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.
A New Member Thank You
You can get a free matted print when you register for an account on Portraits of Animals.
Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free double-matted print of “Holly on the Rocker” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects.
The New Member print is a signed digital print of “The Sunny Upstairs Window”. This print is 8 x 11 matted to fit an 11 x 14 frame.
This print is only available as a new member gift during this month while it’s the featured artwork and desktop calendar, so make sure you sign up before the end of the month!
Or purchase the original or a different print or item
I also offer a variety of digital and canvas prints, find this on Portraits of Animals.
You can also order this image as a greeting card.
This month’s desktop calendar
If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.
How to download and use your desktop calendar
- Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
- For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
- For mobile devices, press on the image to bring up a menu and choose “open in new window”. Go to that window and press until a menu appears and choose as “set as wallpaper” or “set as lock screen” or whatever you’d like—this is slightly different on all devices.
Horizontal and HD monitors and screens
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Square monitors and screens
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Small Mobile Devices and Tablets
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Cell Phones and Smartphones
Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.
Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
I like rich colors, and with the colors in this painting I knew the combination I wanted for the original, above. I’ll also frame a print in this combination, available from the main listing for this artwork.
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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