July 2018 Special
25% Off Garden Flags
Decorate your garden for summer, back-to-school and autumn with stylish cats! Only $11.25 per flag with your discount, including shipping, handling and tax.
These “garden flags” are 11″ x 15″ and digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.)
Now through the end of July 2018, 25% off the purchase of a garden flag.
Use code GARDENFLAGS25
Purchase flags here, or scroll down and read about each design.
Only one Meow-lo-ween flag left!
Impressionist Cats Garden Flag
Each flag has a design on both sides. “Stanley With Apple” is on one side and “White Cat Reflecting” is on the other side, so you can show Stanley with his apple for early autumn, then change it out with another flag for October and winter holidays, then next spring put it out again with “White Cat Reflecting“. I also offer this art as a print on paper, canvas as well as greeting cards and note cards.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Stanley With Apple
In August when my felines and me watched the neighbor kids running for their bus in the morning on the first days of school I remembered this sketch of Stanley from the previous June. It not only had an apple, the universal symbol for “school”, but the background looks like one of those green chalkboards with chalk dust all over it! It’s time for Back to School!
The original sketch was the daily sketch for June 22, 2012 and I reprised it in June 2014; on the same day in June 2012 I posted the original photo I used for this sketch, taken on film in 1990 or so. You can see the sketch below and the photo above.
I originally took that photo as a reference for a future painting, and like so many others the photo remained packed in my boxes of photos for years, unseen, except that the image itself stayed with me.
In 2012 when I’d reorganized my photos I’d dug past it in one of the boxes and remembered it. When I decided I needed to post it here as a vintage photo I knew exactly where it was, and then later that day decided to use it for my daily sketch. It’s tiny, 5″ x 7″, and the paper is rough so the details are loose but I think it captures the composition; there are things I would change, there are always things I’d change, and perhaps someday I’ll do the larger painting where I can capture all the details and those things I would change.
But for now, I’m very happy to see this as a sketch. To think I took that photo nearly 24 years ago, before I had done most of what I have today. 24 years ago my rendering would have been quite different, or 10 years ago or last year or even yesterday, literally and metaphorically colored by my experiences in life and as an artist, and even the quality of sunlight coming in the window.
And 24 years ago Stanley was about 9 years old, not even halfway through his 25 years.
White Cat Reflecting
My white cat was endlessly inspiring to me, and I would need two lifetimes to recreate all the images of her that I have photographed and saw every day. Sally was deaf and spent most of her days in her own little world in pursuit of her own happiness, which when possible included a rest, nap or long snooze in the sun. Here she alights briefly on the stool, reflecting the sunlight onto all that is around her while she reflects on the events of her day so far and just what is to be done next.
Sometimes a more finished, finely-detailed painting isn’t the best way to capture an animal’s personality, and especially not my capricious little Sally. I believe I painted this in June because that is when the sun comes in the dining room window at this angle. Please read more about Sally and this sketch in “White Cat Reflecting”.
Two Cats After van Gogh Garden Flag
These “garden flags” are digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.) Shipping is included.
Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s two from my “Cats After van Gogh” series of oil pastel sketches, with “Two Cats After van Gogh” on one side and “In Window Light” on the other. Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area.
My garden flags are designed with images of my feline artwork, from the quick colorful sketches I create each day to my detailed fine art paintings. They are made locally to me and I can work closely with the printer and have smaller quantities made, and therefore offer more designs.
I ship the garden flags flat so there’s no worry about excessive curling. Please ask about the brackets.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
I’m so pleased this design won both a Muse Medallion and the President’s Award in the 2013 Cat Writers’ Association communications contest, and it was also one of the main inspirations for pursuing the idea of somehow, some way, printing my art on garden flags. And the bright colors and the blue on both sides of the flag are meant for your summer yard!
A bit about the designs
When I first painted the original painting in this series, “Two Cats After van Gogh”, I posted my impressions and reasons for the style I’d used in oil pastel:
I am channeling Vincent van Gogh tonight, trying to work the same energy and form I see in his brush strokes. I can layer with oil pastel, but can’t apply or build up the thickness of medium that can be accomplished with paint; this sketch is also quite small, about 6″ x 5″, so I can’t work all the little strokes in as I’d like, but perhaps I’ll actually try this on canvas at some point, and something a little bigger.
I traveled with a friend in April 2012 to see the “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit. Although it seems I love the Impressionists best, van Gogh is a step apart from the Impressionist styles we find most familiar in Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt with his stylized forms and brilliant, often non-representational colors. I’d only seen a few original van Gogh paintings, and taking in an entire exhibit intended to show you van Gogh’s work near enough to touch and to see his influences filled my head with dimensional flower petals, rippling wheat textured in fields, dappled leaves seeming to move with the extra layers of paint—and colors! I closely studied the way he roughly blended colors into one another and what colors he used, the brilliant greens contrasted with the earthy sepia, lots of yellow and blue.
All the way home on the Megabus I remembered the colors and shapes and textures, and wanted to work the same energy and form I saw in his brush strokes, visualizing oil pastel to layer and blend the strokes as an experiment. Arriving home in Pittsburgh just a few hours later I saw Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, just quietly hanging together on the landing, Giuseppe sitting upright, Sunshine loafing, and visualized exactly what I would sketch.
Since then, when the pull of the textures and layers and colors draws me in, I’ve worked several other images in oil pastel in similar style. Oil pastel is not a popular medium, and I found it difficult to learn to handle. I’d actually done a few other landscape and still life paintings with them years ago, but put them aside in favor of my chalk pastels in my tiny crowded studio.
And the second one that’s on the other side of this flag, “In Window Light”:
Here Mimi lounges in the light from the window, slipping in under the mini blind. Who doesn’t know that posture of the vigilant kitty, not sleeping, just kind of hanging out and waiting for…well, humans tend to be pretty dull, but that gives kitties a lot of resting time. In the strength of the sun, all colors appear in her fur and on the old marble windowsill and the hot yellow sun outside the window, and I’ve no doubt Mimi enjoyed her nap.
Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things
Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s the same on both sides, but mirrored. This art is the only one in my set of garden flags that is not a sketch or painting, but a photograph–and a very favorite photograph called “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things”, taken in 2005. I also offer this image as a greeting card and as a print on paper, canvas and more.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Sophie could use any prop to dramatic effect, and the lace curtains were her favorite. Of course, you can’t see her. But if you look closely you might see a cat’s face through the lace that might have Sophie’s big green eyes with heavy eye-liner, and her tabby babushka and outlined nose.
I took a number of other photographs the same day I took “Sophie Keeps and Eye on Things”, all with the lace curtain filled with early evening sun. I was preparing to leave the house on my bike and had my original little 2MP digital camera, and because Sophie always fussed when I was leaving she got extra attention, inside and out. Never sorry for spending that time!
In the evenings I closed my curtains before I left. Sophie always watched me leave the house and she took the opportunity to play around with the curtains—often I had to inspect the lace to see her white fur through the mesh, or she dramatically appeared from between the panels, around the edge or underneath, but she was always there with her big round eyes.
On this day, in the late afternoon, the warm spring sun angled into the window imparting a creamy tone to the lace, and the forget-me-nots I’d planted in pots in the windowbox were in full flower. Before I left I closed the curtains because I’d be gone after dark, and Sophie began her little game while I was still indoors, so I stopped and captured a few images of her silhouetted and peering through the curtain at me.
Then I finally went out the door and, as I always did, stopped to look back at both my front windows and the door to see which kitties were bidding me farewell, or sending me on a guilt trip, depending on their attitude. I don’t remember who was at the other window or the door, but Sophie managed to find an open spot to peer through the lace at me in several different ways. I had my bike and my hands full of things, and only my little 2MP digital with no zoom, and wished I had my Pentax film camera at least, knowing the shot would be difficult with the tiny digital. I considered stepping back in to get the film camera, but knew she’d move and I’d never see this particular shot again. So I put everything down, kicked out the kickstand on my bike, pulled the digital out of its little wallet, pointed and clicked, several times, and hoped for the best. And I got it.
I lost Sophie at the end of 2006 and hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Her rescue story is also one of the funniest of all my rescue stories, so take time to read “The Housewarming Cat”: http://thecreativecat.net/the-housewarming-cat-2/#.VHmdvsmEzbE.
So in photographing your cats, let that be a lesson to you! Do your best with what you have, and don’t hesitate, just take the photo. If you don’t capture the shot you wanted you may get something else entirely, and you may come up with something fantastic.
Only one flag left!
This sketch from Halloween night in 2012 as I handed out my candy and all the knocking got to be a bit much for these four was destined to be a Halloween design. I put together my desktop calendars, but when I designed the card the sketch needed a little something extra so I drew a pumpkin to add to the design.
Unlike the others, this flag is solid purple on the back. When light shone on the flag the design on the opposite side could be seen in silhouette, so this one I printed only on one side.
Find more garden flags.
Mimi is pretty pleased with her representation.
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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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! —