Thursday, February 22, 2024
Daily Featureessay

Our Happy Place, an Inspiration Once Again

This garden path looks strangely familiar.
This garden path looks strangely familiar.

When I look at my collection of garden cat photos here on The Creative Cat and not only find new ones back in my archives and on film but make new ones each day, I know where my happy place is, and my cats’ along with me. Even though most of the cats who’ve lived with me have not gone outdoors, everyone loves the CatTV channels they can find outside each window and door, in all seasons. And the ones who have, have made some deep and special memories for themselves and for me.

Where do I find my inspirations for the my paintings and photos and even my graphic designs? And how do I awaken the spark of creativity each day to move ahead and create new things? When we’re charged with being visually creative all day long in so many ways, be it painting or graphic design, or even in writing whether it’s creative or technical, something needs to be the practice ground, and something needs to awaken those senses each day before we start working.

…the places I’d grown my vegetables from my cold frame to my raspberry bushes, where my native plants had stood and called to the bees and butterflies and hummingbirds and songbirds, all in their season. I’d walked among them as if it was my own private park, and indeed it was, my backyard wildlife habitat, carefully organized over 25 years and giving me both sustenance and inspiration,…

For years it’s simply been my morning visits to work and play in my backyard which is registered as a backyard wildlife habitat and also includes a sustainable vegetable garden that for years provided nearly all my food.

And I started each day out there, in any season, always something to do, getting my exercise and fresh air, and then awakening my creative senses with my camera and sketch pad before getting to work as a commercial artist at my computer and easel. It was the best way to start any day, in the quiet of my habitat, and finding beauty in every little detail so that I could share it in what I created.

You know the paintings I’ve created from being outdoors with Mimi—Garden Sketch With Mimi, Mimi in the Laundry Shade, The Woodland Garden—and the photos that I’ve shared and those that have become greeting cards and sympathy cards and more.

I’ve also found inspirations I’ve used for non-feline things. As just one example of hundreds, the photo “Black Phase Swallowtail Nestling Into Phlox“ was one of those inspirations that I stepped into following this particular butterfly around my back yard on a summer morning. I offer it as a photo print, I used it in one of my greeting card designs in the “Inspired by Flowers” set named “Celebrating You“, I’ve used it on keepsake boxes and placemats and soon I’ll use it on jewelry, and I’ve also used it more than once in graphic designs in brochures, websites and illustrated signage.

Another afternoon I was stuck on a unique color combination for a quarterly publication I’d been designing for six years and felt I was out of ideas. I walked outside because I think better when my hands are busy and in pulling a few weeds from around my flowers I saw a bright ladybug on a rich green leaf, the black accents made it complete and I knew I had a winning combination.

Changes happened in the past few years preventing me from gardening and taking away many of the plants I’d loved. Honestly, I’ve felt kind of flat sometimes when it comes to creating new art and developing new ideas, nothing like when I played around in my back yard for an hour or two in the morning before getting to work.

But this year, despite concerns about getting work done and getting the income, and all the work I knew it would be, I decided I couldn’t live without this inspiration, and the good food too. Even though cats be obligate carnivores yet they can still supurrvise gardening to purrfection. It’s not really pretty and it’s not really finished, and this isn’t all of it, but the vegetable garden is in, better late than never.

Mimi inspects my work.
Mimi inspects my work.

And creating new memories with Mimi, another in a long line of felines who’ve supervised me in my work and loved the space as much as me. Pardon my dirty feet, insect bites and scratches, but Mimi and I are very proud of our work in the garden. Mimi is, of course, purrfect.

Mimi says it's good.
Mimi says it’s good.

Read more about this special place and what Mimi and I did this weekend to ensure it continues to work for our health and inspiration, and further visit samples of my painting, photography, poetry and prose inspired by this very place. I published an essay this weekend on Paths I Have Walked titled “Ten Feet High With Jewelweed“.

It’s Monday, and the phone is ringing. I’ve had my morning session and I’m ready to create. Enjoy reading while I enjoy creating!


Gifts Featuring Cats You Know!

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals!

Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals

Mimi in the Laundry Shade, watercolor, 6 x 6 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Mimi in the Laundry Shade, watercolor, 6 x 6 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This was painted from a photo I took in August 2015. I’ve always wanted to do a simple little painting of it: my colorful dresses and skirts moving gently in the breeze, the bricks in the patio outside my basement door, the bright sun and shadows, Mimi relaxing on the concrete step in the shade of the laundry. Just a nice memory of a simple summer morning. Read more and order.


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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© 2022 | | 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.

One thought on “Our Happy Place, an Inspiration Once Again

  • mimi….N its an awesum happe place …N joyz sum happee place time for uz pleez N thanx ~~~ ♥♥♥


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