Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Marketplace: A New Votive Design from a Long-ago Sketch

new votive design
New votive design.

It’s true, with each event I find at the last minute that I MUST design and produce that thing that’s been on my mind for years RIGHT NOW. It can’t wait for the next event. So was the case with this votive. And, as always, I’m so happy I took the time and effort to realize the idea.

I created the ink drawing that is the basis of this design way back in 1988, called Puck at the Window. Its original intent was as a sympathy card for my veterinarian to use, but that never came to fruition. I’ve considered it in my own collection of sympathy cards, but I’ve also had many another idea for items on which I could use this design, most involving light, and most originating decades ago. One of the first was as a nightlight cover, then a suncatcher, eventually, of course, a votive.

Scroll forward to today, when I’m actually making these items and this design has been top of mind for the past two years, and I could picture this design on one of the four-sided jars I use for my cat art votives. But what was the best way to present it? I love the contrast in the black and white, but the labels I print for my glass items don’t quite capture that; the black isn’t dense enough and the edges aren’t completely sharp because the label has a surface texture. No, the labels are purrfect for continuous tone artwork, not line art. I could hand paint it in the dense black paint I use for glass, but I know I wouldn’t be able to reproduce this design well enough without taking a lot of time to handpaint each one. Trying to stencil or screen print each one would be too cumbersome because of the shape of the surface.

But now…there’s vinyl to cut, with nice clean edges and permanent application. After the fun I had making my Star of Wonder ornaments, yes, I decided I had to work this one out for my Holiday Open House.

I set up the design and cut two of them in matte black vinyl, applied them to two jars I’d frosted with glass paint, and applied the designs to the jars. Immediate love! I could see several details I wanted to change to make the design work better, but I was happy to have gotten this far. When Aunt Mary visited yesterday she had to have one, that also gave me the confidence this design has potential. So she got one of the two beta designs, and I’ve taken the time to play with the one I have.

For one, I want to make the cat figure bigger. I love the big window, but a slightly bigger cat figure in that open square will put more focus on the cat. Also, the one ear that’s separated from the rest of the cat is a real problem being that small, and I’m concerned it will fall off in time no matter how well I burnish it down. A bigger cat will make that piece bigger too. I had added the leaves of a plant in the upper right of the illustration to break up the geometry of the window, but they also need to be larger to be easier to work with and look like what they actually are.

Then, once I had the whole votive covered over with either black vinyl or black paint so that the light shone only through the design, the votive itself just looked so dark and severe, almost industrial, and the light inside the votive seemed dim. The original window where the photo was taken was a big Victorian bay window, and I’d also had the idea to open up squares on each side. I used a knife to cut rectangular openings on each side lined up with the window on the front of the one I had made. Immediately it felt lighter, and there was more light inside and out.

So I’ll make those changes, but not right now. I’m happy to see this one, and I’ll continue looking at it in case any other changes come up.

This votive also gave me valuable creative therapy as I worried about Simba’s condition.

And I have several ideas for what to name it. I could stay with “Puck at the Window.” I like to use the original titles of my artwork to name things that I make so that people know it’s based on a real cat and can even go and look them up. But I feel the need for a less specific title that would be more universal for others aside from me. “Window Silhouette,” “Silhouette at the Window,” that’s a theme in my artwork and I already have so many things with those words in the title. The silhouette isn’t the important thing, either, it’s more the mood. “Contemplation,” “Daydreaming,” something like that is what I’m feeling.

So, some time in January or February you’ll see the revised votive with an actual title. I’m looking forward to making these.

Read about my Holiday Open House here!


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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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.

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