Marketplace: The Spring Kitten

 "The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

Even though this art was a January inspiration, as the text shares below, the recent snow on various blossoms inspires me to share it now.

I once had a pure white long-haired kitty with pea green eyes and a pink nose named Sally. She was also completely deaf, and completely fearless; without distraction, she lived in her own little world, full of sleep and joy and play. She was the inspiration for many sketches, paintings and photos, and for this little piece as well; click the image to see a gallery of other black and white photos of Sally.

Sally Reclining
Sally Reclining

Almost everywhere I’ve lived there has been a quince bush, an old-fashioned favorite for its early bright pink flowers—so early, in fact, that the bush in my neighbor’s yard in the years when Sally was young bloomed every year during the January thaw, and then snow would fall on the bright pink blooms, nestling in the curve of the branches like Sally when she’d found a good cozy spot.

Below is the actual reference photo I used for this block print. Can you see the white kitten shape in the snow? Scroll down to the detail of the block print below.

Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.
Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.

Sure, I took some artistic license with the snow, but that’s what art is all about—and the shape you see below is what I actually saw when I got the photos back and flipped through them (remember those days?), and though it was years before I created this little print the idea stayed with me all that time.

Detail of "The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors
Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into a finished piece of artwork—you’ll see one of those below, modeled by Mimi. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

The style of this design was inspired after studying and practicing many illustration traditions, from Asian-inspired block prints and brush paintings to metal and wood etchings and block prints used for books and periodicals. Another photo in the series from that roll of film shows the branch with the flowers against a brilliant blue sky, and I put that together with the soft little pile of snow in the angle which became the sleeping kitten.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with black and white mats
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, black frame with black and white mats

Also inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, and manuscripts were often illustrated with wood block prints. It’s difficult for me to carve wood, so I’ve gone for artist’s linoleum, much easier on my hands.

Detail of "The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only
Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of 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. Visit my post featuring “Fawnball” and the Tabbies series of note cards for a demonstration of block printing.

I began only printing this on white rice paper in black or hand-tinted as you see here, and sold them framed and unframed.

"Spring Kitten", no tinting, black frame.
“Spring Kitten”, no tinting, black frame.
"Spring Kitten", no tinting, black frame.
“Spring Kitten”, no tinting, black frame.

I love colored rice paper as well as handmade and unusual papers, though, and every year I create a few on new and different papers.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on pink silk and rice paper
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on pink silk and rice paper

 

Of necessity, they can only have a small amount of texture and small or muted patterns so that they don’t compete with the print. I have a limited amount of space to hang prints to dry, so I’ve only used two of the papers, and am preparing for more!

 "The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

My wood-mounted and keepsake art was quite popular and fun to make, so I also made up a few 4″ x 6″ wood-mounted prints and have a few 5″ x 7″ blocks as well as small keepsake boxes on hand for the next part of the experiment.

Wood mounted Spring Kitten print.
Wood mounted Spring Kitten print.

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.

Buy a print

Options for ordering:

A. Black frame, double matted print, tinted, 10″ x 8″, $55.00; +25.00
B. White frame, double matted print, tinted, 10″ x 8″, $55.00; +25.00
C. Black frame, double matted print, black only print, 10″ x 8″, $50.00; +20.00
D. White frame, double matted print, black only print, 10″ x 8″, $50.00; +20.00
E. Print only, tinted, $35.00; +5.00
F. Print only, black only, $30.00
G. Print only on orange flecked rice paper, black only, $30.00
H. Print only on pink silk rice paper, black only, $30.00

Epilogue

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image, and I created this one before I felt really confident in my drawing skills and was experimenting with ripped-paper collage, popular in the late 80s, using a piece of matboard, construction paper and tempera paints…it’s a bit worse for the wear of 25 years, with a few pieces missing.

"Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound"
“Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound”

And of course I can’t photograph any artwork without my composition and lighting director cruising through…and it’s an interesting thought to connect my feline households of long ago with today’s in this way.

Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.
Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.

Marketplace

Sally, turned.

Another of the black and white series of Sally.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Marketplace is a feature on The Creative Cat to share the latest coming out of my studio with my readers. Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

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Copyright

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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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

4 thoughts on “Marketplace: The Spring Kitten

    • March 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, Mollie! All those years ago, from the quince bush to Sally to creating the block print, I never imagined I’d be sharing this art and then hear from someone who had one!

      Reply

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