Morning Mimi: 2011

black and white photograph of black cat looking out sunny window

Morning Mimi

Mimi enjoys a spring sunrise from the upstairs window. I enjoy Mimi.

I enjoyed playing with the lens to achieve all the distortion of light and dark. I wanted the sense of the sun streaming into the window and washing over Mimi as if it was actually entering the house. I focused the camera’s sensor on Mimi’s darkest areas near her hip where there wasn’t even reflected light and the camera metered for a darker image, flashing out the highlights. I moved just enough into the path of the sun so it entered the lens, creating the path of translucent circles.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get Mimi’s lovely curved tail; her continuous curving shape contrasts with the angularity of the window and cabinet, but coordinates with the sunspots and the softness of the lace curtain. I love those few old casement windows I still have—they have so much character with the wavy glass, the layers of caulking and paint.

I don’t shoot on any camera’s black and white setting, though—I find the camera’s sense of values to be different from mine, literally, and find they never compare to what I shot on black and white film. I’m always disappointed in the lack of midrange tones and I find the highlights are white, but even the darkest areas aren’t truly saturated. Instead, I experimented when I still had black and white film, shooting the same images with film and with my digital, trying settings then taking the color versions to PhotoShop to work with saturation levels and came up with a little procedure that works well to match on computer and in prints pretty much what I loved about black and white film.

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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.


Forget-me-nots, and a Spring-themed Greeting Card

photo of cat behind lace curtain with forget-me-nots

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

The forget-me-nots are beginning to bloom as they grow taller more quickly, an inch or two each day, in the pots in the windowbox under my dining room window. Each year when I transplant them from the yard and put the pots in place I remember Sophie and this particular beautiful moment. I’ll always be happy I managed to catch it in a quick little snap on my first tiny digital camera as I left the house one evening in spring several years ago.

Sophie was in one of the windows when I left and when I returned in all seasons, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace, and now that she is gone the forget-me-nots have a special meaning for me.

Read more on Portraits of Animals Marketplace…

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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.


We’ve Done It Again, We’re Famous!

black cat rescue boston logo

Black Cat Rescue of Boston

We know we’re famous. We just have to wait for the rest of the world to find out.

And we couldn’t more pleased to use our stardom to help other black cats. One of our favorite family photos is included in their latest blog post “Black Cat St. Patrick’s Day” (bet you can’t guess which one that is), and we hope that people can see how great black fur goes with green! And how sweet and silly we can be! And how, once people figure out how having one black cat is an excellent choice, having lots of black cats will make you famous! So you should run out and adopt one or two or many of all those sleek and awesome black cats who get left behind in shelters after all the other flavors are adopted.

About Black Cat Rescue

Black Cat Rescue is a no-kill cat rescue organization in Boston, MA., and here’s what they have to say about their mission of sharing black cats with the world:

Did you know that black cats are only half as likely to get adopted as cats of other colors? Our all-volunteer network of foster homes in the Greater Boston area is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless black cats and kittens by providing quality foster care while actively seeking loving, permanent adoptive homes.

About black cats

Obviously you know “we” at The Creative Cat think black cats are pretty special, especially since “I” am outnumbered not only by cats but also by black cats. I, the human in this operation, love cats of all stripes and spots and shades, but a very special black kitty changed my life for the better at an important time, and he is the reason I began rescuing cats, which led to living with cats, which led to drawing cats and writing stories about cats and you can see where that got me.

And just as obviously, you may be reading The Creative Cat because of my special black cats—I’m well aware that the big attraction is often what they’re doing each day and not what I’m doing, and that’s fine with me. But we need to spread the word that black cats really are simply wonderful felines, there is no superstition or evil involved.

And because I believe part of the reason black cats are not adopted has more to do with the fact that they are very difficult to photograph and they don’t stand out in a crowd of cats of brighter colors and enticing patterns, I do my best every day to create the most accurate and beautiful photos of them so that viewers are enchanted with these graceful house panthers and will helplessly run out and adopt one. Sorry, not Mimi nor the Fantastic Four are up for adoption, but you’ll find one you love. Visit Black Cat Rescue on Petifinder, or your local shelter or rescue.

Did you guess which photo?

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

four black cats drinking from faucet

Have a drink with family and friends.

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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.

 


A Custom Daily Photo

matted framed photo of four black cats eating

The Fantastic Four at Four, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

A friend enjoyed one of my daily photos so much he wanted a print for himself!

Of course, it’s less to do with me than it is with the “Fantastic Four at Four”, perfectly lined up and having their birthday breakfast on July 26, 2011, the day they turned four years old.

I actually included the photo (below) in the post about Mimi’s “birthday”, July 29, which is the day she arrived here with the “tiny four” and which has become her nominal birthday since I have no idea when it really is. And the Fantastic Four get enough attention, Mimi deserves her own day for lots of reasons.

four cats eating

Fantastic Four eating breakfast on the big day: Jelly Bean, Giuseppe, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette.

This was kind of staged—they don’t normally eat up there, and they don’t normally eat dry food, but just to get a shot of them all lined up I used bowls of their favorite grain-free dry that I know they all like and, heavens, forced them to eat it! Right. They were lined up as soon as the bowls came out, and if I could only have recorded the purring along with the image…

On seeing the post, a friend said he’d like a print of that photo, and I was thrilled he was interested and also had a few ideas. I play around with these photos and others myself all the time, adjusting colors, adding filters, matting and framing and even printing them on canvas and tote bags and tees and lots of other things as I plan new merchandise and experiment with products and techniques.

I’d also seen this person’s home and remembered a lovely retro scheme of 1950s bold pastels like pink and yellow and sky blue and mint green along with brushed and bright chrome (especially that totally cool chrome chandelier with the pastel ceramic cups and saucers as the light fixtures), and along with asking what size he’d like it I offered to mat and frame it. I was picturing the photo in black and white instead of color, a bright or brushed chrome frame in a particular retro style, and a white mat with a colored liner, mint green—for the Four and their favorite sink—or pink since the color was often used in the room.

I described this to him, and to my surprise he had the same sort of thing in mind. I am sometimes fortunate when a customer and I have the same idea for their custom piece, but his went pretty far into the actual details of the idea. But I knew I could move forward with the confidence that in the end he wouldn’t receive his artwork (he is not local and would not see it as I was working on it) and ask me what I was thinking when I put this together…

So that was the plan. He gave me the size for the area it would go, I planned out the size of the frame and mat and print and put it together. The frame size of the finished piece is 11.5″ x 24.5″, the image is 6.5″ x 19.5″.

black and white photo of four cats eating

The Fantastic Four, the final version of the photo.

When black and white photos are printed through a color printing machine, as most of us have our prints made now, you’ll see a slight color cast that varies for many reasons, from the content of your own file to the machine that prints them. It’s not always noticeable until you put it with another color, and in this case when I cut the mat and looked at the print next to the pink, it looked a less-than-attractive dull green. I filled the photo just 3% pink and readjusted the brightest highlights back to white and it worked perfectly with the mat.

I just love knowing that my cats are out there being enjoyed by other people. One of these days I hope to have an actual studio where shots like this will be even easier, especially if I use the right cat food, but for now the candid daily shots are also very much enjoyed.

And they serve their purpose for me as well as a daily creative exercise: take usable photos, choose only one, prepare it for view, give it a title and write something about it that others will enjoy—without taking all day! Much of what I do is commercial art, planned by myself and customers and I don’t get the chance to do much that’s extemporaneous, or find the need to come up with ideas, headlines text and images on the spot as I used to when working in advertising. It helps to keep my design senses sharp for everything I do during the day.

So if you see a daily photo—or sketch—that you particularly like, just ask and we’ll plan something special.

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

To see more daily photos and sketches go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or “Daily Sketches” or choose from the categories below that to see photos and sketches of black cats or tortie cats.

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.


Joyeux Anniversaire à Mlle. Daisy!

black cat on bed

Mlle Daisy Marguerite on her antique wedding ring quilt. Is that a hint?

“Oh, ma dame la plus belle,
dal mio caro I desire for you to have
un buon compleanno,
 yes, joyeaux anniversaire
to my precious gemstone
my emerald-eyed goddess,
my ebony-furred French Canadian sweetheart,
I celebrate the day of your birth,
as if it were my own!”

That is my best operatic composition of a most heartfelt “happy birthday” to my everlasting love Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald Marguerite. Yes, my ever sweet and precious amour was born on this very day, the first day of the year, and I have been celebrating her existence by singing all day! What would my life be like this year if she had not sworn her love to me through the magic of computers and our visions in the stars! You can see how beautiful she is, my, dare I say, mature love? Yes, she has lived 12 years and all this she gives to me. I am but an inexperienced young cat and had no idea how small my world was when ma belle mademoiselle opened my eyes and my heart to a whole new world I never would have known otherwise, and oh, I must sing again!

O! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
E muoio disperato!
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita,
tanto la vita!

(Translation, from Puccini’s Tosca:

With sweetest kisses, tenderest caresses,
A thing of beauty, of matchless symmetry in form and feature!
My dream of love is now disspelled forever.
I lived uncaring and now I die despairing!
Alas I die despairing!
And never was life so dear to me, no never,
So dear, no never!)

Yes, ma chére, I sit by the big north window where I can see the whole sky and face the northwest where you live by the great river in the town named for kings in the great country of Canada and dream of singing right to you.

black cat looking out window

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight...

Giuseppe is singing to his French Canadian belle femme, Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite, whose birthday is indeed today. Giuseppe is, of course, a castrato and sings his arias and compositions in a melodic countertenor instead of the usual rich tenor, but he can improvise in operatic Italian, adding lyrics about her emerald eyes and ebony fur.

Then has again been much sighing as the darkness has fallen and he gazes once again out the window to the northwest toward the river town of Kingston in Ontario.

A very happy birthday to Mlle. Daisy, adopted from a shelter all those years ago to live with her mom, from not just Giuseppe but our entire household of black cats and tortie girls!

Read about the continuing long-distance affair of Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite and Giuseppe Verdi.

Giuseppe Mewses About Mlle. Marguerite

Or choose the category entitled “Mlle. Daisy Marguerite” in the menu on the right.

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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.


Just a Dusting

cat in back yard with dusting of snow

Just a dusting of snow for Cookie's visit to the back yard.

No big snows here, we just got a dusting in our back yard and Cookie is glad not to have to plow through snow to get to her favorite sunny spot, winter or summer.

Despite our visit to the back yard this morning, Cookie is not well today, but that’s one of the reasons it was so important.

Cookie turned 19 last summer and after her difficult kittenhood and some early health issues and physical limitations I’m a little surprised that she has gotten to be 19 without any problems. She’s never had a lot of strength or flexibility in her hips and hind legs, never been able to run and leap but she’s always happily improvised in every way she can find.

I’ve been watching her slow decline for most of this year, most intensively since mid-summer, struggling with renal failure along with general geriatric issues, sleeping more and more and eating a little less, but for the most part acting well. After all these years and all these cats, I know when it’s an act, and I also knew Cookie would happily act every day until one day she couldn’t pull it off any more, and her end would likely come quickly. Well, who wouldn’t want it that way? Remember determinate little Peaches last October?

On Christmas Eve morning I found her limp and lethargic in front of a heater vent; later that day I saw the abscess developing in her chin again. I increased her occasional fluids from supportive to therapeutic and began antibiotics. The abscess ruptured (yuck!) by Sunday night and though she never lost her appetite she had lost more strength and balance. But she did get back to many of her daily habits as you probably noticed in my daily photos and sketches. Well, I probably featured her a little more often, and have for the past month or so, just to bring loving attention to her, knowing what is coming.

I’ve brought her back to general wellness a few times before, but I  think I may not be able to turn her around this time. She had a long-distance reiki session earlier today with Ingrid King, whose abilities I thoroughly trust and whose comments have given me guidance through the past year, and where Cookie has just had a low spot prior to now this time it’s more serious.

So Cookie had her morning session outdoors, then a late-afternoon session as well, which we’ve been doing for the past month, an important part of her wellness plan. Right now she is curled on my lap, a little more limp than usual, sleeping and purring. But I know that tonight and tomorrow will be pivotal—if I can turn this around she will have a few more weeks or even months, but if not, she will continue to decline and we will have at best days. Much of it will depend on Cookie, who survived her early experiences because she has a strong will to live, and that has never faded. In either case, I feel I’ll know by tomorrow morning. I’ve already called to make my “arrangements” just in case.

And after all these losses, 13 so far, I’d be a fool to not begin preparing myself for this final walk together and life without Cookie. Little Kelly will be lost.

Just last week I walked into my house and was greeted by all five black cats and as much as I love their rambunctious greeting I also thought that someday, perhaps soon, this greeting will be the way it is, just five black cats, no tortie girls.

But not just for the sake of our 19 years together, Cookie has been my guardian kitty, my best friend, always sharing my ups and my downs, sometimes to her detriment, and my life will be less without her in it.

And we thank you in advance for the love and strength you wonderful people who love animals and their people will automatically send our way. Depending on what happens, I may be absent for a while, and please understand if I don’t respond to comments right away.

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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.


Handle With Care

two black cats in box

Handle With Care

For the fun of Boxing Day, Giuseppe and Mama Mimi spent some time together in a box in the kitchen.  So it’s a produce box and not a gift box—they aren’t concerned, especially as long as they are together. And as I photographed I noticed the warning, “Perishable – Handle With Care”. Truly!

The box was actually Mimi’s idea first as Mimi is irresistibly drawn into any container or open space and I made the mistake of putting the box down on the floor. It often seems that Giuseppe has no idea how big he is. Mimi is a patient mama, even when he sits on her.

I think Giuseppe inherited Mimi’s lovely eyes, don’t you?

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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.