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From the Archives: Birdwatchers in Training, December 4, 2007

three black kittens
Birdwatchers in training

So it looks like we had a little bit of snow on December 4, 2007, the first snow for the Little Four! And all the better to see the birds at the feeder!

Yes, at four months and a couple of weeks old, there are Jelly Bean, Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, dancing around amid the geraniums I’d brought in from the outside. And I guess those birds were just a little too tempting because Jelly Bean was ready to jump!

three black kittens
We’ll get those birds!

. . . . . . .

Some early inspirations

When I found these photos again in 2010, I suddenly visualized a design idea using the kittens’ silhouettes…

illustrated holiday card
Can We Get That Thing?

I’d been planning illustrations with silhouettes such as these ever since I realized the Fantastic Four were meant to stay with me. If you’ve read other articles about their history with me, you may remember that I kept them for their first year, but being a family of black cats they were difficult to adopt out—shelters already had enough black cats! But I’d been watching them since they were tiny fuzzballs. As I watched them grow into curious, lithe and active cats I also thoroughly enjoyed observing their changing silhouettes, taking many reference photos along the way.

I did decide they needed to stay with me for art reasons, and anyone who doesn’t believe me in that only needs to look at my designs such as these cards, and all the other art I’ve created with them.

For the illustration at the top, “Can We Get That Thing?” I used the reference photos above which I’d taken of the Curious Quartet when they were still just kittens watching birds at the big window—and where they still watch birds. I took each figure independently to create the silhouette, then put them back together in the order I wanted.

I had two ideas for this theme, the illustration below being the first idea to come to mind. For “Star of Wonder” I used the photo of Mr. Sunshine I posted on Independence Day. I do like the look of smooth kitty silhouettes, but I also love their whiskers, and the texture of their fur, so I used all the details when I made the silhouette for this.

"Star of Wonder" holiday card.
“Star of Wonder” holiday card.

I had created the star motif years ago for another holiday design project for a customer, and I decided to to use it for these two cards. I had originally envisioned it in blue and thought of the designs as adding a feline tilt to a familiar Christian theme. But when I also decided to use this particular star with six points and realized it would print in blue and white, I asked a few feline-loving friends observing the Jewish faith if they might also serve as Hanukkah cards, and they agreed they could.

Click th elinks to find them in my shop, Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

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.

© 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: 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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