“Stanley With Geraniums” was not a daily sketch but was a new piece of artwork I’d created last year in time to use it as my July featured artwork and desktop calendar and I’ve just mentioned it in my Independence Day . It is also the July artwork in my 12 Sketches of Cats Fine Art Calendar which is likely more valuable as a collection of framable prints than it is as a calendar; you can read about below.
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This painting is one I’ve wanted to do for years—since the very moment it depicts, in fact, on July 30, 2006, in fact, when Stanley and I enjoyed a Sunday morning on the deck.
As I’ve been digging through old photos while I’ve been moving them to my studio and organizing, both prints and digitals, I’m finding special moments I’d forgotten, moments of inspiration, beauty and especially a growing closeness with my older generation of cats even as they stepped ever closer to their last days with us. While it seemed like any other morning, looking at the rest of the photos from this day, I can see this was a quietly memorable morning. This was Stanley’s last summer with us, he’d been with me for 21 years and at my best guess was 25 years old, and he and I spent every possible moment together, especially out on the deck. While he slept most of the time and was fragile and often confused, each time our eyes met we built a deepening bond I’ll always carry with me; we had lost Moses and Cream in the spring, Lucy had just joined us in June, and though there were seven (or more) other cats in the house, Stanley and I carved out time for just the two of us nearly every day.
And on this morning when I looked at Stanley sleeping on the table I knew I’d want to remember this moment and to paint it, and visualized the painting in this style. But believe it or not, for as often as you see this particular style of ink sketch with watercolor washes, I was not at all skilled with it at that time and had only tentatively experimented in a few sketches. The desire to see this painting on paper was one of the driving forces for me to work this out, find the right drawing pen with the right ink, the right brushes and set of watercolors. And finally, seven years later, here it is.
The details are comforting to look at: the round picnic table where I’ve spent so much time with and without cats; the faded linen dishtowel calendar with the cardinals, one of many with birds, all of which are beyond threadbare and completely faded now; the mug I loved for my Sunday morning coffee; the binoculars my mother had used to watch birds and I “inherited” for birdwatching, given to her by someone who’d served in Viet Nam; the geraniums, collected over years from friends and family, overwintered and renewed each year—they are ancestors of the ones you see in my photos today.
Here is the reference photo, and as I remember Stanley this month—we had a little escape in July that year which I’ll be writing about—I’ll be sharing other photos as well.
You can see I took a number of liberties with lightening the entire scene and reorganizing some of the flowers, but this particular digital camera was not terribly accurate for color or lighting, and being able to change some of the details is part of the fun and challenge of creating an original piece of artwork. I actually liked the flag in this photo and had originally intended to include it because I’d brought it home from the Carnegie Memorial Day parade I’d taken my mother to in May and that was a memory too, but I didn’t want to “date” this painting for a holiday or event, or set it for a country since many of my readers and collectors are from other countries. That detail was not so important to me as the others I included.
12 Sketches of Cats Calendar
I’ve always admired oversized “art calendars”, the ones where the art is foremost and the calendar just an incidental means of presenting it. Calendars are printed on quality text or cover stock and are only printed on one side of the page with plenty of clear space around the artwork because the image is intended to be framable with nothing printed on the back.
And so 12 Sketches of Cats is digitally printed in the same archival inks and acid-free natural 100# smooth cover stock I use for the digital art prints I sell. Each page is 11″ x 17″ so there is plenty of space to have the art at or near its native size with room for the name and information about the art with the calendar at the bottom. The calendar is spiral-bound at the top with a hole drilled just beneath the spiral so you display one page at a time.
In addition to keeping art near its native size I’ve also sized most of the artwork so it will easily fit a standard frame size. Some images, such as “Shades of Gray” and “World Cat” are smaller than the originals to fit the page. I chose sketches for popularity and narrowed them down for a variety of style and medium. All of the images but one are in color; none of the pencil, charcoal or ink sketches seemed to fit with the color art in the calendar, so of course that might be a calendar of its own someday.
And there are actually 14 sketches if you count the cover, and there’s a bonus sketch on the title page that’s the one pencil sketch, but because covers see more wear and the title page image is a little small I’m keeping the title at 12. The art included in the calendar is:
Cover: Mimi’s Sunbath
Title page: A Tangle of Cats at the Door
January: Winter Light
February: Shades of Gray
March: Catamount Brushmore
April: Two Cats After van Gogh
May: In Afternoon Sun
June: Lazy Saturday Afternoon
July: Stanley with Geraniums
August: Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol
September: Three Warm Cats on a Cool Ground
October: Two in a Basket
November: Vigilant Nap
December: World Cat
This calendar costs a little more than the typical calendar because of the size and quality, and the value of what’s in it—I generally sell my prints for $10.00 to $25.00 each depending on the size, but in this calendar you get 14 prints if you count each image, for one price—$2.50 for each of 14 prints plus $10.00 to help FosterCat, Inc. house and support the cats in their system of foster homes, find homes for the cats they’ve rescued and help sponsor many cats rescued by Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement.
Order a calendar now
Calendars are $45.00 and as mentioned above I will donate $10.00 of each sale to FosterCat, Inc. Not only has FosterCat been doing its typical wonderful work in rescuing and finding forever homes for cats of all ages through its foster home-only all-volunteer organization, they have also been helping kittens and cats find homes who have been rescued by Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement, which allows all those who volunteer as a rescue to foster more cats and kittens.
NOTE: I will continue to sell this calendar until all I printed are gone, but because of the value of the art within it I will not discount it after the beginning of the year as I do others. The purchase price will always generate a $10.00 donation to a specified cat rescue or assistance organization.
For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Cat Art and Prints” section.
Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Two Years of Daily Sketches.
And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.
A collection of 34 images of feline artwork
Feline Style Sampler
Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.
or find this book in my Etsy shop.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.
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.
© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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!