Another From the Lost Sketchbook, Cookie Awakens: 2010

pencil sketch of cat on bed

Cookie Awakened, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Look what we have here! A sketch of Cookie—from years ago, found in a sketchbook I’d packed away because all the sheets were used.

Here’s what I had to say about “the lost sketchbook” when I found it two years ago:

I’ve been working my way through my desk and studio, cleaning up and organizing, and in my studio I found a sketchbook I’d used years ago.

These are examples of the quick sketches I do to awaken my creative senses during the day. This was the sketchbook I kept at my desk in order to have it handy for quick sketches. All the sketches are of my cats except for the bird’s nest at the end, and all are pencil, my favorite medium.

So these are daily sketches I did years ago, not as consistently as I do today, though.

Cookie is never unhappy about being awakened, she’s just wondering what the heck I want, and if I’m just going to sit there staring at her and not even pet her, if she shouldn’t just go back to sleep. She did just that.

Cookie is a tortoiseshell calico, and her body mostly black but is speckled all over with orange. I didn’t want to work that much detail into this, but I did include the most distinguishing characteristic about Cookie—her half-and-half face. One side is black with orange freckles, and the other side is orange with tabby markings and black freckles. The split begins on her upper lip and runs all the way back to her shoulder blades in an almost completely straight line!

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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.

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.


From the Lost Sketchbook, the Very Last One—a Bird’s Nest!

pencil sketch of bird's nest with eggs

Bird's Nest

What?! It’s been cats, cats, cats, and now a bird’s nest?

This was a general purpose sketchbook and I used it for many things in addition to extemporaneous sketches; that’s why it was at my desk.

The story behind this one, though, doesn’t have to do with my backyard wildlife habitat or my love of wild birds. I’m a member of a small business organization, and several years ago I was included in an article about small business owners setting up a retirement plan for themselves. The theme, of course, was “nest egg”, and the editors wanted some illustrative photos of us showing the nest egg theme. The nests and eggs the photographer brought were not like any I’d seen in real life, and in part because I was to be photographed out in my backyard wildlife habitat and I’d say something about studying and sketching birds and their nests, I wanted to use one of the nests I had on hand with a few reconstructed eggs. That was too realistic, perhaps, so I went to the next idea—I make my living as an artist, so I’m literally “drawing my own nest egg”.

Hence the sketch of the nest with eggs. I still like it just as a sketch too. I’ve been meaning to frame it for hanging somewhere in the house, but here it ended up in the sketchbook. Like the others, this one is also for sale. Please ask if you are interested!


From the Lost Sketchbook, Sketches I Actually Used

pencil drawing of striped cat

Stanley's Stripes, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Here is one of my favorites, “Stripes”, because those are his “racing stripes” down the back of his head; it’s my Stanley sleeping on a little bolster filled with buckwheat intended for me to use as a neck pillow. I think he liked the sound it made when he curled up on it and he practically glowed with contentment as he settled for his post-breakfast nap. I sketched this in one of his last three years of life when he slept long and deep, sometimes relaxing so much that he’d slide off the furniture. He was always vital, though, and a real character who I’ll never forget. I knew I’d frame this image for display at least and sell it as a print, and I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set. He’s a favorite as both a general purpose greeting cat and as a sympathy cat as some people have chosen this card to use for an animal sympathy card.

pencil sketch of a cat in a box

In the Box, pencil sketch © B.E.Kazmarski

And my other favorite from around the same time, “In the Box”, my Sophie, having stuffed herself into a box too small for her size, uses it as an observation point to watch out the door. Sophie was a little larger than average and had lots of fur, but she thought she was just a small cat. If I’m trying to accomplish something on my desk that I don’t necessarily want kitties walking across or through or knocking over or sitting on, I grab a handy box or two or more and set them near me. As if a magnet had pulled them there, each box I’ve set out will immediately have a cat in it. They tire of them, though and I’ll usually put them away. I don’t know how many months Sophie used this box, but it was falling apart by the time she finally tired of it and I recycled it. I knew I’d frame this image also and sell it as a print, and I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set.

pencil and watercolor sketch of a cat sleeping

Peaches Nap Spot, pencil and watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

And this pencil sketch of Peaches with watercolor washes, “Peaches’ Nap Spot”, is the other that’s been framed, sold as a print and made into notecards. Dear little old Peaches in her pastel beauty, I just love how she sleeps in a circle. I’ll never know what is so inspiring about her, but I’m so glad she entered my life, even at the grand old age of 15. She’s still going strong four years later, and is the subject of many a sketch, painting and photo.

This is probably why the sketchbook was “lost”—I scanned or photographed several works in it and framed them, so it ended up in a cubbyhole in my upstairs workroom/studio instead of returning to my downstairs office/studio. Until I recently cleaned out and reorganized things upstairs, this was in a “safe” place. Don’t get the idea that my house is really big with all these upstairs and downstairs studios—it’s 15 ft. x 22 ft., and every room is involved in all I do! That includes the kitchen and bathroom, since that’s where I print items sometimes, dye fabrics, wash my brushes and even hang artwork for inspection sometimes. That’s why the sketchbook accidentally got “lost”, space is so tight that when I tucked it away I literally had to take apart a shelf for books and art supplies to see it in the stack.


From the Lost Sketchbook, Namir on the Windowsill

pencil sketch of cat on windowsill

Namir Pencil Sketch, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

It’s obvious in this sketch that Namir had quite the Oriental breed influencing his good looks. The only problem was that he was gray tabby and white, n ot marked at all like an Oriental breed. I used to say that he was an Abyssinian cat who had been painted at birth.

I loved those huge ears, that prominent nose and whisker pads—especially since his muzzle was white and quite stood out—and those tourmaline eyes. His tail was very expressive, long and slender with a little bend about an inch from the end that only showed when he was feeling especially intense.

He fought hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure for his last four years, but with his social nature, congeniality and general busy agenda no one would have known he was even ill. Instead of “he fought” I should say “he ignored” his illness, because he did. I lost Namir on July 1, 2009, and I’ve written a remembrance of him which is not sad, just remembering all his ways and days with lost of photos and artwork, and his last day. He is also the subject of several other works, including the art in the header of this page. You can find him on my website under “My Cats” in the first page of color artwork, and under “pencil” as well as in my Marketplace in individual and sets of notecards.


The Lost Sketchbook, Cookie Not Greeting the Day

pencil sketch of cat sleeping on her back

Cookie Doesn't Want to Wake Up

Apparently, Cookie was a hot subject all through this sketchbook. Actually, Cookie is always with me, no matter what I do, because I am her responsibility, and to make it look as if she’s not really following me she simply appears in the room where I’ve gone and performs some feline activity as if she meant to do that all along. She’s the subject of a lot of photos too, for the same reason.

This one is just a light sketch because I believe it’s drawn mostly from memory. Cookie used to sleep on her back in the place of honor, right next to me, between me and the edge of the bed where I would see her first when I awoke. When she would stretch, then curl her toes and draw in her hind feet, she would also curl her front paws and draw them in to her face. I’m not sure why she doesn’t sleep on her back anymore, but perhaps it’s difficult to get out of at the age of 17!

Of course, capturing this sketch would have been planned, knowing Cookie would be sleeping on her back when I awakened, and my stirring would cause her to stretch and curl her paws. When I would have moved to get my sketchbook, she would have been curious, so I would have had a very limited time to catch her in this position. I know I intended to keep the sketchbook by the bed in order to catch her again, thinking I hadn’t caught enough of the details of her position, but I probably forgot, and this is as far as I got.

That’s okay! It’s too bad that lighter pencil lines are difficult to reproduce because there’s actually more detail than can be seen in the scan unless you look really close.

As with the other sketches, this one is for sale, matted and framed. I used to regret letting my sketches go, but I’ve grown to love the thought of sharing my kitties. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail.


The Lost Sketchbook, Cookie Again

pencil sketch of cat sitting sideways

Cookie Sitting, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I knew I had a few sketches of Cookie and until I found this sketchbook I wondered where they had gone. She appeared before now and will appear again tomorrow.

These are on the next two pages in the book, the more detailed one first, then the simple outline. I think I was in the mood for the detailed style, I can tell by my lines and how much detail I’ve worked into her markings, especially the sure, straight lines of shadow around her; I can actually feel the certainty in my hands while I look at the sketches. The sketch in simple outline is a build from the style of Nikka, which may have been weeks or even months before this, but I probably flipped through the pages.

Here she is mid-bath, sitting in her somewhat roly-poly position where it’s easiest to get her belly. I’ve got more of her markings than in other sketches and I may have rendered some of them from memory, but because another version of her in the same position appears on the next page, likely I was working quickly and Cookie was holding more or less the same position for several minutes.

Nearly all of the first sketch is drawn with the side of the pencil, where nearly all of the second sketch is drawn with the point of the pencil. Pencil is so expressive: as I said above that I can feel the certainty in my hands while I am looking at these sketches, and I can see the next place I would have gone if I had had the time that morning, using the pencil as a brush stroke, pulling it along the paper, letting the varied line form from the tip.

pencil sketch of cat sitting sideways

Cookie Outline, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski


From the Lost Sketchbook, Nikka on the Table

pencil sketch of gray cat on table

Nikka on the Table, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I was trying another style here, that simple outline with little dimensional shaping or shadow. Sometimes I get all caught up in shape and color and texture and perspective that I forget all about simple composition and arrangement of shapes.

This is Nikka, sister to Fawn, born in the first litter whose expectant mother I welcomed and who I fostered. Her name was originally Natasha and one of her brothers was Boris; their father was a big gray serious tomcat with yellow eyes that no one messed with who I had named Prince Igor, hence the East European names. Then there was the little pun from the cartoon Bullwinkle. The person who adopted her, a fan of Thelonious Monk, named her Nikka after Monk’s famous patron, though it should have been “Nica”, but I guess it’s close enough for jazz. I took her back when she was seven after that good household had turned bad.

Nikka was a dilute tortoiseshell, and like so many I’ve seen she had a wonderful soft roundness to her features, and the gray of her fur held a silvery sheen that often hid the peach and cream speckles in the gray. I know on this hot afternoon she was stretching on the corner of the kitchen table just under the ceiling fan, trying to get cool air on as much of her body as possible. I could see all those simple lines and rounded shapes, even the chair and table, though that’s not my usual style, but here she is all those years later; I lost her in February 2003.


Another From the Lost Sketchbook, Cookie Awakens

pencil sketch of cat on bed

Cookie Awakened, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Cookie is never unhappy about being awakened, she’s just wondering what the heck I want, and if I’m just going to sit there staring at her and not even pet her, if she shouldn’t just go back to sleep. She did just that.

Cookie is a tortoiseshell calico, and her body mostly black but is speckled all over with orange. I didn’t want to work that much detail into this, but I did include the most distinguishing characteristic about Cookie—her half-and-half face. One side is black with orange freckles, and the other side is orange with tabby markings and black freckles. The split begins on her upper lip and runs all the way back to her shoulder blades in an almost completely straight line!


Found Artwork, a Sketch of Stanley

pencil sketch of striped cat sleeping curled

Stanley Sleeping Curled, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I’ve been working my way through my desk and studio, cleaning up and organizing, and in my studio I found a sketchbook I’d used years ago.

These are examples of the quick sketches I do to awaken my creative senses during the day. This was the sketchbook I kept at my desk in order to have it handy for quick sketches. All the sketches are of my cats except for the bird’s nest at the end, and all are pencil, my favorite medium.

I have no idea when I did this first sketch—it’s of my Stanley curled  and sleeping. He must have moved his paw while I was sketching or he had his paws together; he would do that sometimes with those white mittens of his. I lost Stanley in January 2007, so this was prior to that. How good to see him again and remember a morning when he was still with me, as were several others, and he was relaxed and sleeping comfortably. I could never resist his stripes and sketched him repeatedly to capture those!

This is the same sketchbook where I drew Stanley in “Stripes” and Sophie in  “In the Box“. Other sketches I’ll be featuring include Cookie, Nikka and Namir.

Pencil is very difficult to scan or photograph. I photographed the sketch for this, and you can see the dark area to the top and right where the light is uneven. When I scanned it I lost all the small details. I may have more luck photographing on a day that’s got more light.

When all is done here, I will offer these sketches for sale; on rare occasions I offer them, framed, for art auctions to benefit animal shelters. I have plain black frames for them, and either use plain mat board or a color.