Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Featured Artwork: “A Nap on the Feed Sacks”, 1994

watercolor of three kittens on feed sacks
“A Nap on the Feed Sacks”, watercolor, 4″ x 6″, 1994 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Three years after my big studio re-do I’m still finding artwork I’d done years ago and forgotten about, though not all of these forgotten masterpieces have been found in their originals. As part of consolidating my artwork and art materials I also consolidated 30 years of photographs. I’ve been surprised at what I’ve found, forgetting the photos I’d taken of foster cats from the early years and photos of my own feline family in everyday poses. I can get back to some of the paintings I’d planned now that I’ve found the photos I thought I’d imagined taking!

I’ve also photographed, and later scanned, every piece of artwork I’ve done to document it, though not all reproductions are of a quality for reproduction, or any quality at all, especially in this era when I was photographing my paintings in the frame with glass…sigh. I didn’t always get film developed right away, and had no idea how bad some of the photos were. Plus, through the glass? I had wanted to document the frame and mats, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And then I sold many of those little paintings, and donated them to auctions and such, so I have no idea where they’ve gone and can’t reproduce them.

This one, however is pretty clear and balanced, considering it’s 4″ x 6″ and I held it at an angle from my camera so the flash wouldn’t reflect off the glass! It’s darkened from left to right with a shadow on the right side, but that’s okay. It’s nice to remember how I studied the photo and planned the colors and techniques with my beginner’s understanding of watercolor after years of working in pencil and pastel. This was when I worked out layering colors in watercolor, and I remember working out the layers and tones for the stripes in the kitty, and how to show some detail in the black kitten. I also especially proud of the background since the colors and strokes I used aren’t represented in the photo as are the stripes and the shadows in the plant and the feed bags. Still, today, pleased with what I accomplished so long ago. Still want to go up to my studio and do it again when I see a photo that inspires me.

Twenty years ago when I was still experimenting with other media than pencil and pastel, with which I felt most confident, I began doing small paintings instead of the larger ones that were more detailed and took more time. A friend I worked with grew up on and still lives on the family farm—the one I’d visited in the splendor of that autumn when I’d been looking for painting subjects other than cats. She was also a skilled photographer and shared many of her prints. I painted “A Nap on the Feed Sacks” in 1994 from a photo she took on her farm.

Cuddled together for comfort, these kittens live on a farm owned by a friend of mine. She passed the picture on to me because she thought I’d like it, which I did immediately. The scene was so simple and quiet that I decided to render it as a quick study, without too much detail, so that I wouldn’t overwork the subjects.

That’s what I had to say about it when I added it to my portfolio book  in 1994. I sold it shortly after I painted it to someone who purchased a half dozen small works to auction off for a rescue benefit. Below is the photo she gave me. Even after all these years of finding and rescuing kittens, this little kitten pile is still the most typical, and even a typical range of colors and patterns—a dark tabby, an orange tabby and a black kitty. The only flavor missing is a tortie.

three kittens on fabric
Reference photo for “A Nap on the Feed Sacks”.

And last night when I was searching for an image to use to illustrate my rescue story it suddenly seemed like the best image to use, so I pulled it out and scanned it, and I’m happy to share it here. I’ll have a few more to feature soon.

. . . . . . .

I’ve been whining softly to myself as my studio computer has fallen fully into dementia; most days I can still get programs to run and I can still pull data from it, but it refuses to connect to the internet or any peripherals, including the higher quality scanner and printer I have up there. It’s been seriously hampering production in my studio since I typically have digital images on my computer screen along with prints and printouts of digital images sent to me for portraits. I also make my own prints for my handmade goods for keepsake boxes and wood-mounted art but I’m not able to right now. I had also designed all my new printed materials on that computer, such as greeting cards, calendars and even things like my art papers, something I can also do at the downstairs computer, but I also enjoyed the break of being able to just work in a different space for a few hours each day. And I scanned my daily sketches and smaller illustrations and paintings with that scanner/printer and the quality is important so that I am sure I record my work accurately. The downstairs all-in-one is nowhere near the quality for prints or scans, and the upstairs one doesn’t have a fax, so I can’t move it down here, there’s just no space…and neither of them is wireless. I have to wait until I can afford another computer for the studio, and I hope that’s soon! In the meantime, everything is moving far more slowly than usual, including the commissioned portraits I have waiting.

Thanks for listening!

Featured Artwork

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.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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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© 2014 | | 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!




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.

9 thoughts on “Featured Artwork: “A Nap on the Feed Sacks”, 1994

  • Pingback: The Creative Cat - Rescue Stories: Cats Know Who to Choose

  • another grate watercolor mom B….

    N sorree de gizmo masheen iz givin ya trubull…may bee de modem iz goin spazzy; ore ya haza bad cable..

    if ewe haza minit…..?????….which we noe ya dont… chek out de site

    thiz dood noez hiz stuff…. 🙂

    • Thank you, my friend! We knows what the problem is–the computer is 13 years old–that’s 32,945 in cat years–and it’s just wearing down. I work with a local small business which is the company that built it all those years ago and has helped me maintain it with no problems at all, all these years. It’s the only one I had for 11 years until I got the “new” one, and there were many 18-hour days and nights I worked all night long. It has served me well. I even cleaned the pastel dust and cat hair out of it, no go. Upgrading or updating would only buy a little time, and actually cost more than a new refurbished. It was up there for retirement, so I think I will let it go quietly to sleep…

  • bluemoonalone

    Just beautiful..both of them..

    • Thank you–I wish I had a better one of the painting, but it is what it is.

  • The photo is great but the artwork is wonderful 🙂

  • Anne Slevin

    Your love of animals and your artwork are both beautiful.

    • Thank you, Anne. The love and the art, they feed each other.


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