Sunday, April 14, 2024
black catscatsDaily Featuredaily sketchinkjelly beanmewsettewatercolor

Featured Artwork: Purple Cats, Red Blanket

ink and watercolor sketch of two cats
“Purple Cats, Red Blanket”, ink and watercolor, 12″ x 9″ © Bernadette E.Kazmarski

It’s hard to believe I painted this four years ago, and just a month into my daily sketching. I know this style was one I’d visualized, but never worked in the way I envisioned when I worked freehand. This sketch has been very popular as a card and print, and as much as I see things I don’t like, its simple authenticity in capturing the moment, my actual stumbling around with ink and watercolor, is what makes it work.

On that day I’d photographed them and remembered standing there with the sketch building in my mind, pretty much as you see above. But could I do it? No, I had no confidence it would turn out any differently than prior attempts, which had all been oversketched and then muddy when I added the watercolors. All I could see were my failures.

But it was too strong of an idea. I decided to at least try a sketch, after all, that was why I’d decided to do my daily sketches, to experiment, practice and perfect styles I’d wanted to use. I got a watercolor pad anticipating the watercolor added later, a drawing pen, and started to sketch. A little bit of practice goes a long way—though I’d only been daily sketching for about a month after not completing much art at all for a year or two, I had regained enough control to be able to work this out quickly with just a bit of adjustment. As you see there is an extra outline of their ears and heads as I’d begun them a little larger, then as I worked my way down their sides I tightened up my lines and their bodies were a little smaller so I resketched their heads to match. What to do with the lines? Leave them there. They are part of the sketch.

This was the first time I simply did a sketch and decided painted into it, and it worked, but it wasn’t all about the color. As I said when I posted this the very first time:

Black cats, like white cats, have all sorts of colors in their fur, and in filtered sunlight their fur glistened with all sorts of highlights and shadows. The randomly shaped and wrinkled red blanket heightened the range of colors in their fur and even the neutral wood floor held random combinations in its old unfinished grain. Mostly, the composition was what attracted me in the first place: two similar heavy rounded shapes, the random soft shape and the smooth shape brought elements together in a very pleasing way.

I think cats are very aware of how they can create beautiful compositions simply by being in them.

Sometimes I’m not sure which way to go with an idea. Part of my quandary was that I had two ideas, this one of ink lines with watercolor and another of black sumi-style cats on a solid red blanket, just absolutely simple shapes. I think I’ll also do that one, but I’ll do it from the photographs I took. (N.B. I never did that, but came close to it with other sketches of them on the red blanket).

You may recognize this as being similar to a few of the images in today’s (January 6, 2012) photo, “Mimi Photobomb“, and that’s exactly what I was doing before I was photographing—sketching in ink the view from behind which I found absolutely dear. Normally I would have moved into my studio and gotten the watercolors immediately, but then I saw the photo op and spent some time on that, and then the phone rang, and it was getting late in the day and I was still in my bathrobe and all I’d done was sketch and photograph my cats. Fun and fulfilling, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Interesting and funny what I wrote then! But I’m so glad I took that time to work through this idea.

Where to find this artwork

custom note cards
“Purple Cats, Red Blanket” note cards created from a daily sketch.

This sketch led me in a new direction I’d always wanted to go, ink sketch with watercolor washes, and if you enjoy my daily sketches you’ll know that it’s one I use frequently in many sizes. This was also the first daily sketch I sold as an original and was made into a Valentine and all-purpose greeting card by request, and I also sell it as a digital print and a mousepad!

If at all possible, always follow your ideas to their logical end—or to quote Robert Frost, take the road less traveled, by yourself or others!

Click here to see other daily sketches.

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.

"First Light" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.
“First Light” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

"Feline Style Sampler" book of sketches and portraits.

A collection of 34 images of feline artwork

Feline Style Sampler

Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.

Click here or on the image to read more

or find this book in my Etsy shop.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


Subscribe to my e-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.

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.

© 2016 | | 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.

One thought on “Featured Artwork: Purple Cats, Red Blanket

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by ExactMetrics