Years ago a gallery wouldn’t accept one of my paintings of cats because they “didn’t show cats”. They didn’t mean that one particular painting because they pointed out that it was in good Impressionist style, but because art of cats had become so stylized and cute that no matter the actual style cats as a subject were not considered “real art”. One of my goals with painting cats, along with capturing that one incredible moment to remember in all its detail, was to paint and sketch cats as I do any other subject like a vase of flowers or the landscape, to move away from stylized media and themes and to present them as a subject for fine art. I like to loosen up their shapes, use non-representational color, just capture my “impression” of a scene.
If you’ve been following my sketches for any length of time, you’ve probably seen gradual changes that begin with a particular sketch—adding new media, using a new color palette, finding a new style, even using a new and different paper. In my everyday life as an artist I took the time to experiment far less often, in part because I did less art, and because my visualization and aesthetic senses moved more slowly. With my daily practice everything happened faster, and with more daring I’ll add.
Up to this point I’d done most of my sketches away from my studio, with my toy bag full of older, lower-quality and well-used pencils, pastels, charcoal, pens and even sketch pads. The sketches were just for practice after all, and I didn’t want to use “good” materials on what was basically a quick and temporary item.
But leading up to this with oil pastels and ink and watercolor, this particular morning I picked up my imported pastel paper and my really good pastels and quickly came up with this sketch, and it was truly inspired and enhanced by using the better materials. The two girls have such dimension and interest all over their tiny figures, the light streams in and changes tone and color just as natural light tends to do, and even the shadows have dimension. Let that be a lesson to me.
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Mimi and Mewsette enjoy the morning sunshine in front of the sunniest window in the house.
Friday morning was the first of several completely sunny mornings after a row of somewhat dark and rainy ones. All the cats were gravitating to the back of the house, facing east, as the sun streamed in the back door into the kitchen, and in the windows at the top of the stairs and in the bathroom.
I also recently took all the geraniums outside, so this top level of the wardrobe is now accessible, and a perfect spot to enjoy a sunny morning.
In my studio for part of the morning, I used the very Italianate Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and a small set of my Sennelier pastels. Typically, what I have easily available downstairs in my toybox of art materials is not this quality of stuff, but in my studio I can play around with other things.
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.
A collection of 34 images of feline artwork
The award-winning* Feline Style Sampler
Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.
*Certificate of Excellence, Cat Writers’ Association 2014 Communications Contest
Gifts Featuring Cats You Know!
Originals and Prints inspired by rescued cats from Portraits of Animals!
I sold the original of this sketch, but prints on paper and canvas are available. Read more and purchase.
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!
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