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Favorite Photo: Stripes on Stripe, 2006

black and white photo of tabby cat curled in striped shadows
Stripes on Stripe, August 31, 2006

Something about the light this morning reminded me of being out on my deck with Stanley, and it’s no wonder. I’ve chosen one of my favorite photos of him to share today and it was taken on this day in 2006 (and later today I’ll be sharing photos of the other cats as well from this day in a hot August 2006). It was his last summer with me, and he was about 24 years old, needing a little supportive care but still enjoying his time outdoors with me and every moment of every day besides that.

photo of tabby cat
“Stripes on Stripe”, 5″ x 5″ print in 8″ x 8″ white frame.

Sunshine and fresh air is a perfect tonic for an old cat. We were keeping the chronic renal failure at bay with doses of subcutaneous fluids, enticing foods, and a morning visit to the back yard and a nap on the deck every day the weather permitted. Stanley forgot all about feeling a little queasy and tired as he pranced around the back yard from bush to tree to post, smelling the messages—downloading his “pee-mail” and uploading his reply, as I always called it. Back up on the deck, a little bath and quick nap in the sun, then inside to eat ravenously as if nothing was the matter.

I have decades of memories of Stanley; he came to me several years into adulthood and lived with me for 21 years, suffering from chronic urinary issues for which he had obviously been violently punished. A sweet, silly, friendly kitty underneath it all, it took years to wear down the aftereffects of Stanley’s early abuse. But he appears in many, many images, including my painting, “After Dinner Nap”, which inspired many commissioned portraits, but before that it inspired me to find a way to share my feline inspirations with the world. Thank you, Stanley.

This photo doesn’t show you much about Stanley, but for me it is a reminder of how my cats have inspired me at every moment since I’ve lived with them, training me to keep my eyes open and always be ready for that unique image, keeping my creative spirit alive and my creative intellect in top condition, in a way living two lives at once, to live the moment, and to record the moment.

“Stripes on Stripe”, 5″ x 5″ print in 8″ x 8″ black frame.

I often called Stanley “Stripe” because he was a tabby, and in this photo the confluence of all those stripes was just breathtaking. Straight geometric stripes in the shadows from my deck rail coming in at an obtuse and unsettled angle, the deck boards themselves and the gaps between at a normal and comforting angle, and striped Stanley breaking all the straight lines as he curled in a perfect circle for a nap; I could never have posed this or composed this, but what a moment to remember. And if Stanley had not been there I probably would have noticed the shadows as I was working in the garden but not taken the photo, probably busy harvesting green beans or tomatoes, so I have him to thank for this moment. I have this photo for sale in my Etsy shop as both a print and in a frame.

I took this photo in color with my old, old original 2MP digital camera, and I’m still surprised at the clarity and quality I achieved with it—and glad, because many of the last photos I took of my most senior cats of that era were taken with that camera. Below is the color version of the photo, which I still publish because I love the subtleties in the wood, the bit of moss here and there, Stanley’s tan areas.

tabby cat on deck
Stripes on Stripe in color

So as August gives way to September, I remember.

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and at assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork.


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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.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Favorite Photo: Stripes on Stripe, 2006

  • Pingback: The Creative Cat - From the Archives: August 15, 2006

    • Cats, aren’t those photos with shadows wonderful? I love those stripes from mini-blinds too. Thanks!

  • Sharon

    Hi Bernadette,

    This is really an amazing photo. I don’t think you could have captured something like this in a million years. It looks like a picture that you would win an award for.

    Truly beautiful!


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