Friday, April 19, 2024
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Do We Appreciate Black Cats?

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

Just a glance at The Creative Cat will tell you that we certainly do, especially since those of us here who are not black cats are greatly outnumbered! And for Black Cat Appreciation Day we have an offer to benefit Black Cat Rescue of Boston and a special discount on all our black cat stuff.

As a cat lover and animal lover I always say I care more for what’s under the fur than the fur itself and I’m sure most of would say that. But as an artist I also love all varieties and types of fur on all my animal subjects, and in the animals I live with I have always enjoyed a variety of color and pattern and solid.

About the inspiration of black cats

But even before I had a cat of my own, I loved black cats. Each summer when the neighbors’ cats had kittens, back in the days before regular spay and neuter, I loved the dark tabby swirls and stripes and the creamsicle orange and whites and the shimmering solid grays. But the fuzzy black kittens, the sleek black adults, appealed to a visual style that I still love today—the clear silhouette, the contrast of eyes, no matter the color, in dark fur, the play of light on physical structure, finding the graceful curves of cheekbone and hip. I had no idea then what was developing in my young aesthetic sensibilities, but it is still with me today as I look at these five, still a surprise to see a highlight gracefully trace the spine to the tail, or see whiskers emerge from the darkness of a muzzle tucked in sleep. And all the colors that emerge from black fur in different light…I could go on and on, but you see it nearly every day in my sketches and in the art I present.

portrait of black cat on floor detail
Detail of face and paws.

About Kublai

And long before Mimi and the Fantastic Four, before most of the cats who shared my life, in fact, was the first black cat, the first cat I adopted as an adult. He rescued me while I was in college and became my feline muse even then, before I was even working as an artist, and continued to guide and inspire me, to both art and to rescue—his rescue and the way I came to feel for him was the reason I began rescuing years ago.

And even as I began sketching, drawing, painting, and developed my techniques with animal portraiture, he remained an inspiration, but never a model. He died in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I finally painted his portrait. In part this was because I had so few photos of him, and not for the lack of a camera but because he was always on me somewhere, draped around my neck under my hair, hanging with his paws around my neck and nestled in my elbow, on my lap, on the back of my chair. Even with studying him all the years he was with me, I still needed reference photos to be certain I had the details right.

portrait of black cat on floor detail
Don’t you just want to dig your fingers in that fur?

About this portrait

But he was also a very complex cat, we had been through quite a lot, and for years I could not decide what pose would be best to capture him, I could visualize him in so many ways and while I considered the idea of painting a series of portraits of him, I knew I just needed to wait, and it would come to me.

And it did one morning when I turned around and saw the winter sun shining brilliantly on the bare wooden floor and I remembered watching him rolling around there in the way he did, acting silly, often in apology for something he’d done that I didn’t particularly care for like opening the refrigerator and pulling food out. But I knew what I was remembering was a moment when he was acting as feline therapist, because I was having a bad day as I sometimes did and he knew it and was doing his best to get me past my dark mood, not just with being adorable and irresistible but also with letting the sun play across his fur, pulling all those wonderful mahogany and blue-purple shades from within it, his pale green eyes contrasting with the depth of his face, his velvety paws waving aimlessly, the shadows falling crisp in the sun and soft in light reflected off the doors and walls, pulling the details from the old wood boards, each one different.

Then, his expression, direct, “Are you looking at me?” Not only for attention for himself, but for my own distraction. It worked every time.

All the lights came on for me and I saw this portrait in that moment. I found the few reference photos I had and began immediately. Dark mood? He could still dispel it nearly ten years later.

portrait of black cat on floor detail
Detail of “de tail” and wood floor.

Bid on this print to benefit Black Cat Rescue

I have one signed full-size highest quality giclée print of this painting on all-cotton archival cover, which I normally retails for $150.00. I would like to “auction” this to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going directly to Black Cat Rescue to benefit their efforts to save black cats (reference “Bid on This Print and Start Celebrating Peaches’ 100th Birthday” to see an example). I’ll start the bidding at $25.00, and you can bid in any amount by simply commenting on this blog post with your bid. Bidding will continue from today until next Friday, August 24, at midnight, and on Saturday, August 25 I’ll find the highest bidder and announce the winner. The winner sends the amount to Black Cat Rescue and I ship the print to the winner, rolled in a mailing tube at no charge.

Read more about Black Cat Rescue on their blog, and visit their page on Petfinder.

set of four cards with black cats
Compositions in Green and Black

And free shipping all week for prints of this painting and all merchandise in my Etsy shop

Browse my Etsy shop for what’s currently available, and at checkout use the coupon code “BLACKCATS”. It will remain active until next Friday.

I have 11″ x 14″  and 8″ x 10″ giclées of this print as well as 8″ x 10″ digital prints, and because I also offer it as a greeting card it is included in my “Feline Greetings Art Cards” collection.

I tried to set this up for just black cat merchandise, but the Etsy search engine wasn’t cooperating, and I’m not terribly concerned if the art has a black cat, or if it has a cat at all. The sale of any art in my shop benefits my black cats, of course, and also the donations of art and merchandise I make to benefit animals. The more I sell, the more I can give.

set of four sepia images of black cats
Victoriana Cats in dreamy semi-sepia tones
black and white photo of black cat with plant
Kublai with plant, 1983, One of my first photos with my “new” Pentax K1000.

Special orders don’t upset us

I can easily have prints made on canvas in various sizes, I can pack a special box of a half dozen or a full dozen cards from the selections you see above or in my Etsy shop, and I also offer custom framing, just send me a conversation on Etsy or an e-mail here.

In addition, if you see a piece of artwork on my website or here on The Creative Cat that you would like to purchase, please ask. See a few examples here. Orders taken during this week will be eligible for free shipping regardless when they are eventually shipped.

And remember, it all benefits black cats and all cats!

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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Join the Black Cat Appreciation Day blog hop!

Hosted by our friends Snotface and Twiggy and The Musings of a Crazy Cat Lady, make sure you visit their blogs, and join in if you have a blog too!


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.

22 thoughts on “Do We Appreciate Black Cats?

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  • My two black kitties say $125 🙂

  • Pingback: The Creative Cat - The Artist’s Life: The Inspiration of a Certain Black Kitty

  • Susan Conner

    I’ve heard over and over that black cats and dogs get adopted less, yet i have known so many people who rejoice in their black cats. Does anyone have figures on what proportion of cats are black? Also what other attributes follow the black gene? Those i have known have been high on personality and almost human traits.

    • Susan, that’s been my experience with black cats as well–the one in the portrait above was more intelligent than most people I’ve known, including me, and friends actually visited him first, then me. I’m not sure if there are any figures on black cats, but I do know that once people have adopted one they are sold on black cats forever.

  • amazing that black cats and black dogs still are less likely to be adopted out of shelters than other colors!!! what is it with peeps??…just wonderin’…Savannah

    • Savannah, we just can’t figure it out! We feel bad other fine kitties can’t have a great home like we do, so we try to look extra cute and wonderful so everyone will want kitties like us.

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  • Lovely piece! I’ll put in a bid for $100 to start it off – doing my part for the black cat rescue!

  • Your black cats are beautiful. I remember when I rescued Ateret, she’d been out in the sun and her black fur had a great deal of auburn tones. I wish i could afford to bid on your beautiful work. The Crazy Cat Lady is poor at present. I send your dear ones much love. Stephanie

    • Don’t worry, Stephanie, I couldn’t afford to bid either! Looks are free, so just enjoy it. Sending yours love in return.

  • Beautiful painting Bernadette. I’m so used to thinking of you as the person with all the black cats that I can’t imagine you not having one all along! KC was and is my first black cat. I have been told that black cats are “special” and he certainly is. He is the most vocal, most playful, most affectionate of all my cats – but he’s also the most stubborn and difficult too. When KC’s happy, everyone is happy – and when he’s not, well watch out!

    • Vicki, aside from a temporary rescue here and there, like others of Mimi’s kitten, I went from 1996, when I lost Kublai, to 2006, when Lucy ended up staying with me after her sister and brothers were adopted. Ten years! Well, I was well-equipped with torties.

  • Wow I LOVE black cats! I have two and love that you are helping a black cat rescue. I didn’t know there was one.

    Bid: $50

    • And thank you for adopting black cats! One of mine stepped on the enter key before I was done writing…

  • You write so incredibly beautifully – I just love reading your post. Your work is, well, amazing! The detail is phenomenal and the expression (I could go on and on). What a fantastic thing you are doing for the black cat rescue organisation. I so wish I could bid – I’d take it in a minute if the exchange rate weren’t so bad that I’d not be eating for months.

    • Thanks so much! I have the best inspirations, and I’m always glad to use my talent to help animals–I have more talent than money, anyway! Perhaps we can work something out some time with a print or something.


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