“Stanley With Geraniums” was not a daily sketch but was a new piece of artwork I’d created in 2013 in time to use it as my July featured artwork and desktop calendar. There’s no flag or anything in this sketch, but I took the photo around Independence Day 2006, the last summer Stanley was with me. Here’s what I had to say in 2013 when I introduced it.
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This painting is one I’ve wanted to do for years—since the very moment it depicts, in fact, on July 9, 2006, when Stanley and I enjoyed a Sunday morning on the deck.
As I’ve been digging through old photos while I’ve been moving them to my studio and organizing, both prints and digitals, I’m finding special moments I’d forgotten, moments of inspiration, beauty and especially a growing closeness with my older generation of cats even as they stepped ever closer to their last days with us. While it seemed like any other morning, looking at the rest of the photos from this day, I can see this was a quietly memorable morning. This was Stanley’s last summer with us, he’d been with me for 21 years and at my best guess was 25 years old, and he and I spent every possible moment together, especially out on the deck. While he slept most of the time and was fragile and often confused, each time our eyes met we built a deepening bond I’ll always carry with me; we had lost Moses and Cream in the spring, Lucy had just joined us in June, and though there were seven (or more) other cats in the house, Stanley and I carved out time for just the two of us nearly every day.
And on this morning when I looked at Stanley sleeping on the table I knew I’d want to remember this moment and to paint it, and visualized the painting in this style. But believe it or not, for as often as you see this particular style of ink sketch with watercolor washes, I was not at all skilled with it at that time and had only tentatively experimented in a few sketches. The desire to see this painting on paper was one of the driving forces for me to work this out, find the right drawing pen with the right ink, the right brushes and set of watercolors. And finally, seven years later, here it is.
The details are comforting to look at: the round picnic table where I’ve spent so much time with and without cats; the faded linen dishtowel calendar with the cardinals, one of many with birds, all of which are beyond threadbare and completely faded now; the mug I loved for my Sunday morning coffee; the binoculars my mother had used to watch birds and I “inherited” for birdwatching, given to her by someone who’d served in Viet Nam; the geraniums, collected over years from friends and family, overwintered and renewed each year—they are ancestors of the ones you see in my photos today.
Here is the reference photo, and as I remember Stanley this month—we had a little escape in July that year which I’ll be writing about—I’ll be sharing other photos as well.
You can see I took a number of liberties with lightening the entire scene and reorganizing some of the flowers, but this particular digital camera was not terribly accurate for color or lighting, and being able to change some of the details is part of the fun and challenge of creating an original piece of artwork. I actually liked the flag in this photo and had originally intended to include it because I’d brought it home from the Carnegie Memorial Day parade I’d taken my mother to in May and that was a memory too, but I didn’t want to “date” this painting for a holiday or event, or set it for a country since many of my readers and collectors are from other countries. That detail was not so important to me as the others I included.
Where to find this artwork
Many people asked if I’d offer this as a print, and so I have, and I am also offering the original for sale, framed, matted only, or art only. Read the details on Portraits of Animals or you can purchase from right here.
Stanley With Geraniums prints are made in archival inks on Epson Velvet Art Paper, Cold Press Digital Giclee Paper or Artist Canvas.
I also have Stanley With Geraniums available as a 5″ x 7″ greeting card. This card is available in the listing with the artwork.
For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit Portraits of Animals in the “Daily Sketches” section.
Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Three Years of Daily Sketches.
And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.
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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 without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun! —