Daily Sketch: Spring Birdwatching

colored pencil sketch of two cats looking out the window

Spring Birdwatching, colored pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Green Giuseppe and orange Mr. Sunshine watch birds in the bare lilac and at the feeder just outside the window.

No watercolor pencil to fight with tonight, just colored pencil. The only way I could catch the two of them in the act with a sketch, especially one so detailed, is because they kept coming back to approximately the same place and the same position. I lightly sketched their positions the first time they were there, then added a little more each time they returned which made their shapes exaggerated in some areas, like Giuseppe’s tail but it works. They don’t have squiggles either, they just came out of my pencils.


Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.


A Christmas Message from Jack’s Family

Orange cat under tree

Jack at Christmas.

Earlier this year an orange kitten showed up under the spruce in my front yard—and since that spruce had once been a Christmas tree for the family who lived here years ago this kitten was kind of “the kitten under the Christmas tree”! But not for me, even though I’d been thinking about an orange kitty, as we soon discovered I was just a stopping place on his way to his intended family.

I put signs up on the telephone poles, let the local police know, posted him on the shelter websites and on The Creative Cat, sending e-mails out to friends, visited a veterinarian to scan him for a chip (negative), and talked to the neighbor kids.

But all that effort was totally unnecessary as a friend of mine read the article on Facebook and decided he was meant to be with her family, but it was more than just seeing a cute orange kitten and wanting to adopt him. With teenage children, three cats, two dogs and a guinea pig already, who would intentionally ask for more? But she felt Jack was meant for her household, Jack seemed to know them immediately, then went on to integrate into her household as if he’d always been there. It was without a doubt the easiest cat rescue and adoption I’ve ever administered, and every update, every Facebook photo, every little e-mail extolling Jack’s loving and playful personality just fills my heart.

At the end of this article I have links to the series of articles I wrote from the time I found him to when he was adopted and fitted himself into his new household.

And here is the e-mail my friend sent to me on Christmas morning along with the photo above, one of the best gifts I received, and reading her words it’s not hard to understand why I was more than happy he would be living in her home!


Dear Bernadette,

Here is a current picture of Jack, taken just a few minutes ago. I swear I take more pictures of him and the other pets than anything else. I thought your readers may like to know how the little guy is doing.

Jack is almost a year old, he is in perfect health, and weighs 10#’s, and of course he has been neutered. Jack has the best personality and character, and his curiosity is unlimited! He has three older feline “sisters” and two canine “sisters” and a fellow brother “guinea pig”; we joke that Jack is an inter-species-transgender cat. He is friends with all of his housemates. Ohmygosh, the look on his face is so priceless each time he sees one of his housemates- the look on his face is that of pure and unedifying love and delight that says “there’s MY friend, I have to go play with MY friend NOW, I just love, love, LOVE my friend and I have to say it NOW!” It doesn’t matter if the others want to play or not. Jack has a special bond with our youngest dog, oldest cat, and the guinea pig specifically, however he is equal with all of us.

It still amazes us that Jack can instantly go from being the hyper aware, pouncing and playful cat, as he is a complete and total lover boy who loves to receive affection and returns it tenfold. He will be running around the house one minute and the next, flopping down to sleep wherever he is at at that moment. Both in the middle of whatever is going on as Jack HAS to be in the center of all family activity always.

Jack has added so much joy and love to our family. We always say after adopting our latest pet that that pet is the last one we’ll adopt. However, as each pet has kept reminding us, we are meant to be together as a family. Animals have so much to say and love to offer, we mere humans need to learn to stop and listen to them. Pets talk to us all the time. And nothing brings animals/pets more happiness than to be acknowledge, accepted, while being listened to and respond back. It is so simple.

Anyway, this little unmet kitten, who we fell in love with before meeting him. And upon meeting him, we instantly knew the fit just clicked between us humans and Jack. Although naming him was a challenge- to us humans, it took us over a week to finally figure out what his name was, because he ignored every name we tried to call/name him. When we said “Jack” he perked up and responded as if to say “you silly humans, you FINALLY figured my name out! DUH!!!! Now rub my tummy!!!” (Jack responded to the character name “Captain Jack Sparrow” and the name fits. He stole our hearts and love!)

I’d like to think we adopted him and that we did so much for him, however, the reverse is true, Jack has totally settled our family and we feel complete.

Jack simply radiates love and he is more than willing to share his. We are blessed. MJIS

Follow his progress through my household:

Little Orange Kitten


An Update on the Little Orange Guy

So it’s “Captain Jack Sparrow”

A Christmas Message from Jack’s Family


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.

My Neighbor’s Orange Cat

orange cat in window

My Neighbor's Orange Cat

My neighbor’s orange cat suns herself now and then in this side window of her home, but I get the idea she’s behind that blind a little more often than she is on the windowsill, judging by her modifications to the blind.

She is an orange girl (or ginger as some nations refer to this color, I kind of like that), though statistically most orange or orange and white cats are male; that’s actually because a percentage of those orange girls turn out to be calico or tortie girls. She even nicely matches the bricks! I have one photo of her that includes the entire window, which has a nice stained glass insert at the top, and orange bricks all around…yes, it sounds like another painting…

Nice to see a good collar and nice clear tag on an indoor cat; I have blurred her tag so that her address and owner’s name can’t be seen, but I will tell you that her name is Amber Buttercup. What an absolutely lovely name—no one gives their cat a name like that without a lot of love behind it.

In any case, she wasn’t too happy with my invasion of her privacy and the ruination of her sunbath by my pointing a camera at her.  I love her expressions and the very deliberate way she lets me know exactly what she’s thinking. She gave me one last chance to disappear. I didn’t. Enjoy the slideshow below.


orange cat on wood floor


How’s this for a color-themed kitty? Riley is another rescue kitty I’ve met in the past few weeks. After an early life outdoors he now lives in a lovely remodeled home with three other rescued kitties, a few outdoor kitties who come to eat and take shelter, and two big-hearted humans.

More about Riley and his feline siblings—and his humans—a little later! In the meantime, enjoy his orangeness!

Wild Kitty Field

wild cat in field

Wild Cat in Field--can you find the cat in this photo?

Driving along a country road as the sun dropped in the west, and among the amber grains of a hayfield I see an orange kitty. Upon closer inspection he was pretty beat up, his long orange fur tangled and missing in patches, but he barely took his eyes off the spot where his prey was hidden waiting for it to emerge. Later he pounced and I caught a few images of his tail in the grass, though I don’t think he caught the critter.

Much as I’d love every kitty to have a loving home and a long-term health-care plan, I really enjoyed the sense of freedom and strength I found while watching this cat be a cat, and not a pet. With his orange fur and shaggy mane, he was truly a lion in his his own grassland.

wild cat closeup

A close-up view

I had a difficult time deciding which image to use, a close-up  so you could see the kitty, or a distance shot so you could see the scale.

Lucky kitty has this whole field to himself. More than the woods or the beach or the trails, I love a hilltop field where the light changes every moment of daylight, the grasses whisper with breezes from morning to night, and the world seems infinite. Kitty may have to share one of these days when I need to get my big-open-field fix.

Winter Tips for Pets and Outdoor Animals

Orange cat sleeping on windowsill with miniblind.

A Sunny Spot Deserves a Cat

First, get a windowsill. It’s a great place for a cat or dog—or person—to soak up the winter sunshine.

Don’t take for granted that animals can survive outdoors. Simply because other animals live in the outdoors without human intervention doesn’t mean that our pets can—and it doesn’t always mean that those animals whose habitats are outdoors live well or even survive the winter. A Chihuahua with short, thin fur or a delicate Italian Greyhound with no body fat obviously don’t have the resources of a squirrel who’s doubled his fur and fattened up on nuts and fruits (and my bird seed and suet). Cats may tolerate cold for a while, but their small bodies lose heat quickly and extremities like tails and ears can easily be lost to frostbite.

While the cat above isn’t a stray like yesterday’s kitty, I’m sure a windowsill like this one would be the dream of many a cat who’s found itself fending in the great outdoors. I’m starting off the winter tips as a follow-up to yesterday’s post about feral cats with information addressed specifically to caring for stray or feral cats outdoors during the winter.

The Homeless Cat Management Team’s website, www.homelesscat.org, has a detailed page on how to build a shelter and provide food and water for strays and ferals through the winter at Winter Care for Ferals. In addition, they also have in interesting page describing the difference between strays and ferals at What is a Feral Cat?
Keep reading…