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.


Closing the Shop, but Expanding Online

photo of gift shop

View of about half my shop, art, greeting cards and even a few crocheted things.

After two years in my room in Carnegie Antiques, I’ll be moving out, fitting everything somewhere in this little house and expanding what I’ve always offered online.

It’s always been difficult to be two places at once, and in addition to keeping merchandise in the shop and being there one afternoon a week, I am also here at my home to make and package and prepare the things, play with my kitties and keep up with The Creative Cat—in addition to being self-employed as a freelance commercial artist!

sign with balloons and flowers

The sign that features Cookie.

I love sharing my art and merchandise for my online community through my Marketplace blog, in my online Marketplace on my website and in my Etsy shop, but I really love being out in the public with my things, talking to people at festivals and events, talking about my work, collecting stories, seeing what other artists are doing, getting direct feedback and personally thanking the people who decided to buy something from me.

Though I wasn’t selling antiques or even vintage items, my room was in Carnegie Antiques Carnegie, just a few blocks from where I live. The owner, the generous and multi-talented Judi Stadler, is a friend of mine, and through her set of businesses, including both Carnegie Antiques and J.D. Llama Estate Sales and Appraisals, is one of my customers for design and promotion. I actually designed her website and photographed all the items on it, and I visited regularly for gift items and especially that special vintage necklace or earrings to match one of my outfits. And while I spent my weekly shift in the shop I loved wandering among the vintage items and learning about them.

judi with cookie

Cookie greets Aunt Judi.

Judi’s business at the shop has increased and she has been expanding and she can certainly use the space. We discussed reorganizing, and I had begun to prepare for that in February. But after considering and deciding that since my things weren’t moving as well in the past year, and weren’t really in keeping with the rest of what she offered, along with the occasional difficulty of my being there and not home working, I would move my things home.

I will miss, especially, the memory of Cookie as my shop cat who thoroughly enjoyed acting as Queen and greeter of all visitors, but mostly she just wanted to be with me. Through the years I’ve often seen that woebegone “Don’t go,” expression on my cats when I’ve put my hand on the doorknob, but when I looked at Cookie it was, “Take me with you.” And so I did, despite the fact that she was 17 years old and had some difficulty walking, and I had to be careful with her fluid intake even then.

tortie cat in front window

"I'm so pretty, I'll bet all sorts of customers will come in today just to see me."

She really only had the chance to accompany me about a dozen times in those two years since it was too cold in the winter to take her out, and I often had errands before and after my hours at the shop. But she really loved every minute of the special time we spent together there, just the two of us, doing something I enjoyed, and she enjoyed with me because she was my friend. She will always be with me in this venture, wherever it goes.

So all my greeting cards, note cards and writing paper, small and medium framed and unframed prints of my artwork and photographs, block prints, block-printed t-shirts and other textiles, tote bags and gift bags and anything else I find the time and space to create are now here, and all the cats are having a great time climbing all over all the boxes. There’s actually quite a bit of merchandise that I haven’t posted in my Etsy shop or on my website that you’ll soon be seeing in posts on The Creative Cat and Portraits of Animals Marketplace, and much of it will be available right here on The Creative Cat as I complete my redesign.

I my “other life” when I’m not blogging about cats and posting daily photos and creating artwork I’m a “visual designer” creating print and web products and layouts; this is pretty much what I’ve done all day long for almost 30 years; you can read more about this on my website in Graphic Design and Illustration. My dream has always been to slip farther away from graphic design and open a real bricks and mortar gallery named “Portraits of Animals” featuring my artwork inspired by animals and nature and also featuring and showing the art of others inspired by animals, and by focusing more of my efforts on the internet for now I hope to be able to do that in a few years.

You can always visit my Marketplace blog, my online Marketplace and my shop on Etsy. While Stanley has always been the symbol of Portraits of Animals because his portrait inspired it, Cookie was the feline who watched over my shop. Cookie says, “Visit, or else!”

photo of shop sign

Cookie says, "Visit, or else!"

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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.

 


A “Reorganization Sale” at Portraits of Animals at Carnegie Antiques

photo of gift shop

View of about half my shop, art, greeting cards and even a few crocheted things.

In the next few weeks I’ll be completely reorganizing my shop in Carnegie Antiques, taking home things that haven’t shown any interest and heaping up things that have, moving furniture in and out and restocking with new framed art and packaged sets of cards.

matted black and white photo of feverfew

Feverfiew Field, matted black and white photo © B.E. Kazmarski

The sale will be this Saturday, February 18, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

I’ve moved my greeting card printing to a new printer who uses new paper stock which doesn’t match the older stock. Select individual greeting cards will be $1.00 each, reduced from $2.50.

All matted photos are $2.50, reduced from $5.00.

Everything else is 10% off the price that is marked including other individual greeting cards and sets, crocheted pawprints and flowers, tote bags, framed and unframed wildlife, nature and flowers prints and anything else you can find there.

Carnegie Antiques outside

What you're looking for on West Main Street.

Carnegie Antiques and Portraits of Animals are located at 423 West Main Street in Carnegie, PA 15106.


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.


Tortie Girls Block Print Tee Shirts

The Goddess block-printed t-shirt

Cookie, "The Goddess" block print © B.E. Kazmarski

I’ve had several requests about my tortie girls t-shirts lately, so I thought I’d add the ones I have back to my Etsy site. While I am low on sizes I had put them all aside until I could print more and have all sizes available. But considering I print these in oil-based ink and clean up with turpentine I usually wait until I can have the windows open or I can print outdoors, which is March at the earliest. So for now, they are either very large or very small.

Read about the tees and about creating these prints on Portraits of Animals Marketplace.

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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.


An Open House and a Special Deal for Readers

view of my shop

View of about half my shop, art, greeting cards and note cards.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
Judi and I will join forces and open early, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will both have discounts for visitors!

I’m offering 10% off your entire order of items from my Portraits of Animals shop including greeting cards, crocheted pawprints, tee-shirts, tote bags, unframed prints and anything else you can find there.

As a bonus, I’m offering 25% off framed artwork over $25.00, both originals and prints! I’ve been framing even more prints of my feline, wildlife and nature art as well as photographs, including views of Pittsburgh. I’ll be bringing in a few originals as well, so if you’ve had your eye on something, now is the time to get it! If the cost is less than $25, the 10% discount still applies.

ETSY PURCHASES
You can see a good bit of what’s in my shop in my Etsy shop. And for recipients of this post who can’t make it to the open house, I’ll also extend FREE SHIPPING for any items in my Etsy shop through the end of October. It will be as if you bought it in person! Enter “OPENHOUSE1011″ in your shopping cart and it will automatically deduct the shipping before you pay your bill.

Carnegie Antiques

In addition, Judi has been packing her shop with so much new merchandise I can hardly keep track of it all, and she’ll be offering discounts as well. There’s new furniture large and small, sets of dishes, hand-painted china, novelties, jewelry and more. Make sure you take time to visit Carnegie Antiques too!

Carnegie Antiques and Portraits of Animals are located at 423 West Main Street in Carnegie, PA 15106.


Portraits of Animals Has Set Up Shop

photo of shop entrance

Entering my room at the shop.

Literally, I’ve got a room in a shop to display my merchandise, and I’m so happy to be there! Between moving in and setting up a shop on Etsy, that’s where I’ve been the past several days, but it’s so exciting to do this.

I love posting my art and merchandise online in my Marketplace blog and in my online Marketplace, but I’ve always enjoyed being out in the public with my things, talking to people at festivals and events, talking about my work, getting direct feedback and personally thanking the person who decided to buy something from me.

I my “other life” when I’m not blogging about cats and posting daily photos and creating artwork I’m a “visual designer” creating print and web products and layouts; this is pretty much what I do all day long, and I’ve done this for almost 30 years. You can read more about this on my website in Graphic Design and Illustration.

photo of merchandise on display

Greeting cards, notecards and small framed items.

My dream has always been to slip away from this career and open a real bricks and mortar gallery named “Portraits of Animals” featuring my artwork inspired by animals and nature and also featuring and showing the art of others inspired by animals. I had a little shop five years ago but with the demands of graphic design I could never be there, but I was seriously bitten by the bug and have been looking for an opportunity ever since.

Though I’m not selling antiques or even vintage items, I am in a room in Carnegie Antiques at 423 West Main Street in Carnegie, just a few blocks from where I live.

photo of merchandise

A stack of mugs and the poodle cloth on the table.

The owner, the generous and multi-talented Judi Stadler, is a friend of mine, and her set of businesses, including both Carnegie Antiques and J.D. Llama Estate Sales and Appraisals, is one of my customers for design and promotion. I actually designed her website and photographed all the items on it, and I visit regularly for gift items and especially that special vintage necklace or earrings to match one of my outfits.

Judi and I have been discussing this for a while, and decided the time was right as I took down my display after my poetry reading and moved it right into the room.

In this room I’ll have all of my greeting cards, note cards and writing paper, plus small and medium framed and unframed prints of my artwork and photographs.

I’ll also have framed prints of all my block prints and a selection of my block-printed t-shirts and other textiles, and the joy of that is being able to create more of them all the time; these especially don’t like to be folded and packed away for too long!

photo of shop display

The desk and my small Tabbies block prints.

I also carry mugs with my artwork printed on them, and this has always been the best way to sell them—they are more expensive to ship than the average small item, and they are so fragile that I’ve damaged them in carrying from show to show.

This is also where I can try out new items, like my gift bags, which I’ve been experimenting with for a while and think I might finally have a working design. In addition, I will have a few copies of “Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet” for sale, and may carry a few other items by other artists and authors if sales go well.

photo of art display

A few originals, a few prints.

In this case, I’m only personally there one afternoon a week, but the shop is open nearly every day while Judi or a few other friends are there. I am in the third room back on the first floor, right on the path of people cruising all the neat things Judi has packed into the place.

We were both encouraged when, as we moved my things in on a Sunday afternoon while she wasn’t even open, people driving by knocked on the door and, while browsing, purchased a few things from her and some greeting cards from my partially-unpacked display!

photo of window display

Photos and curtains and ceramicware.

During the summer months I participate in local outdoor festivals from city streets to parks and conservation areas, carrying my tent and tables and plastic bins of art and textiles all over the area in my little Ford Escort, unpacking early in the morning, packing up again at dusk and driving home; in fall and winter I find indoor events as well, and at least once a year I’ll host my own event, such as my annual Poetry Reading and Art Exhibit. I’m working on my schedule for this year, and as soon as I have some events scheduled I’ll post them.

In the meantime, my stuff is just packed away in my tiny spare bedroom/studio, and that’s a very sad thing for me—the things I create are meant to be shared, they need to be on display, and I have no room here to display them.

photo of curtains and ceramics

Kelly and Cookie keep watch at the window.

photo of printed valance

Kelly has her morning bath on the valance.

photo of lamp made of driftwood

Driftwood lamp.

photo of collector chickadee plate

Chickadee plate

So this little room and its arrangements are just perfect for right now, just enough space for me to fill, and just enough time for me to be there myself while things are available when I’m not there.

And not only that, I LOVE vintage things, all the imagination and skill that went into creating everything from 18th-century furniture to 1960s glass paperweights and everything in between. I not only get to spend time in the midst of all these things, but I also get to use a fair number as fixtures in my shop!

I can neither fit into my house nor afford all the things I’d like to have, but I can certainly use the green farmhouse stick chair to display a few things, and the turquoise wicker desk is a natural display for my fine art note cards  and writing paper. I’ve had my eye on the driftwood lamp for years, and I also found a black panther lamp with a fringed shade that I have to fit somewhere.

photo of green stick chair

The green farmhouse chair.

photo of cat figurine

The Purdue Cat.

Judi and I have been choosing animal- and nature-oriented items to display in my room, and while feline-themed things actually move pretty quickly (I have to admit I have several from her store), I did manage to find a 1950s-style modern design black cat planter from Purdue University to hold my business cards. Who would know?!

Speaking of vintage pottery, remember all those silly little planters your grandmother had holding philodendrons on her windowsills that were shaped like lambs and cows and pony carts? Those were originally designed to be used to take plants to persons who were ill or in the hospital to cheer them up, and often baby-themed ones were given to new parents (like they needed a plant to take care of). They still work fine for plants, so I’ll be planting all the little spider plant babies and cuttings from my houseplants, plus we’ll be planting herb plants in them to sell on the sidewalk flea market Carnegie hosts during the summer.

photo of poddle printed tablecloth

brown and turquoise poodle cloth, also in brown and salmon

I’m also a fool for vintage table linens from the 30s, 40s and 50s, and while you don’t see too many cat-themed tablecloths (though you do see kittens now and then), poodles were a very popular  theme as in the cloths in vintage color themes.

So if you’re in the area make sure you stop in, and if not you can always visit my Marketplace blog and in my online Marketplace and my shop on Etsy. While Stanley is the feline who watches over my shop as you can see on my Marketplace and on Etsy, Cookie is the enforcer!

photo of shop sign

Cookie says, "Visit, or else!"