After Cookie left us on February 3, 2012, I took a break from blogging for a week. When I came back one of the first sketches I posted was “Kelly in a Ball”, above, celebrating how relaxed she seemed for the first time after losing her big sister, Cookie. It was also a moment for me to accept and share my loss in the way I do, in writing, photos and paintings. I still remember those moments of feeling as if I was starting over and it still surprises me that I’ve come so far when I felt so sad. It’s a testament to healing, especially now as we remember others. To my friends out there who have recently lost a precious animal companion, be kind to yourselves and let time work its healing.
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Kelly has been sleeping a little more comfortably on my desk, right on top of everything. And there’s a lot there to sleep on.
But she has a totally endearing habit of rolling herself up into an ever-tighter ball of tortie spots with her legs all tangled and her tail twisted in there and her head turned sideways or upside down. Cutest of all, which you sadly can’t hear in her sketch, is how she talks to herself and to me, making little happy Kelly sounds, chirps and soft mmmrrrrrrrs, now and then a real meow, and lots of purrrrs.
And I nearly always take a reference photo even of my sketch subjects. In this case, I knew she wasn’t going to hold the pose for too long so I could work from the photo, and in some other cases I might want to use the reference photo for something more finished at another time. It never hurts to have more photos of cats around.
Colored pencil again; it’s become a convenient way to use color with shadings I can’t get in marker and I don’t have to worry about the mess of chalk or oil pastel, and no special paper for watercolor. I’ve never felt I handled colored pencil well, but after all these sketches of my cats I feel much more confident about them.
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What was I sketching on this date?
Mimi at the Morning Window, 2013
This was intended to be something somewhat different, but here it is as what you see.
In the bright morning light, shadows are deep and long, highlights are brilliant. I had begun on black paper so that I could have the solid nature of the deep shadows and Mimi’s silhouette, so I sketched in yellow pastel pencil since all was outlined in a rather golden glow. I had intended to fill in what would be the light-colored areas of the window in pale blue and the top of the wardrobe in pale yellow, leaving the rest solid black.
I could only do the sketch at first, and decided to wait until later to finish. Mimi had left anyway…but when I looked at the sketch I liked it as it was. But still I intended to fill it in. Then I liked it as it was. In truth, I simply didn’t want to, admiring the light outline on the dark paper. I decided in the end to leave it as it was—if I liked this one so much, I could keep it, but there was no reason I couldn’t do another, and then I could fill that one in.
So here’s looking forward to another sketch on a beautiful sunny morning, and here’s a finished one that is not what I thought it would be, nor does it need to be. Actually, most of them aren’t and that’s the fun of art, letting the image become what it should be in the moment.
For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit Portraits of Animals in the “Daily Sketches” section.
Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Three Years of Daily Sketches.
And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
This sketch totally surprised me—I’d never done a thing like it before. Inspired by Kelly awaking from a nap on my desk I’d been about to try out these watercolor pencils while she was sleeping. I discovered that what I thought was black was navy blue and decided to go ahead. I’m so glad I did. It captures Kelly in a very special way. 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!