Friday, March 1, 2024
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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 three years ago, and fairly early on in my daily sketching. I know this style, which you’ve seen develop over the past three years, 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. All I could see were my failures.

But it was too strong of an idea. I decided to at least try a sketch, 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—I’d only been daily sketching for about a month, and 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 will also have it on a few special Valentine items you’ll see in the coming weeks.

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 Three Years of Daily Sketches, Awards and Collections.

And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.

"Rolling Around" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.
“Rolling Around” 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 and on

black cat watching
Mimi watching me cut out her silhouette.


Mimi sits on my lap to supervise me trimming her silhouette from a piece of black paper for Curving Silhouette.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.


I designate four portrait certificates each year for donation to benefit animals, and also donate merchandise, prints of artwork and even originals to rescue and shelter benefits. If you are interested in a donation for your event, please email me with the details of your event and your organization.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Or click here to open a sign up form in a new window (which seems to work better).

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 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.

© 2015 | | 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: Bok 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.

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