The Artist’s Life: Filling the Spaces With Inspiration

charcoal sketch of cat sleeping
“A Vigilant Nap”, black and white charcoal pencils on gray toned paper, 4.5″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Deadlines looming and more to be met, the phone rings and another deadline is planned. Through the day, work is to be done in the office, in the studio, even work-related projects in the kitchen and basement, and all day I start this and finish that, run up and down steps and stand and sit and plan and decide and design and paint and pack, and even non-work-related projects with paperwork and appointments, and cats in need elsewhere, and future events to plan for, and paintings and poems and prose I’d love to find the time for.

But I can always find the time to pet a cat, because there has always been one near me, conveniently within reach, on call for me without regard to their intent at the moment. Giuseppe rests on my worktable but he is not asleep; I say his name and he gets up and stretches and takes the few steps to reach me, purring. But this is only after I have had the necessary distraction of inspiration from that everyday flow that I love, I turn from my computer and find him, my eyes filled with highlights and shadows and pencil strokes as I envision on paper his silhouette, his whiskers, his nose and ears, the muscles along his back,  and I quietly pull the appropriate sketchpad and charcoal pencils from their spots and spend a few minutes in creative bliss with one of my favorite subjects.

My day, my life, would not be what it is without the intervention of this lifetime of feline spirits, so quietly and gently fitting themselves into the spaces that not a human nor any other species could fill, to make my life complete, even when they playfully lead me away from my own pursuits to greater aspirations and inspirations. I wonder sometimes when they pile up around me or even on my lap if I am in such need of distraction that they need to work so hard, or if the overflow of inspiration some days is their intent for what I need in that moment or just their natural being. Every sketch, every painting, every poem, every photograph, every essay, transports, advocacy, is all in thanks for what they have all given me each day. Even back to my beginnings as an artist, they have always been there, just within reach.

pastel portrait of cat under bed
Waiting for Mom, pastel, 16″ x 23″, 1988 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski


I debated posting this under “The Artist’s Life” because it’s really just as much about living with cats, but that would have made the title much longer—and I doubt I’d be an artist today if not for these inspirations.

Read more Essays and articles under The Artist’s Life on The Creative Cat.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals.

You can find prints, greeting cards and gift items featuring “A Vigilant Nap” and “Waiting for Mom” and other paintings, sketches and photos featuring my cats on my website, Portraits of Animals.

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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© 2016 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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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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.

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