a 5″ x 7″ card.

watercolor of two cats on blanket

Purple Cats, Red Blanket, ink and watercolor © B.E.Kazmarski

ABOUT THE ART

This daily sketch was done in felt-tip ink technical drawing pen with watercolor washes, signed and dated 1/6/12, and pictures Jelly Bean and Mewsette using a red blanket I’d tossed to the landing for the laundry as a comfy impromptu cat bed.

Black cats, like white cats, have all sorts of colors in their fur, and in the day’s filtered sunlight their fur glistened with all sorts of highlights and shadows. The randomly shaped and wrinkled red blanket heightened the range of colors in their fur and even the neutral wood floor held random combinations in its old unfinished grain. Mostly, the composition was what attracted me in the first place: two similar heavy rounded shapes, the random soft shape and the smooth shape brought elements together in a very pleasing way.

I think cats are very aware of how they can create beautiful compositions simply by being in them.

The original painting, matted and framed, is also available in my Etsy shop.

DAILY SKETCHES

If you read The Creative Cat regularly, you see my sketches nearly every day.

I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses, so I have a small pouch of art materials and a few various sized sketchbooks available in the house and out. Usually, these are done in pencil, my first and favorite medium, though sometimes it’s charcoal, ink, colored pencil, ink and brush, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, the greatest challenge to keep it quick and not get caught up in details, let the idea flow onto the paper.

Most often, the subjects are my cats because they are such willing models, though sometimes I’ll also wander afield, literally, and sketch in my yard or anywhere I go for errands. Medium and especially style vary just so I get a chance to do something new.

Every once in a while, they are meant for framing, and I’ve designed a series of notecards, notepaper and notepads using other daily sketches of my cats, and even of backyard birds and scenes in nature. Often I use them as illustrations for graphics projects I’m designing.

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All images and text used in this article 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

Here’s 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!

Do you think Mewsette likes to get her photo taken? Mr. Sunshine isn’t as concerned, he just wants to cuddle. I’ve only caught a few photos of them because 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.

So there they are, all my Heart Cats to date, though I’ve no doubt that I’ll have more to show next Valentine’s Day, now that I’m on to them!

*(This isn’t the same afghan you see so often in photos of them, as in “Muted Colors” and “Cozy”. That was the wool afghan my mother made which was damaged in a flood so all the colors blended. This is the afghan I made years ago because I liked hers so much and I wanted one just like it, though mine is made of acrylic yarn. It’s made of all the scraps from other afghans I’d made, plus odds and ends of yarn I’d bought because I liked the color. Each square, and therefore the pattern, is bigger than the wool afghan, and the colors are brighter; those yarn colors from the 70s were downright garish, but the afghan is welcoming nonetheless, and as with all crocheted things the kitties LOVE it, though they prefer the wool one.)


Steal a Moment With a Kitty You Love

two black cats in silhouette

Steal a Moment With a Kitty You Love!

I had several ideas this year!


Happy Valentine’s Day

HEART CATS

Happy Valentine's Day!