Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Daily Photo: Morning Reconnoiter

four black cats at window
Morning Reconnoiter

One by one they gathered for a morning reconnoiter, Hamlet, Jelly Bean, Bella and Giuseppe, and I think each of them is looking at something different. They made a nice silhouette composition too.


From Instagram

It’s fun to decorate my cats while I’m working. They usually go along with my activities by ignoring me.

Garbage truck monster. I’m sure rescued cats have a totally different memory of the garbage trucks arrival than cats who lived their entire lives indoors.


From the Back Yard and Beyond

New Year Skies


From Portraits of Animals

A Framed Print of “Blue and Yellow”

From around this date in past years

Some Whiskers, Some Toes, and Three Ears, 2022

two black cats in basket
Bean and Bella make a puzzle.

It’s hard to tell where one begins and another ends, or even how many cats are in there. And how they can sleep all tangled up like that. But sure enough, they manage to do it every day. This is Jelly Bean and Bella cuddled in one of the baskets with the cat bed in it. a big favorite that hasn’t gone out of favor for even one day since it arrived here from someone whose cats didn’t use it.

I like to imagine activities outside the windows and doors to be “cat enrichment.” On the same token I like to look at things like this as “human enrichment.”


From Instagram

It’s always worth hanging out in the kitchen if the human is in there. Especially good if a lineup gets her attention! It’s The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse and their Ninja Basil!

It’s #whiskerswednesday and Jelly Bean and Mewsette are ready for the day.

From the Garden and Beyond

Waiting in line for the bird feeders, six cardinals put on a real show on a snowy day. They hang out in the bare branches of the forsythia for protection from predators who pretty much find the forsythia impenetrable. I know I do.

bunch of cardinals
Cardinal Collective

From around this date in past years

Turn Out Those Lights!, 2020

two black cats cuddling Giuseppe and Bean take over my desk[/caption]

Giuseppe and Jelly Bean complain about all the light and have to cover their eyes, even though I need it to work. Apparently that is secondary to their afternoon nap, and besides that, I have another computer and another desk, and they think I can go there if I really want to work. The problem is that they will follow me there and do the same thing. So I stayed and left the lights on. Call me cruel. Someone has to pay the bills around here.

I never found the time to post on Instagram today! You can be sure I’ll be catching up on it later.

. . . . . . .

Photos from around this date in previous years

Winter Morning Sunshine, 2019

Hamlet and Bella toasting in the sun.
Hamlet and Bella toasting in the sun.

Even on the coldest morning the sun is still warm. Sunny winter mornings often have a reddish cast, and that makes Hamlet look like a red velvet cake, and even Bella, who is quite dark with modest brown tones, looks chocolate. These two will sometimes chase each other mercilessly and I’ve never seen them settle down for a nap together, but likely they’ve done this when I haven’t been around to see. Those former ferals really understand each other, and both of them really like other cats.

The nap didn’t last for too long. The sun rose and left the window and suddenly it was colder in that spot. But the nap and the sight of them warmed the morning.


From Facebook

The girls decided to make the most of my lap, which has been scarce. Mariposa kneaded me into submission while Sienna and Mimi settled in. Everyone is purring mightily, and I just might be convinced to have a nap. Guess which kitty thinks she owns me but is happy to share me with her elders? It’s moments like this that get me teary-eyed when I think about the lives of these three rescued cats.

Taken over by three girl cats who want my lap.
Taken over by three girl cats who want my lap.

Photos from years past.


Lurking, 2018
Hamlet peers from behind the geranium.
Hamlet peers from behind the geranium.

The panther crouches and fixes his gaze on his prey. It’s Hamlet using the geranium as cover while window hunting birds at the feeder. Cat TV can be very entertaining on both sides of the activity.

Posted on Facebook

Remembering how comfy cozy it was in the cat cave, Mimi reconsiders her desperate need to get outside.

Mimi reconsiders being outside.
Mimi reconsiders being outside.

Five black cats NOT sharing a brand new Trader Joe’s cardboard scratcher with a sprinkle of catnip. It was a real frenzy for a while.

Five cats on the new scratcher.
Five cats on the new scratcher.

Eight black cats are pretty stoned on catnip and wondering how soon it will be dinner, or if they should just have a nap where they are. I rarely hand out catnip because a few cats hoard it all and fight off everyone else, so they are all really feeling the effect.

Eight cats on catnip.
Eight cats on catnip.

. . . . . . .

What other photos have I shared on or around this date?


Monday, Monday, 2016
Mimi Monday, Monday.
Mimi Monday, Monday.

Monday, Monday. Mimi is glad for the chance to take a nap. Sometimes weekends are very busy.


From Instagram and Facebook

With My Main Little Woman

I took the time to march in the Pittsburgh Women’s Sister March on Saturday and enjoyed the balmy afternoon with Mimi when I got back, sitting on our favorite rocker and resting my feet on the cool stones. Barefoot, yes, both of us.

Barefoot, yes, both of us.
Barefoot, yes, both of us.

How Giuseppe Spends His Morning

How Giuseppe spends his winter mornings–on my lap, tucked into my sweater.


How Giuseppe spends his morning.


. . . . . . .

What other photos have I shared on or around this date?


Art Critics, 2011
Art Critics
Art Critics

Look, mom put a new painting up on the easel.

I don’t think I like this one. It’s just not detailed enough. I don’t like those “fuzzy” landscapes.

It’s water, goof, not a landscape. When did she go there?

How do you know it’s water? You’ve never seen anything like that.

I look at the internet with mom, and I’ve seen her other paintings. This is her style. Look at the way she worked these waves here, colors you’d never imagine were in water.

Well, it’s boring to me. I like real places where I can see all the details, like that one up there of the bare cherry tree that’s right outside this window. Looks just like what you see when you look out the window.

Don’t you have any imagination? You can see that all the time! Look, squint your eyes and then look at it, you’ll be surprised at what you see.

Well, it looks a little more interesting this way, but I’d like it better if it at least had a cat in it somewhere. Maybe a bird. How can I relate to this?

Look, Mister Sunshine, the world doesn’t revolve around you and what you like. Don’t you want to learn about new things? Doesn’t this make you want to go and see this for real?

I’d rather look out the window and see what’s really real. You think you’re so smart, Mister worldly opera star Giuseppe with the foreign girl friend.

You’re a waste of good black cat fur.

I just like to give you a hard time. You know I don’t mean it. I don’t like this one as much as mom’s other paintings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it at all.

Well, what do you like?

I like to look at other animals, especially cats. I’m an animal, I like to look at other animals, what do you expect? And I like the outdoors, like the backyard. I like what’s familiar. And I’m mom’s engineer cat. I like real, concrete things. What do you like?

Well, I like those things too, but this is really eye-catching, I could look at it all day.

You know what I like about it?

No, what?

Our mom did it.

Yeah, sometimes that’s all it takes.

This photo was used in a book published by National Geographic! Not what you think though. Read about our stardom here.

This conversation between Mr. Sunshine and Giuseppe is patterned after a conversation I overheard between two men looking at art hung in a gallery in an office building lobby. You can see the framed painting here.

. . . . . . .

Chocolate Bath, 2016
"Chocolate Bath"
“Chocolate Bath”

Reflected winter sun brings out the best of Mimi’s chocolate fur. I think this may become a painting.

I had actually originally photographed her looking at me, and I love that pose too, below, at about the same time I photographed Giuseppe for the sketch I did yesterday (in fact, that’s his back end you see behind her, and they ended up trading places) because I love the curved shapes of her hip, tail, face, chest, paws. But as I edited photos I really liked the gentle chiaroscuro of her reflected highlights.

Sable Mimi.
Sable Mimi.


. . . . . . .

What other photos have I shared on or around this date?


Under Cabinet Monster Steals Toys!, 2015
The Under Cabinet Monster!
The Under Cabinet Monster!

We should be glad it hasn’t gotten Smokie or Bella and dragged them under the cabinet! Smokie says it has a great stash of toys under there! Jelly Bean say he thinks it looks a lot like Bella…

. . . . . . .

Finally Clean Dishtowels, 2014
black cats
Today’s catpile.

We had a massive cat pileup in the kitchen today, hard to tell what happened, all that fur.

It was a warm kitchen on a cold winter morning as I did some baking and all five gathered in the sun until it disappeared and at the windows to watch the birds. I brought up a pile of dishtowels to fold—they weren’t even out of the dryer and warm but it didn’t matter, they were today’s cat magnet. Mr. Sunshine was the last to join and just didn’t fit, but found the basket with its newly-washed lining to be more than acceptable.

five black cats
The full arrangement of black cats.

They were clumped together so tightly I could hardly tell them apart.

black cats
Just a pile of black fur.

Later, even after Mimi and I had gone outdoors again and I’d done more laundry, they persisted in the middle of the kitchen, watching birds on the deck.

black cats
Watching birds later.

. . . . . . .

Not Enough Baskets, 2014
two black cats in basket
Mimi gets her due as Sunshine gives her a big bath.

It all started out with Mr. Sunshine and Mimi curling up in the basket with the nice clean canvas liner. Spending a day in my studio I love to be able to focus on the creative projects at hand as well as plan out my new ones, but beginning with Sunshine giving his little mom a bath, five black cats were determined to keep me distracted all day. If I had only known all they needed was another basket or two I could have gotten more work done!

Sunshine followed me when I opened the bathroom door so Emeraude could join us during which time Mewsette took advantage of the basket and crawled in with her mama. That basket was full and overflowing with black cat sweetness! Yet Mr. Sunshine felt he needed to be a part of it, even enlisting the help of each of his brothers. First he pleaded with his mama as she sat on Mewsette, having a good bath.

three black cats in basket
Sunshine pleads with his mama to make room.

Then he got Giuseppe to whisper in his mama’s ear.

three black cats in basket
Giuseppe whispers to his mama.

Then he got Jelly Bean to intercede on his behalf, but I’m not sure Bean was able to stay awake for that.

three black cats in basket
Sunshine enlists the help of Bean.

Then he got as much of himself into the basket as he could…

three black cats in basket
Sunshine fits as much of himself as possible into the basket with Mimi and Mewsette.

…and it was back to the beginning, giving his mama a bath.

three black cats in basket
Sunshine gives him mom another bath.

But he just could not fit himself into the basket. “You really need another basket,” he said.

three black cats in basket
You simply need another basket.

So I cleaned out the other basket in this set and all was quiet once again on the work table, Mimi sleeping atop Mewsette, as usual.

black cats in baskets
All is quiet on the work table.

This is only a small part of the action—it’s only Mr. Sunshine’s part of the story! You’ll see other photos from today coming up soon. Now how much do you think you would have gotten done with all this cuteness?

. . . . . . .

Two Black Cats, 2011
two black cats looking out a window
An Inspiration

Mewsette and Giuseppe have a front row position to watch the great outdoors outside the big window otherwise known as Cat TV.

Their positions reminded me of a famous poster design, “A La Bodiniere”, by Théophile Steinlein, the painter, illustrator and Art Nouveau printmaker who helped set the standard for poster design and has been a great inspiration to me as both a graphic designer and a feline artist.

Steinlein was one of the most famous feline artists of any era, sketching and painting his cats all the time and incorporating their images into his designs. Easily recognizable among his designs are “Tournee du Chat Noir” and no doubt many people have seen “Clinique Chéron” hanging in their veterinarian’s office.

One of my favorite things to sit and study is a beat-up old copy of the Dover Art Library’s Steinlein Cats, showing me pages from his everyday sketchbooks of cats in charcoal, ink, watercolor, studies of paw and ears and noses, a momcat nursing her kittens, a little cartoon of a cat who spilled the milk; what a joy for me to share the inspirations of another artist so intimately.

So were Mewsette and Giuseppe posing for me as an inspiration? If they hadn’t been on my main sketchbook that may have worked, and when I got up to get my smaller sketchbook and drawing bag, they hopped up and came with me. My studio and office used to be integrated and drawing materials were here with my disks and computer paper; I have now installed a couple of sketchpads and drawing materials at my desk. I never know when it will happen.

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watercolor of three black cats with spattered background
“Looking Out the Front Door”, cropped version, Watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe, Mimi and Mewsette spend some time watching out the front door. 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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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!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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