Kelly in Forget-me-nots

tortoiseshell cat in forget-me-nots

Kelly in forget-me-nots.

Kelly has been stepping out into the back yard with me now and then, even asking at the door to go out. She’s never shown any interest in the 15 years she’s been with me until this spring, and I can’t help but think she associates the outdoors, and the spring forget-me-nots, with Cookie, as I do. Kelly is now the lone senior cat, and she’s very lonely without an older kitty to cuddle with and protect her; she’s a little intimidated by the gregarious black cats. Observing what she does, I think she’s looking for and communing with Cookie, again, as I do.

This is a kind of an odd angle—I had my zoom lens as I’d been photographing details of forget-me-nots and buttercups together and the cranesbill geraniums and columbines with raindrops from last night’s storms. Kelly’s a little foreshortened, but it’s a good view of her face and those brilliant green eyes; even without the reflection of lush vegetation, Kelly’s eyes are like gems. It’s hard to believe she is 18 this year because she is still active, lithe and graceful, and because she was the youngest for 11 years I still think of her as the little one.

Read Kelly’s story in five parts: A Little Bit About Kelly.

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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.


Kelly With Grapes and Apples

view of cat with server plate and fruits

Another Kelly Still Life.

Kelly is on a roll with these late afternoon baths on the cabinet in front of the window. She is lovely in all her poses, long legs dancing around, tail curving gracefully, her very shape a focal point.

Here I really did try to get one of her similar to Kelly with Squashes and perhaps even Kelly with Apples and Scale, prowling around the kitchen with my camera to get just the right angle. Because it’s not just the shot but what’s in the background and I really didn’t want my crusty ancient refrigerator with all the refrigerator magnets, or the cars parked on the street seen through the window, and the sun had to be shining on the green compote with the fruit, and shadows had to fall across the wood, but mostly Kelly had to be at the right angle to the sun, in one of her interesting and elegant shapes, partly in silhouette and partly illuminated. And the center of my kitchen is dominated by the big white cabinet and a table and chairs so I have a little path and can’t quickly get from here to there to catch Kelly in a classic pose as she twirls or my movements startle her. And then one of the other cats wants in the still life and it all falls apart. So if anyone finds it difficult to get interesting photos of their cat, they are absolutely correct, it’s often nearly impossible, but very much worth it for one good shot.

I couldn’t get the sideways angle I wanted, so I took one from above because the scene was actually quite interesting from my viewpoint. I am not this tall. I held the camera (that big DSLR) above my head, pointed, let it self-focus and hoped for the best. It’s nice.

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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.

 


Did I Hear There Was Milk? 2011

tortoiseshell cat curved in bath

Graceful Kelly

Funny, when I looked at this photo the first thing I thought was, “If I saw Kelly like this today, this would be a daily sketch.” Aha, I see a little farther into this that I was getting the daily sketch urge this far back in 2011, yet it took me until December to actually get around to it. Glad I did. As usual, I have a cat to thank for one of my creative efforts.

Kelly shapes herself into a graceful curve in mid-bath as I open the refrigerator door.

I don’t give my cats milk very often, but Kelly gets on these kicks where she demands it whenever I open the refrigerator door. I don’t usually give it to her, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask because every now and then, on my silly whim, out comes the little milk dish and Kelly gets a treat.

But Kelly is just so pretty here bathing gracefully in front of the plants. In fact, Kelly is graceful no matter what she does.

And I think it may be time for me to grab that sketchbook as often as the camera since I’ve been visualizing sketches and paintings in greater detail every day. I used to sketch something each day, often it was my cats though it might be an interior scene or something in my yard, usually in pencil, but sometimes in other media, just to keep my fingers in the mix. So much has happened in the last few months it’s been difficult to focus on quick sketches, which demand more attention than larger works, though for shorter periods of time.

So I decided to use a little help from PhotoShop to see what Kelly would look like in a rough, impressionistic sketch. I used the same photo as above, applied the “dry brush” filter and made the brush strokes fairly large. But the filters in PhotoShop don’t produce a realistic effect. If I was teaching I would grade the products of PS filters around the mid-range, but then it’s a computer making the decisions, and creative effort is one area of human endeavor where a computer will never produce work as individual and insightful as a human being.

For instance, I work in pastel, but I’ve never seen anyone produce a pastel sketch or painting anything like what PS produces with its “rough pastels” filter, but the “dry brush” filter is somewhat like what I’d visualize in pastel. But it looked a little dull so I also had to fool around with the contrast and brightness, and I also added a 35% deep yellow “photo filter” to warm it up a bit.

Still, I want highlights and deep rich areas, and I want to see orange in Kelly and green in the plants and it just wasn’t happening, even when I went back and adjusted the original photo. I think I’d also take the red from the medallion at the top and from the bricks and add it elsewhere in the painting so everything wasn’t in basic earth tones. Those are the artistic judgments I’d make before I even started, and it never ceases to amaze me how far I wander from my reference images while painting, and yet the finished painting is perfectly acceptable. Guess I’d better get out the pastels. In the time I’d spent on this I could have had a passable sketch done! But still, this gets the little painterly cells firing in my brain. And right now Kelly is over there meowing for her dinner, so I’d better get to it.

Yes, I’d better get to it!

photoshop effect on photo

A painterly version of the same scene.

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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.


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.


Suddenly Spring: 2011

tortie cat in greens

Cookie is in the green.

Last year, April 23 was a rainy day just like today, but the forget-me-nots were just getting started. I’ve been looking forward to this picture of Cookie, along with the Queen Bee, below, on the picnic table.

Cookie sits amid the sprouting grass and forget-me-nots, deciding where in the yard to explore first.

Just a week ago Cookie’s speckled tortie coat still blended into the background of dormant grass, leaves and twigs and I would often lose track of her when she stood still. Now I have no problem at all as everything has greened up in just the past week and her camouflage has lost its effectiveness.

We’ve been checking the progress on what we planted in the garden last month, and this week the peas finally began sprouting, and while the spinach and lettuce had sent up a few scouts earlier they sprouted in earnest this week and began to grow. The asparagus sent up some spears and the violets, along with the forget-me-nots, added some color to the greenery. Cookie and I are glad our back yard is finally starting to look familiar, and it’s warm enough to take our walk!

And Cookie got to take a little rest on our picnic table, one of her favorite spots. Now it’s in dappled sun but when the trees leaf out it’s pretty much in shade. We took a little time to remember Namir; the three of us spent quite a few mornings and afternoons out there, and the picnic table was always a favorite spot for observation.

And with that, it’s officially the outdoor season.

tortie cat on picnic table

Cookie is ready to supervise my work.

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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.


Springtime Snack

cat eating cat grass

Kelly enjoys a snack.

It has barely sprouted and it’s still very thin, but Kelly is too happy about her greens to wait for them to grow bigger. She is so excited that she talks about it, leaps onto the cabinet, talks some more, eats a bit, goes back to the table, then does the whole thing all over again.

The others have been nibbling as well, but they seem to understand Kelly has first dibs on it.

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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.


Daily Sketch: Kelly in Warm Colors

pastel painting of sleeping cat

Kelly in Warm Colors, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Because I always hope she feels the warmth of love.

I hadn’t set out to do quite this, but this was what resulted from a lovely ideal of Kelly sleeping quietly in the sun…right after her hatha yoga bath. It turned out to be all about Kelly today, but she was so enjoying the sun on that cabinet, and I was so enjoying her.

This is done in my old friend, pastel, or chalk pastel to differentiate from my new friend oil pastel (read this article to understand the difference between and how they are made). Normally my “native” medium, I’ve been wandering away from it lately just to get a break and experience other media. This is the joy of daily sketches for me, that little exploration. Now I am eager to get back to my friends, my pastels.

A few notes on the colors, as always…the deepest colors on her are two shades of warm purple, more like violet than indigo, as it appears here, which softens the shadows instead of sharpening them as you see here. Also the blue in the background at left is cooler, not the turquoise you see; I think it draws too much attention to itself. But nothing is ever perfect, and I am never happy with what my scanner does with color. I hope you like it nonetheless.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

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.


Forward Bend

tortoiseshell cat bending forward

Kelly demonstrates a tortie forward bend.

Kelly’s hatha yoga bath turns into a sun-warmed meditation session as she pauses in mid-belly-bath to enjoy a moment of nourishing sun in perfect stillness.

But when I practice yoga, she is all about instructing me, strolling around in upward and downward cat and talking to me. I don’t get a moment of peace.

Wonder where all the scratches came from on this cabinet top? Obviously a favorite place, just perfect for an old salvaged cabinet meant to take a beating.

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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.


The Butterfly

red admiral butterfly in forget-me-nots

The Butterfly.

The forget-me-nots were a happening place this afternoon, flower stems waving with the weight of various bees and other insects. And butterflies were out in force in the garden this afternoon.

But this Red Admiral was special. Why else would a black and orange and cream butterfly be fluttering among the forget-me-nots, skipping just a few flowers ahead of me, happily flitting from one place to another?

tortoiseshell cat in forget me nots

My Little Butterfly.

Cookie loved the forget-me-nots. It’s where I remember her best in all the years in this house. Butterflies also indicate a visit from the spirit world. And a butterfly in Cookie’s colors fluttering about in the forget-me-nots, when I just happened to be walking out to the compost bin (yes, with my camera) is too much of a coincidence.

I know I’ve written quite a bit about Cookie lately, but it’s not because I’m trying to remember her. You’d be hearing just as much about her if she was still alive, she was just that present in my life every day. And in many ways, she still is and always will be. But especially in the forget-me-nots.

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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.


Cookie as Photo Assistant: 2011

tortie cat in front of painting

Cookie, My Photography Assistant

Photographing framed artwork through the glass is a difficult proposition at best and not always successful, but a helpful tortie can check your angles and settings and add her magic to your skill.

Here you can clearly see Cookie’s black knee socks. I’ve always loved her black knee socks. She also has a saddle, which I’ve alternately compared to the stripes on a caterpillar. And her little fanny pack, carried under her belly, is clearly marked with her white patch. I’d better be careful, she’s watching me type this.

Why would I photograph art through the glass? Because the person who purchased it from me years ago, before I had the capacity to take adequate photos of  my artwork for reproduction, temporarily loaned it back to me and I didn’t have the time to take the art out of the frame, then put it back in and repaper the back. Too many helpful paws in the house.

Cookie worked in this position for many years. Digging back through very old photos a few months ago I found the first one I took of Cookie being my art photo assistant, when she was about one year old and I had lights, reflectors and a tripod set up in my basement. I didn’t photograph through the glass but actually put the frame together without the glass and photographed the art, took it apart and placed the glass then finished it up. Here Cookie is checking the position of one of my lights.

tortie cat with painting

Cookie my art assistant, at age one!

And here she was last summer when I photographed the black cat sculpture I’d done in college, after she’d been promoted to studio supervisor. I think she had a thing for lighting…

tortie cat with sculpture

Cookie, as studio supervisor, tells me the lighting is all wrong.

But the day I took the top photo in April 2011 Cookie was really in a mood for strutting her stuff as I packed up the artwork and my camera, and was quick to point out that I hadn’t moved her table far enough away from the deck railing, uncertain of the balance of a 19-year-old cat. She apparently needs to walk all the way to the end of the railing at the other set of steps, turn around and come back and step down onto the swing and invite me to sit with her. Guess she showed me. Of course, I took her advice.

tortie cat on deck railing

Cookie Walks the Plank

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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.