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 just celebrated my 26th year in this house!
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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 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. 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 it 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.
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 on 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.
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What other photos did I feature on this date?
Ten Things About Today, 2014
1. Smokie discovered packing peanuts.
2. Giuseppe is really into this kitten thing, especially when his ninja trainees adore him.
3. Bella likes pens and mice of all kinds.
4. Bella ran out of toys and chased her tail in circles until she fell down.
5. Giuseppe ran at full stretch around the corner and into the kitchen and down the basement stairs, followed by Smokie chasing him.
6. Being able to reach out and pet a kitty who recently shied or ran out of fear but who sits up to meet your hand and gets on your lap.
7. Having seven black cats escort me around the house.
8. Watching two mature cats act like kittens helping make the bed and wrestling under the sheet while kittens watch.
9. Hearing Mimi’s little bell jingle as she races up the steps to join me in the studio.
10. Typing with left hand only because I was cradling a happy, purring and very sleepy kitten on my right arm while Mimi purred on my lap.
What other photos did I feature on this date?
Our Winter Bunny, 2013
The dark curved object you see at the bottom is the back of Mimi’s head and her ears. You can see what she’s watching.
Each year around this time a juvenile bunny moves into our yard, pretty well grown up now and ready to winter over to be ready for spring. They nestle into the brush piles I have round the fence, judging by where I see their tracks leading to and fro in the snow. They visit areas in the front and back yards near the bird feeders. I know they eat bird seed sometimes, and they also clean up all the little sprouts around the bird feeders, even those that happen to sprout in mid winter.
Mimi noticed our new bunny just today. Though I am close to the street, the area is well-protected for little critters. That spruce is taller than my house and blocks the wind, and I leave the branches dense on the south-facing side of the tree. The bare branches on the shaded sides of the tree are great cover for little birds, and along with the shrubs along my property line down the side of the house it’s pretty snug.
We won’t see too much of the bunny during the day as the weather gets colder, but I always see both the front yard and back yard bunny out at night in winter, and find lots of tracks in the snow; you can see some in a photo in this post from a winter day with Cookie.
So meet our front yard bunny tucked neatly in under the edge of the spruce and the burning bush. I like the look of him there, though I took several others more close up. I’ll post them here soon. Hi bunny! Don’t worry, Mimi is behind glass, but if she was outdoors, well, you might need to put on some speed.
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The Incriminating Pawprint, 2012
Mewsette supervises my every act on my work table, from close range. I typically shoo everyone off, to their amusement, but I really do let them have their way for a while and ignore them, they soon grow bored and leave, and if they don’t I give them their very own sleeping box or basket and they are generally happy with that. Then I can get out the paints or inks or adhesives or whatever I don’t want cat hair stuck to and get to work.
However, Mewsette feels she is an artist in training; witness her success with her recent cardboard project.
So when I was printing t-shirts and she would not leave, I decided to give her a chance. I like her quiet company, and she likes it when I talk to her as I work. The blocks and ink and papers and brayers and all were already set up and prepared and I had put the tees on hangers as part of my ignoring them and doing something else to distract them.
Mewsette watched carefully, drawing closer with each step. I stirred my ink, coated my platen and inked up my block, laid down a t-shirt face up, slipped a piece of fome-cor inside, placed the inked block on it face down, flipped the shirt and slide my hand inside to press the shirt against the block to print the ink onto the fabric. This process of printing the shirts is why I couldn’t stop in the middle and move a cat who’d decided they needed to sleep on the t-shirt.
Wonderful! I did several shirts to Mewsette’s purring and squinting approval.
But then I inked up the block and turned to get a tee, turned back around, and…
…apparently Mewsette thought she’d get a start on printing the shirt, even without the shirt on the block.
“Mewsette!” I cried. “Let me see your paw!” Ha! A lot of good that would do, black ink on a black paw! But she had taken several steps and apparently “walked it off”, though how she’d done this in the time it took me to turn around and get a shirt and turn back…well, she’s a cat, that’s how.
She certainly acted apologetic, rubbing her face along my boxes of cards like a good girl, and purring and squinting up a storm.
I had her sit farther back, however, and told her she could help in a different way and hold up my piece of fome-cor when it wasn’t in use.
I’m just glad she didn’t walk on anything else with inky paws!
One very good reason to ensure your materials are not toxic to your cats, or yourself.
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Does This Bag Make Me Look Fat? 2011
Really, tell me the truth. I’m approaching seven pounds, and I’m getting to middle age, if you know what I mean. A lady has to stay slender.
Mimi, you could never look fat, especially in a bag that could hold about eight of you. Enjoy your bag.
See more Vintage Photos, scanned from prints on film through the years.
Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!
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.
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.
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
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