Wednesday, May 22, 2024
marketplacepastelpastel paintingportraits of animals shopprintswildlifeYour Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Marketplace: On the Wild Side

pastel painting of wolves
“Wolf Howl”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Something about bright autumn days and the colorful woods makes me think more of wildlife than other times of the year. I see more animals at this time of the year as all are migrating or scurrying around getting ready for winter, though it’s generally the winter season where I create paintings of them. I usually feature my art of cats and other pets, but this week I’m going to share some of my wildlife artwork.

portraits of animals logo
My official logo for Portraits of Animals.

Even though I began my art career sketching and painting my cats, once the door to my creative abilities had been opened I soon found other animals to be my subjects as well, including other animals considered pets and, of course, wildlife. That’s why my business name which encompasses all my art is “Portraits of Animals”, and you can see by my logo that it includes “pets and wildlife”. Fur, feathers, fins, animals are fascinating and beautiful and not self-conscious in the way that humans are, in fact it’s probably their differences from the humans I see each day that make them such an exciting challenge.

Backyard Birds in Winter
Snow Bird

I have traveled too little to see any real wildlife aside from the critters who inhabit my back yard, so I began my wildlife excursions from pictorial resources such as magazines and calendars and eventually moved to photos I took at our local zoo as well. Nonetheless, after being accustomed to seeing domesticated animals in the relative comfort of my home and neighborhood, it is almost a shock to see an animal which has never known a human and cares nothing for human companionship. Studying a wild animal in its natural habitat is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, that these creatures get along just fine (and probably better) without us, that we are really only one more species carrying out our lives on Earth. And while, for me, the inspiration to put an image on paper is always primarily a visual inspiration, wild animals carry the same emotional inspiration for me as domestic pets. Add to that the beauty of a natural landscape and you’ve got a perfect recipe for visual pleasure.

I regularly write about my “Registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, and even though small and in a regular old neighborhood near Main Street, it is host to plenty of native species of all sorts, especially songbirds hence my quantity of bird art, but I have a series of photos I’ve taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo and intend to go there in good weather to sketch and paint. Here is a little review, and you can click on any title or image to find the art in my Etsy shop, or simply visit my Wildlife gallery there.

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Wolf Howl

pastel painting of wolves
“Wolf Howl”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

This pastel painting of wolves howling in a snowy dusk is 22″ wide x 16″ high, and I used Rembrandt pastels on Canson pastel paper, leaving the rough edges.

It’s easy to personify what animals do, but when I saw this picture I pondered what made these wolves stop at that point and howl while the rest of the group moved on, and what they had to say.

The range of dusky earth tones and the textures inspired me to render it in a looser and more sketchy manner than usual, much as our eyes perceive things at dusk, letting the texture of the paper add to the image, and allowing rough edges to show some of the actual natural paper tone.

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Bison Shadow

detail of painting of bison grazing in sunset prairie
“Bison Shadow”, pastel on 26.5″ x 17.5″ on Hahnemuhle sanded watercolor paper.

I saw a photo in a magazine of bison grazing on the plains and remembered historical and fictional novels I’d read from the “Little House on the Prairie” series to the settlement of the Great Plains.

I put together what I saw in photos and what I’d visualized while reading of a countryside I’ve never seen.

This looks like a lot of bison, but considering how many populated this country just 200 years ago, this herd is just a shadow of what it once was, and in this orange twilight even their shapes are reduced to shadows.

The original pastel painting, 26.5″ x 17.5″, was done in Rembrandt pastels on Hahnemühle sanded watercolor paper. You can see a lot of ambient textures in the paper in this painting, and even, just above in the lower right corner, you can see the actual color of the paper. This is a sturdy German-made 300# watercolor paper with deckle edges which has the sanded finish used for pastel and charcoal layered onto it, tinted various colors. This was my preferred paper for pastels in the 90s and early 2000s in part because of the colors in which it was available. I rarely begin a painting with white paper, when when I saw the photos of the bison and envisioned this painting it begged to be painted on this shade of this paper, knowing I’d be able to use that ambient texture to enhance the feel of the prairie grass.

I have the original painting alone or matted and framed, and I also have giclee and digital prints available in my Etsy shop and I even have one last 12 oz. mug available too.

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pastel painting of cardinal in snow
“Accent”, 6″ x 12″, pastel on self-prepared board © Bernadette E. Kazmarski


Cardinals brighten my back yard all year round, and are especially brilliant on a snowy day. My back yard is a registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat and I have let brush and brambles fill in at the corners; this cardinal is in a tangle of wild grapevines with a fresh fall of snow. This was done en plein air–but not outside so I wouldn’t cause the birds to fly off, but from my back door.

This is one of a series of four backyard bird sketches that I also offer as a set of holiday greeting cards, just the paintings on the outside, entitled “Backyard Birds”.

Other Wildlife Art

Below is a slideshow gallery of more of my wildlife artwork in my Etsy shop. You can also find these and more on my original website under Wildlife and in my Marketplace purchase greeting cards with most of the images.

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Inspire Me Monday
Inspire Me Monday

We are participating in Create With Joy‘s Inspire Me Monday.

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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: 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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