Before I was an artist, I was a writer. While I did many creative things and took a few art classes, what I really wanted to be was a writer; while most people think any degree I might have is in art, I actually have a BA in English with an emphasis on writing, and hoped to go on and study and teach composition at the college level.
But employment and a sad economy will make changes in anyone’s plans, and all those years ago I got a job as a typesetter because I could type really well after all those term papers and writing for the college newspaper, and so I entered the world of graphic design, without any intention or training, though I’d designed plenty of things I’d written by then. I’d always wanted to pursue those higher degrees or that job as a writer, but instead stayed with a job I found I could combine with my writing and editing skills into something I’ve found both fun and fulfilling as a career for 30 years. I’ve been working on a computer all that time, but I also brought in illustration and fine art in the good old fashioned way, with my hands.
Becoming an artist
I have my cats to thank for being an artist. When, as an adult, I chose to pick up a pencil and paper and put them together, it was because images of my cats kept appearing in my thoughts as pencil drawings and paintings and I decided to draw what I was envisioning.
Through the years my cats have been the subjects of dozens of works, and others, seeing these works, want a similar piece with their own animal companion as a subject. I have had the pleasure of creating more than 100 commissioned portraits of cats, dogs, cats and dogs, and cats and dogs and people. They are gifts for loved ones, memorials to cherished companions who’ve gone before us, and lovely pieces of artwork featuring an animal a person loved. Animals give us so much in everyday life, but my cats have given me my career.
And even to this day, as you’ve seen here on The Creative Cat, they are still giving me the gift of my creativity in my daily sketches, daily photographs and all the varied things I write about them. I’ve never had enough writing assignments to keep me happy, and now I can write all day and night and tell all the stories I’ve been carrying around with me, and even win a few awards—see below.
I also paint other subjects. I carry a sketchbook around with me to capture scenes around the house and out in the street in pencil and ink. I can store a half dozen paintings in my head from one walk in the woods, I grow flowers to paint in the garden and as still lifes, and I study birds and wildlife for individual and scenic works, but it all began with them.
How I give it back (aside from keeping a roof over their little heads and keeping their bellies full)
Because cats and dogs and animal welfare issues are a big passion of mine, I work frequently with local animal welfare organizations both in fostering and in donating materials for their benefit auctions.
Aside from my artwork and animal welfare activities, I also participate in local environmental activities as a volunteer garden steward for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and work with several environmental organizations in the Lower Chartiers Watershed to publicize issues, events and activities in the watershed.
Under the supervision of my cats, I have the joy of working at home to design books, web pages, logos and various printed materials for a variety of customers as well as completing commissioned animal portraits and other commissioned work. I also get to create neat new things to sell as merchandise in their images.
And if you’re so inspired to pick up a camera or a brush or other creative medium, I often write about creating my daily sketches and photos, and one of my regular features is called “The Artist’s Life” where I enjoy digging up things I did in sixth grade and things I did last week and discussing my techniques, my inspirations and my personal growth as an artist and writer.
Cat Writers’ Association
I am a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, and this very blog won a Muse Medallion for entertainment in the 2011 Communications Contest; in 2012 I won a total of 13 Certificates of Excellence.
Please visit my page for the Cat Writers’ Association for my awards in the annual contests.
A few articles about me…
Carnegie Artist Creates Calendar of Cats
By Carole Gilbert Brown
Animal portrait artist Bernadette Kazmarski of Carnegie has a secret as to why her cat renderings are so beckoning, even if the subjects have passed on.
“I paint till they look back at me,” she said. “I need to feel life in their eyes.”
Artist Promotes Cats in Many Ways
by Charlotte Smith
The business writer in my local paper featured me and my calendars, art and work with cats in the business column in this week’s paper. I’m so honored to have all this information written up in one article, and to be recognized locally for what I do.
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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.