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From the Archives: Downstairs Studio With Namir, 2006

Namir on my drafting table when my studio was downstairs.
Namir on my drafting table when my studio was downstairs.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but this was how things were arranged when I actually did my artwork on the first floor where the rest of my office is. Namir was in the center of photos as often as possible and also on my table when I worked there, but the one I took where he was actually looking at me was blurry. It would never have occurred to me to take a photo of my workspace then, especially not when I was sorting paperwork and things, so I took it at this particular moment because Namir was there, much like the ones of my desk and studio with cats all over them (you’ll see more from other years below as well). I didn’t see the jumbled mess, I only saw Namir.

You’ll recognize the window as “Cat TV”—you can just see the feeders outside the window—but instead of the row of filing cabinets there now, a sturdy platform for feline birdwatching, I only have two cabinets under my small drafting table, which is now at the window in my studio upstairs. That’s because my good old display easel (wonder where that thing is?) was what I worked on in the corner, with a drawing board clamped to the crossbars and about eight different lights shining on it so I could get a balance of things. Two finished portraits are on it, waiting for framing materials to arrive. Underneath it is the old hospital nightstand on wheels where I stored, and still store, a good bit of commonly used drawing materials.

Along with a few recently-finished acrylic paintings and miscellaneous paperwork on my drafting table are a Frisbee, leash, bandanna and other goodies from an outdoor pet even I’d recently been to as a vendor.

I used my “studio” upstairs as a framing and storage room because the light wasn’t terribly good, and it was also better for fostering, but I was also feeling quite cramped in my little corner of the room. I moved the drafting table upstairs at some point but maintained the easel this way until June 2011; with all the elderly and sick cats, and my mother’s and brother’s conditions, there was no opportunity to move things around..

Because the drafting table was slanted, Namir specialized in stretching himself out at the top edge, then slowly sliding downward onto whatever I was doing, giving me a helpless look as he was powerless against the pull of gravity.

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What other photos did I feature on this date?


Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Morning, 2014
two black cats on windowsill
Mimi and Bean enjoy a perfect summer morning at just a little past 9:00 a.m. on the bathroom windowsill.

Sshhhhh…it’s Wordless Wednesday…and I don’t want to disturb their perfect moment…but I also had another idea…

two black cats on windowsill
Same photo with diffuse glow filter applied. They can nap while I have fun.
. . . . . . .
 Vintage Photos: Abstract Light and Shadow, 2005
cat on stool with apron n evening sun
Evening Patterns

Namir settles on the stool by the kitchen cabinet in the evening sun. I happened to have left an apron on the stool and any self-respecting kitty would loaf on that, but the tie on the apron happened to be a sheer batiste fabric, and instead of casting a full shadow it’s a muted shadow. And the sun is coming in at an angle through the window, with leaves just outside, casting patterned shadows and tinting some of the gold evening tones with green. All the shadows are dramatically angled. I intentionally softened my focus on Namir and turned to the shadows next to him.

Below, I focus on him, and desaturate the photo to resemble a sepia.

cat on stool with shadow
Desaturated version of another view

Namir may not have been too exotic looking with his gray tabby and white, but he certainly made an exotic model. Some of the more abstract photos I’ve taken have been of Namir doing something pretty normal for a cat, but somehow the scene looks magical, like Pussy Willow or Geometry. I had to use my old Pentax to capture the subtleties and intricacies that appeared in images of him, so even though this is 2005 and I had a digital camera and I know I photographed this with it, these are on film. If another cat had been in this scene or any of the others, I know it would have turned out completely differently. There was something magical about him, and his tourmaline green eyes.

Below, I have captured just his exaggerated shadow, and I see some of the tourmaline creeping into his silhouette.

shadow of cat with apron and stool
Just the shadow…

I remember Namir each day, but today is the day his big heart finally let go, and Namir’s creative and loving spirit lifted away. Every day from his diagnosis was a gift. He had fought, with good-humored vengeance, his HCM and congestive heart failure for four years, and he wasn’t going one moment, not one second, before he was done here, and in fact didn’t even give the pain or discomfort that came with his illness, and the volume of medications he needed to take, a moment’s notice. He arrived with a mission, and I’m honored to have been part of it. I know it was that unique spirit that makes many of his photos unique.

I’ve been anticipating this date, and been reviewing the photos from those last few weeks in 2009, him and Cookie and me out in the garden. But this photo was taken about a month before his diagnosis in August 2005, and quite likely was taken on this very date, July 1. For years I thought I’d lost these somehow, but there they were one day as I was looking for other photos. Knowing that Namir was involved, I’m certain there was magic.

Read more about Namir in Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-owned Cat where he returned to me and Cookie in the back yard as a hummingbird, Perhaps the Storm is Finally Over, Who Was That Namir, Anyway?and see more photos and posts about in by browsing the category Namir.

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Attentive, 2013
black cat with gold green eyes
Someone has lovely eyes.

Mr. Sunshine has brilliant green-gold eyes. He’s on the wardrobe at the top of the stairs, focused on a mourning dove who landed on the edge of the deck roof outside the window. Handy for me to get a good shot, and include those long, straight, shiny whiskers.

. . . . . . .

My Working Conditions, 2013
three black cats
You want to work? Go find another table. We’re going to have a nap.

Such are my working conditions.

This is a gallery of what my cats did to me yesterday when I was trying to get work done. They invaded my studio, beginning with Mr. Sunshine who went belly up on my work table, and then they proceeded to pour on the cuteness, just looking all fluffy and happy and cuddling so sweetly with each other, I could hardly stand it.

two black cats
They are too cute for words.

They did this all afternoon. All afternoon I was tortured with this cruel and unfair method. My only recourse was photography. Here is a slideshow of the entire incident.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Materials Ready, 2011
cat and art materials on table
All materials ready to start printing.

Okay…red ink, check, blue ink, check, yellow ink, check, pastel card stocks, check, bright card stocks, check, platen, check, brayer, check, big fluffy black cat, check,

No project is truly ready to start until there is a cat in the middle of it. Mewsette is the best at that. And we managed to print all the cards without any ink getting on Mewsette or any fur added to the design, which was no small feat when Mewsette needs to inspect each thing I do, and the ink is simply like thick sticky paste that welcomes black cat hairs to come and stay!

. . . . . . .

What were we printing?

set of hand-printed notecards
Set of five “Tabbies” Bright note cards.
Set of six "Tabbies" Summer note cards.
Set of six “Tabbies” Summer note cards.

My “Tabbies” block print note cards in a set of bright colors and a set of summery colors. Mewsette doesn’t understand what those marks are all over those tabby kitties because she and her family are solid black, but there was a time when I had all striped and spotted kitties!

You can find Tabbies Linocut Brights and Tabbies Linocut Summery in my Etsy shop.

You may also recognize the designs from my Valentine linocut cards which the Four closely scrutinized when I printed them.

Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.

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.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.


© 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: 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.

2 thoughts on “From the Archives: Downstairs Studio With Namir, 2006

  • love the desaturated version !!

    da tabbies want two tell de crew ~~~~

    Heerz two a climbin catfish kinda week oh end ♥♥♥

    • Me too, Tabbies–and one of these days I’ll scan the negatives instead of the prints and I’m sure I’ll find even more in those photos.


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