The Eyes Have It: 2010

two black cats with eyes

The eyes have it in this vote.

Mewsette and Giueseppe open their eyes briefly to be photographed, otherwise don’t move a whisker, then go back to sleep.

Just as it was on this day in 2010, this is (one of) today’s feature photo on Today, my daily photo blog. But you won’t have to go there to see what I wrote about them on that day! This was a while before I began posting daily photos of my cats in August 2010 (seems like longer than that for some reason, not out of photos yet), and I often posted more there than here on The Creative Cat.

So here is what I had to say:

Eyes are striking no matter the species, and cats’ eyes especially because they are usually very bright colors. In a black cat’s fur, they look like gems and are often quite large in proportion to their facial features. Here they look like crescent moons in a deep night sky.

Mewsette and Giuseppe are brother and sister, two siblings of a litter of four I fostered and who still live with me. It’s a long story, but in the end they became such excellent art subjects for photography, sketches, painting and block prints. Even as adults, they are still close and tend to hang out in pairs or threes, and they sleep in a heap like kittens do, though they average 12 pounds each (that was two-and-a-half years ago).

While they look identical at first glance, I have always been able to see the differences in their features. Part of the fun of working with their images is to show those differences, and their eyes are one feature unique among each of them in color, shape and angle.

The light in this photo is somewhat cool coming from a north window with a lot of reflection from snow, so their eye colors are a little muted, but Mewsette, on the left, has very light, bright green eyes, the greenest of the litter, with very little yellow. Giueseppe’s, on the other hand, are a warm yellow amber, just enough orange so the yellow doesn’t appear lemon. Mewsette’s eyes are round like all her other features—face, head, paws, rounded ears, blunt nose. Giuseppe has wide oval eyes that are pointed at the corners, and he also has an elongated face with a prominent nose, large ears and a long body, as everything seems to be stretched.

I photograph them all the time and often use their images in my own designs as well as selling their images as stock photography. This litter is only the most recent in my household—I have about 30 years of cat photos and have the last ten years of my digitals on my website. You can see them in action in almost every entry on my blog The Creative Cat, and on my Marketplace blog you can see them in my Animal Sympathy Cards. I have eight galleries of them in the photo section on my website.

Black cats can be difficult to photograph, especially if you don’t like to use a flash, as I do not; it tends to reflect off of black fur a little harshly, creating a photo that has too much contrast, highlights flashed out and missing detail, shadows saturated with black, and very little in between. A good bit of bright ambient light from more than one direction helps to capture the details without flashing highlights. My camera is a digital SLR, but I still use many of the same lenses and photo techniques I used with my film SLR in opening up the F-stop as far as I could while reducing shutter speed to avoid motion blur and ensure a sharp clarity of all those details I had worked to preserve.

So there you have it, one of the entries that led me to consider posting daily photos of my cats along with daily photos of other subjects, which I had begun in June 2009. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to find a good photo of my cats every day, or that people would get bored with them. I’m glad I gave it a try.

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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.

 


Pretty Pleeeeze…? From A Year Ago

two black cats in green sink

Mr. Sunshine turns on the charm

Mr. Sunshine will try every charming approach to get what he wants, and right now he wants a drink of water from the bathroom faucet. Who could resist? He has the most classically beautiful face of all four of his siblings, the nice wedge shape from his chin to his ears, exotic slanted yellow eyes and long, long straight whiskers and he’s the most curvy, and he knows if he catches me just right I’ll have a hard time turning away.

Jelly Bean is in the background, taking a break from his charming routine while Mr. Sunshine works. After all, you can’t go wrong if you just sit in the sink and keep your nose right under the faucet.

I do turn the faucet on for them every day, though I make sure they also drink from the water bowls around the house. Still, a stainless fountain may be in their future.


Pretty Pleeeeze…?

two black cats in green sink

Mr. Sunshine turns on the charm

Mr. Sunshine will try every charming approach to get what he wants, and right now he wants a drink of water from the bathroom faucet. Who could resist? He has the most classically beautiful face of all four of his siblings, the nice wedge shape from his chin to his ears, exotic slanted yellow eyes and long, long straight whiskers and he’s the most curvy, and he knows if he catches me just right I’ll have a hard time turning away.

Jelly Bean is in the background, taking a break from his charming routine while Mr. Sunshine works. After all, you can’t go wrong if you just sit in the sink and keep your nose right under the faucet.

I do turn the faucet on for them every day, though I make sure they also drink from the water bowls around the house. Still, a stainless fountain may be in their future.

 


Welcome Home

black cat at window with candelabra

Welcome Home

“I’ve been waiting up for you.”

Mewsette patiently waits in the front window for my return. She really knows how to use light to her best advantage as in these photos from near Halloween!

Since I’ve lived with cats I’ve always had at least one waiting cat, a silhouette I could see even as I came down the street toward my house. Now that I work at home I’m not gone nearly as much, but I still have at least one feline silhouette in the window whenever I return, often Mewsette, but also Cookie or Jelly Bean; prior to October, it was often Peaches. Sometimes when I’ve been gone all day at a festival or something, I have nearly all of them. Their silhouettes and faces are always a welcome sight.


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!"


The Eyes Have It

photo of two black cats on chair

The Eyes Have It

Mewsette and Giueseppe open their eyes briefly to be photographed, otherwise don’t move a whisker.

This is today’s feature photo on Today, my daily photo blog. Click over there to see a larger version and read the text I wrote about these two, about this particular family of cats and about photographing black cats in particular.

I have photographed my cats for years, actually carrying a camera around the house with me to be sure I catch the moment. I often use their images in my own designs as well as selling their images as stock photography. I have about 30 years of cat photos and have the last ten years of my digitals on my website. You can see them in action in almost every entry on my blog The Creative Cat, and on my Marketplace blog you can see them in my Animal Sympathy Cards. I have eight galleries of them in the photo section on my website.


…but they found a good place to sleep…

Five black cats sleeping in a heap

A 3-D Five-Cat Puzzle

…so we’re not moving. All FIVE of the family, including mom this time, took a nap while I was trying to figure out the new blog system and lost interest in moving. They just can’t understand why mom spend so much time staring at the computer and saying bad words—just when they’ve completely cuddled and dropped back to sleep, she makes some loud remark that wakes everyone up and they all have to mill around and settle down again. It takes time to fit five cats together like that! Stay tuned.

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In the Back Yard, in Autumn

Cookie onthe Picnic Bench

Cookie on the Picnic Bench

Cookie and I spent some time in the back yard, she supervising my leaf and garden cleanup from the vantage of the picnic table. She and I haven’t spent too much time out there since Namir has been gone; she didn’t seem to have the heart for it, nor did I.

Cookie Watches

Cookie Watches

But time passes, and now that the season has changed it’s put a bit of a distance to our loss and let our memories come forth, and we remembered him and his antics, imagining what he’d be doing on a lovely day like this. Neither Cookie nor I have sat at the picnic table where the three of us spent many mornings, but this was a good day to return.

Cookie Wtih Sunbeam

Cookie With Sunbeam

Cookie really doesn’t like to have her picture taken, and when she sees the camera come out she looks everywhere but at me. However, in this one moment she looked straight at me and a sunbeam passed down through the thinning tree tops, catching the slight haze in the autumn air. He was with us, I think, in this beam of sunlight, the three of us together again.


Mewsette Has Been Pestering Me…

No More Pictures!

No More Pictures!

“Stop taking pictures of me and type my messages!” she insists. I admit, I’ve been distracted by their antics in the new bathroom and otherwise, plus there’s plain old everyday life…

Yes, yes, Mewsette, and I have plenty of other messages to send out, too! Actually, I have been taking photos of them to post and to use for my own selfish artistic purposes—see my post about “new photo galleries”, just below this one, that features two new collections.

Because she has no thumbs, she says, she cannot type her own messages and is at the mercy of my whims to disseminate her information to other felines about her tips about using the tub. In the next few days, Mewsette and I will post #2 in her best uses for the tub.

Also, I’ve been tweaking my website for easier browsing, kind of like tinkering with an old car to keep it running smoothly…soon enough it will be completely indexed and databased, but really, I’d rather blog. I’ll be posting frequently enough in the next few days to catch up with a variety of things I’d like to make sure you are aware of—Top Ten Cat Cities, the plight of pets in this economy, a crochet project, various news articles, and I’d like to introduce you to a group of friends who’ve written about cats for years and the books they’ve written.

Until then, enjoy the photos!


New Photo Galleries

God, I'm Cute.

God, I'm Cute.

Welcome to “In the Bathroom” and “The Stinkbug: A Feline Drama in Eleven Acts“, just two of the fun activities we share in this exciting household!

The photos of Mimi’s Children (and Mimi) in the bathroom were so popular that I’ve posted a gallery of the black cats and their antics in the new mint-and-white bathroom—hanging out in the tub, wrestling on the floor, rolled up in the rug, sitting in the sink waiting for the faucet to drip (the new one doesn’t drip any more, to their great disappointment…).

In an effort to have all the photos be consistent in color and lighting and style, I’ve been washing and using the same towels and bath rug for the past month, and have delayed finishing the bathroom decorating so that other items wouldn’t be distracting in the background. I’ll be glad to put up my new towels and put away all my stuff! It’s always worth it to capture that moment, though, and the opportunity to find images of two or three or four or even five cats as a matched set all engaged in the same activity is really a beautiful thing that needs to be shared. Visit “In the Bathroom“.

The Stinkbug: A Drama in Eleven Acts” was just a lucky moment catching the fab four in a group effort, along with a clear wash of winter sunlight on the landing at the top of the stairs. Stinkbugs are harmless vegetarian plant plant pests that emit a foul smell when threatened or injured, and end up in my house when I take plants in for the winter; confused, they move around sluggishly looking for their natural habitat which does often include predators…it took all four of Mimi’s Children all thinking together to figure out what to do about the bug, which emitted its smell and played dead, and eventually they left it alone. Visit “The Stinkbug“.

Observing the Stinkbug

Observing the Stinkbug

I hope you enjoy the photos! I’ll also be publishing greeting cards featuring some of these images, and any of them is available as a print in various sizes.