Watch Cat

black cat at top of steps

Watch Cat.

[Sshhhhh…mom is trying out Wordless Wednesday. This is hard for her. You know she always has to tell stories. You should live with her. But I am Jelly Bean enjoying the sun at the top of the steps. See you later.]

Visit the Blog Hop.

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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.


A Very Special Mother’s Day in 2006

watercolor portrait of dog and two cats

Shadow, Casey and Ralph, watercolor, 12" x 16", 2006 © B.E. Kazmarski

Several years ago, a couple who had each had me paint portraits of their cats Dusty and DeVille as gifts for each other decided they wanted to give her mother a portrait of her mother’s dog and two cats as a Mother’s Day gift. They all shared the same love for their animal companions, and Shadow, the dog, was growing older. All the animals were rescues, adopted from shelters.

detail of portrait

Shadow's face; Shadow was black with a lot of mahogany in his fur.

The two went about sneaking photographs from her mother and mailing them to me. The very first portrait I had done for them was a watercolor of his cat Dusty and the second a pastel of her cat DeVille, but for this portrait they chose watercolor.

detail of orange cat's face

Casey's face, clear stripes and yellow eyes.

Most of my portraits are pastel but I enjoy the break when I the commission is a different medium. I looked forward to it, studying the photos and visualizing the colors and the brushes I’d use for fur and stripes and animal eyes and noses, seeing the brush strokes on the watercolor paper.

detail of portrait

Ralph, deep orange and white, and a little timid.

They gave her the portrait in my studio

When portraits are gifts, I am rarely present for the giving but in this case they decided to present it here because they wanted her mother to meet me. She actually had no idea why she was coming to this stranger’s house, just appreciating the day out with her daughter and son-in-law.

I had the framed portrait on my easel in the corner covered with a silk scarf I keep for the occasion. This was several years ago and I now work upstairs, but I have always kept an easel in the corner of my “office” downstairs, the room intended to be a living room into which you enter, for presentation and display of current work. At the right time of day you can see right into the room so I’ve always been careful when people were coming to visit their portraits that they couldn’t see them before they even came into my house.

pastel portrait of tabby and white cat

DeVille, pastel, 10" x 12", 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

They introduced me and my household of cats, and we talked about our pets while we had snacks and iced tea. Then I slipped into the kitchen and they took over, leading their mother to the easel and letting her know the purpose of the visit, pulling the scarf off the portrait so she could see Shadow, Casey and Ralph. I re-entered the room; it was a wonderful moment to share with the three of them.

They were sure her mother would love a portrait of her companions, and I knew if her mother was anything like the couple I had gotten to know there was no better Mother’s Day gift—not only recognizing and sharing her mother’s love for her pets, but also the gift the daughter had obviously inherited from her mother, a loving and generous heart and compassion for people and animals.

detail of portrait

Detail of DeVille.

A Mother’s Day Special, and Father’s Day too

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

Thank those people who gave you this gift—and I’m loosely defining mother and father because sometimes the person who shared their love of animals with you was an aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor who rescued cats or dogs. In everyone’s life is at least one special person who shared a love of animals, and in that person’s life there is often an animal companion who is or was very special to them.

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Mother’s Day—and Father’s Day as well. Portraits take up to four weeks, especially with framing and then shipping, but we can work things out with certificates and portraits that are done some time in the next two months.

About Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificates

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

Mother’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use MOTHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use MOTHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Father’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use FATHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use FATHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

Commissioned Cat Portraitsportrait of black cat in wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitspastel portrait of dogs

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.


Daily Sketch: Minding Their Own Business

sketch of two cats

Minding Their Own Business, charcoal © B.E. Kazmarski

Sometimes, this is all we see.

I like the times when they are going about their business without me involved. Jelly Bean is curled, sleeping, at the top of the steps where the sun had been shining, briefly awakened by Mewsette as she climbs the steps and rounds the corner into my bedroom. No faces, no interaction with me, they are just being house cats finding their afternoon nap spots.

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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.


Mimi

black cat at sunny window with lace curtain

Mimi

It’s when I see Mimi like this, relaxed, quietly happy by a sunny window, breeze ruffling her ears, her delicate features so lovely with the lace curtain, that I deeply sense she and I are both having a moment of appreciation for her life here, indoors, spayed, well-fed; often after one of these moments she turns and looks right at me, aware we are sharing the same sentiment, as she did some time after I took this photo when I’d simply stood admiring her.

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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.


Can Giuseppe Come Out and Play?

goldfinch at window

Giuseppe's little goldfinch buddy waits.

Giuseppe’s little goldfinch buddy showed up at the window this morning! Giuseppe was looking out the basement door at the time and didn’t make it upstairs before the little guy had to be on with his day.

Of course, I don’t know if he was the same one who has appeared before, but he certainly seemed acquainted with the window, which was closed, but he stayed around looking in for several minutes. Hope he comes back!

Goldfinch looking in window.

Where is Giuseppe?

 

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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.


May Catnip Chronicles

tortoiseshell cat

Mysterious Kelly

You should be reading Catnip Chronicles every month already, but go and read the May issue featuring about two dozen articles of feline health and lifestyle and photos of lovely cats, and I’m always proud that there’s an article or two of mine published there.

This month features parts one and two of Kelly’s rescue story, “A Little Bit About Kelly”. Especially this month, as many stray and feral kittens enter the world, Kelly’s early life is a poignant story featured this month in Catnip Chronicles.

You can subscribe to receive Catnip Chronicles in your e-mail every month, and also connect with Facebook.

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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.


Overheard in a Thrift Shop

discount store

Tuesday is Rescue Story Day, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted this poem about rescues and about life, literally written from a conversation I overheard in a thrift shop.  

Overheard in a Thrift Shop

© 2010 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Oh, look at this yellow lab painting, it’s so nice. I’ve always liked yellow labs. I have one now.

I don’t have a dog, but I wish I could.

Well, I always said I wouldn’t get a dog unless it was a rescue,
so I probably wouldn’t get a yellow lab,
but this dog came from a neighbor’s daughter
her brother had been feeding the dog—
she had twelve puppies.

Twelve puppies?!

Yes, and they all lived.
The owner put them all outside
and he probably never fed her right.
The boys found her and started taking her food.
Their sister found out
and went and told the guy she was taking the dog and the puppies.
He didn’t care.

Well, how did you get the dog?

Well, this girl, she was only 17,
but she knew right from wrong,
and she found homes for a few puppies and took the rest to the shelter.
She got the mother spayed and things were fine,
then she was killed in a car accident.

Oh, my!

Her father took care of the dog, but then he went to jail.

Oh, no. So did you take the dog?

I offered to keep the dog until he got out;
it’s a short sentence—
he’ll be out later this year.

Bless your heart!
Are you sure he wants the dog?

He already asked about her.
Think it has to do with losing his daughter.
I mean, she was only 17, and killed in an accident.

Shame.

I’m sure the cat will miss the dog too. They’re friends.

You have a cat too?
You sure got a full house.

Yeah, the cat belonged to my daughter-in-law,
she got him for the boys,
but after a year or so, the cat started to pee on the boys’ things,
they were going into puberty, you know,
I think it was that hormonal thing.
She tried everything, but the cat wouldn’t stop.
She gave him to a neighbor, an older man
who lived by himself,
and the man kept the cat in the basement with a litterbox and food and water.
Then the man told me the cat was getting some litter on the floor.
That’s okay, I told him, just sweep it up, it’s probably clean.
Then the cat started coming upstairs,
and he told me it was pushing his golf balls around.
That’s okay, I said, that’s playful.
Then he said the cat woke him up in the morning, he touched his nose to the man’s,
and I said, just give the cat to me.

Bless your heart! You are a soft touch.

Yeah, I don’t know how it will be when the dog goes,
but he lives close, I’ll be able to see her,
and I’ll be ready to take her back at any time.
At least I’ll have my cat.

This was a conversation between two people which I overheard, secretly taking notes, as I was browsing the overcrowded racks of a local thrift shop after dropping off some dishes for donation. The rhythm of a conversation between two people who know each other well and working in tandem, in this case the cashier and a volunteer who were unpacking and tagging things, has a rhythm of its own built on the familiarity of the two people, and can often sound like poetry, so instead of my initial idea for a short story based on their conversation, I wrote it up as verse.

Honest, open, unguarded conversation between two people is so precious.

I showed the cashier my writing later and asked if she minded if I published her story in this way. She was fine with the idea and told her friend, the volunteer. The cashier and I have since become friends.

cat rug

The cat rug (folded).

I was determined not to purchase anything when I dropped off my donations, but right inside the door was this feline-themed rug…and I was hooked. These are nice to have around the house, and often I use them in my displays at shows or festivals, indoors or out, especially if I’m on concrete. They also come in handy as donation items to benefit shelters and animal organizations. Since this one looks completely new, that may be its fate, my way of thanking the universe for giving me this poem.

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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.


Daily Sketch: Mimi’s Sunbath

ink and watercolor sketch of a cat

Mimi's Sunbath, ink and watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Mimi enjoys the warmth of the sun on her one side, and the reflection of it from the cabinet on her other.

I really liked this as an ink sketch and almost left it with just Mimi, but when I had looked at Mimi in this very spot I envisioned an ink drawing with watercolor washes. I began the sketch on watercolor paper, and so I finished it. I like it just as much.

This has both deep shadows and bright highlights, and both direct and reflected light, a challenge for me in ink, for sure! But while Mimi did move her head to face front, look up at me and look behind herself, she sat for long enough for me to get the light and shadow on her torso sketched in with pen, then a bit of watercolor pencil scribbled on top.

When I begin with a new medium I often visualize in it for days as I grow accustomed to it, so I’m not surprised to have two sketches in a row in the same medium and style, after yesterday’s Kelly on the Windowsill. I am growing accustomed to these watercolor pencils, though I think I’m going to allow myself a wider brush than the No. 4 round to see how it dissolves and spreads the paint from my sketchy pencil lines.

I absolutely love drawing in ink, though I’m constantly disappointed in the pens I can get now, the marker style. They are so easy to use, but I seem to wear the tip dry and need to give it a break every minute or so, and I don’t like to stop in the middle of a sketch to wait for the pen to resaturate. I solved it here by having several pens on hand in the same sizes. I have various fountain-style technical pens but I don’t leave ink in them and I don’t think Mimi would sit still while I run upstairs and fill one or two. I also have dip-style pen nibs and bottles of ink, but that has its challenges outside of my studio. I’m going to find one of the fountain-style drawing pens I had looked into years ago, though the drawback of those is that sometimes the ink doesn’t dry quickly enough to watercolor on top of right away, as I do here.

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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.


You Can’t See Me

cat behind wrinkle in rug

You can't see me behind this wrinkle.

“I have fixed the rug in exactly the way I want it.

“You can’t see me at all behind this wrinkle I have so cleverly built out of the rug.

“Also notice that I am squinting. You can’t see cats when they are squinting at you like this. Or when they have their paws over their faces. Or when they have their head in a bag or under the couch, even if their fuzzy butts are hanging out in plain view. You may think you see us, but it’s just your imagination.

“And furthermore, don’t even consider changing this rug from the way I have it set up. When I choose to leave it, I will expect to find it exactly like this when I return.”

Guess he told me.

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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.


Pussy Willow, a Vintage Photo

photo of cat sitting by pussy willow in angled sun

Pussy Willow, photograph © B.E. Kazmarski

It’s time for another vintage photo of my household. I have this photo hanging in my kitchen and though I see it every day, there are days when it fully captures my attention. I study it, and each time I see more in it. And so I did today.

It’s from the time when I first began to consider my photos “good”, perhaps to consider them “photographs” that I might display and sell as prints and framed items, instead of just “pictures”. This was, maybe, ten years ago. “Pussy Willow” was taken earlier than that but stayed on my mind. It was one of the first that made me take another look at my other photos.

What I like most is the abstraction, the light and shadow playing on the objects and the walls, both the pussy willow and the cat turning from positive objects to negative space as the sun and shadow move across them.

I would not have taken the photo without Namir, though. I do like the pussy willow on its own and always have it somewhere around the house where I can enjoy its stark figures. When he got bored with me and walked way I took a photo of just the pussy willow, and it’s nice, but not something I’d frame and hang on the wall.

I always associated Namir with pussy willow too, something about the texture of his fur, and his white oval paws reminding me of the catkins. I turned around, there he sat, that lovely warm spring sunshine washing over the scene, it was as if it was waiting for me to photograph with the old fully manual film-based Pentax K1000.

It was also taken on a day very much like today, a sunny late afternoon in late April. I have a version of it that I desaturated in PhotoShop and I like the semi-sepia look, but it doesn’t capture that original inspiration, the warm April sunshine literally pouring in the window, coating everything it touched with gold.

You may have photos like this as well, this is partly why I explained all my reasoning.

I’ll have this for sale in my Etsy shop soon, but it’s not a standard frame size so I have to be certain the molding I choose for the frame is regularly available from my supplier.

This article tells a little more about Namir and how he came into my life “Who Was That Namir, Anyway?”, and about his life in my household, “Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-Owned Cat”.

You’ll find Namir mentioned in plenty of articles on The Creative Cat, and don’t forget to look at the header image, which features him in another of his contemplative moments in the sun.

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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.