Vintage Photo: The First Cat Photo Taken in This House, 1991

Kublai, my lighting director.
Kublai, my lighting director.

Yes, it took me until the next year to photograph pretty much anything in my house, let alone any of my cats. I probably couldn’t find my camera in all the mess! But here is Kublai, my lighting director, as I’m trying to photograph my early sketches and paintings to document them. The photo studio was in the corner of the basement. I wasn’t thinking when I covered that old metal desktop with tattersall print contact paper so that it reflected in the glass. Kublai knew he looked good no matter what he did. Why wouldn’t I photograph him whatever chance I got?

But once I was in this house and settled, I resumed my artwork and began photographing the original art I’d already done. Then, of course, I began photographing my cats. The rest is history.

I will soon celebrate my 28th year in this house!

And the sketch was the first color sketch I did, and it wasn’t even in pastel except in a few places—it was in colored chalk!

"Find the Kitty in This Painting", colored chalk on mat board, 12" x 19", 1988 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Find the Kitty in This Painting”, colored chalk on mat board, 12″ x 19″, 1988 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I didn’t have pastels and wouldn’t spend the money on them until I knew I’d use them. But I couldn’t get the shadows with the colors of chalk I had, and that made me purchase a few pastel pencils. Later, I invested in the cheapest set of pastels in the art supply store where I later worked. The frame was hand-finished by someone else, who later put it in the trash, where I found it. It’s sponged pink and green with a walnut finish sponged over top. Matched my painting perfectly.

. . . . . . .

Another Memory

A black cat sleeping on the windowsill.
A black cat sleeping on the windowsill.

While driving down Main Street and ready to stop at a light, I looked up at a window I often glance at as I pass. And there in the window was a black cat reclining, just the his ears showing the shape was feline. He was in deep slumber, guessing by his posture and the position of his ears.

This window, though very much changed over the years, is on the second floor above what is now a retail space, but 26 years ago was an office. When the owners of the house I rented told me they wanted to renovate and sell the house and I realized I had to move, I first looked for rental places. I looked at this apartment, the whole second floor, one big room the whole width of the narrow building and deep front to back, one big window at each end (one of the big changes), great for an art studio, I thought, and no garden to distract me, I could just do art all the time and all the cats could just laze around in all that sun and space. And would that be Kublai napping on the windowsill? Cleaning would be a breeze compared to a ten-room house.

I was seriously committed to this idea, but gave myself time to think about it, and once I discovered what current rents were and determined the cost of renting versus the cost of a mortgage payment I began to waver. My rent in the house was seriously low, but rents had gone up in the five years since I’d moved in there. I looked into mortgage programs and determined I had money saved already and could come up with the rest of the down payment through an increase in freelance design and production I had picked up. Paying one-third to one-quarter of what I prospected to for living space was a better deal for my upcoming career as an artist, I knew, as was having my own space to modify as necessary.

In the end, that was what I did, but part of me still dreams about that option of moving into a studio and where I might be today if I had done that. Those four windows, that space around them, was one large multi-paned window nearly as big as the wall itself. It still seems such a cool thing to do, but I think I knew it wasn’t for me.

What the upstairs looked like.
What the upstairs looked like.


Photos From the Archives and Vintage Photos

Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.

Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals



Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!

portrait of black cat on floor
Are You Looking At Me? pastel, 17″ x 22″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

This is the guy who started it all–and nearly the last one to have his portrait done! I’ve used his image in other works, but I’ve finally decided that the best depiction of his personality is of him being silly, rolling around in the sun and making sure I noticed how handsome he was.

Read more, and purchase.

"Find the Kitty in This Painting", colored chalk, pencil, charcoal, pastel pencil on mat board, 12" x 19", 1987 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Find the Kitty in This Painting”, colored chalk, pencil, charcoal, pastel pencil on mat board, 12″ x 19″, 1987 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’m going way back to my beginnings with this painting/sketch. It predates all of my pastels, but is actually my first work in color, when I decided to move from pencil to try to interpret some of the lovely colors I saw in the world around me, and especially in my cats.

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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© 2019 | | 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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