Featured Artwork: Mischief, a New Holiday Painting

pastel painting of two cats in Christmas lights
“Mischief,” pastel, 9×12, 2022 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Guess who’s getting into some mischief? It’s the little tag team, Mariposa and Hamlet! It always starts when one of them tags the other, and the chase begins, but I don’t think Hamlet looks like he wants to play right now.

I vowed to paint this idea for the holidays this year, and, well, it’s still the holidays, right? I’ve been sharing it and quietly put it up on Portraits of Animals, and also ordered some holiday cards to sell. I was going to feature it this past Wednesday for my Featured Artwork, but decided I’d send out the old year with something new. I have goals for artwork this coming year, and what better way to get that started than to end out the old year with a new painting?

About the scene of “Mischief”

This image probably looks a little confusing to anyone but me. The shelves intentionally don’t have too many shadows when I use them for photography, and there’s a mirror behind them with a lot of things reflected in it. But I’m thinking everyone will be looking at the cats.

The scene of the mischief actually happened…on a hot day in late July! July 23, to be exact. I set up my display shelves here in my office to photograph a few things in a decorative setting, and Hamlet, of all cats, decided to nap there. He has never done that, so it was another first for him this year, and I decided he could nap as long as he wanted. I made sure to get a bunch of photos of him gracefully sleeping on the shelf, though.

But then Mariposa came along and just had to get involved, and the tagging began. I immediately saw the potential for a new holiday painting. I let them do what they wanted and just kept photographing. Below are three reference photos of the activity that led up to this. They are very dark and the color is “off”—I hadn’t yet changed the settings on my camera and the bright string lights always throw off the settings. For that reason I didn’t get the photo of Mariposa in the approximate position she’s in in the painting, but I remembered it.

At first I liked the one of her lying down and looking up at him, and I still do, but they are too far apart. I tried moving them closer together but it just didn’t work. I also considered the one of them looking at each other, but I really wanted to see Mariposa’s face in this painting. I loved Hamlet’s posture when Mariposa tagged his tail and he sat up higher and looked down at her and then she turned and reached up again. Even though my reference photo was impossible, I knew I could work with it.

Some time in September I pulled out the photos and started designing the illustration. I got them both in position and really liked the composition, but it still needed something, and that was color. What’s a holiday painting without holiday colors? So I set up the colored string lights on the shelves and took a few photos, then added that to the composition, and that was purrfect. I just couldn’t get to it for the beginning of December, and in fact finally got started that week before Christmas, when things slowed down. When I wasn’t pleased with it by Christmas, I decided I’d do something special with it during the week after.

 

Where to find this artwork

Click below to find the painting and the holiday cards on Portraits of Animals. Don’t forget, I always have my $10 boxed holiday cards sale in January! And some time in the spring I have a 25% discount on original art too.

“Mischief” painting

“Mischief” holiday cards

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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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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

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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.

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