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The Artist’s Life: Accepted Into an Exhibit, “Bath, Interrupted”

pastel painting of cat on quilt on bed
“Bath, Interrupted”, pastel, 13″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Yes, it’s my little butterfly Mariposa giving me that “I’ve so got you wrapped around my fluffy tail” expression as she pauses in her toilette to pose for yet another photo.

I entered this painting into two back-to-back exhibits through the 2021 Westmoreland Art Nationals, the Westmoreland County Community College Exhibit and the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, and it was accepted into both! This year both exhibits are entirely virtual. Each is juried separately, and that means an individual or team determines which pieces will be in each exhibit. To give you an idea what that means, I entered eight pieces—four paintings, four photos—kind of excessive, but it’s been years since I had the chance to enter an exhibit and I went all out with what I’d produced in the past three years, as directed by the show prospectus. Only two were accepted into one exhibit and one in the other. The first exhibit is the Westmoreland County Community College exhibit, and you can see all 159 pieces of artwork, including paintings, photos, sculptures, woodworking, and more, on their Facebook page.

Mariposa did not win any awards, but there is one last award to be given: the People’s Choice Award, chosen by the number of “likes” they get on Facebook. So I do encourage you to go and look at the art in this exhibit, and I’m not trying to influence your vote or anything, but if you like Mariposa’s painting please click the “like” button. I’d love for my little bunny to win though she’d probably be insufferable and lord it over all the other cats, I’m sure, forgetting that Mimi has won a few awards from the Cat Writers’ Association. I’d also love for feline artwork, and of an eartipped former feral, to win too. Right now she has 21 likes, which is more than most others, though one has 159. But whatever, even if she doesn’t win a thing she’s obviously a winner with me, and I wouldn’t have taken the time to create this painting if the subject and composition and medium and all else weren’t also winners with me. If you get lost in the gallery of images, they are in alphabetical order by artist’s last name.

A friend purchased the original painting a couple of weeks ago, but prints are available, of course, if you can’t live in a home without a painting of an eartipped former feral cat who’s a total star, and knows it.

In case you missed it in March, here’s more about the painting.

I’ve been planning to paint her as she is, not as I imagine or would like to pose her. I’ve been just waiting to get to know her a little better by constantly studying her—oh, please, twist my arm, make me stalk one of my cats and take endless photos. They enjoy all the attention and praise for permitting me to get a good photo. The continued study is to find the habits, postures and expressions that really belong to Mariposa. And also to see her in the places she likes best, and she loves the bed.

Detail of Bath, Interrupted
Detail of Bath, Interrupted, Mariposa’s face.

I took these photos last spring, knowing I’d love to paint this, but she was still maturing into her favorite places and habits around the house. I love cats taking baths, and cats on quilts, especially this colorful vintage postage stamp quilt, and the lifted paw with the toe beans really got me. But it was also the golden evening sunlight as the sun approached the horizon flowing fully in the window at just the right angle to illuminate Mariposa’s most notable qualities: her white mittens, her tipped ear with deluxe earhair, her exceptional eyes and her magnificent whiskers. Almost a year has gone by and several gigabytes of Mariposa pictures, but this one still has all the features I wanted.

Detail of Bath, Interrupted
Detail of Bath, Interrupted, toe beans!

As much as I loved the quilt, though, after I had painted in all those little patterned and color squares I kind of lost Mariposa! The painting was just as pretty as I had imagined, but Mariposa is the main point, and she needed to stand out. So I softened and blurred out all the little patterns and kept her in sharp focus, and I darkened some of the areas behind her a little more than they had been. It was exactly the best way to feature Mariposa.

Detail of Bath, Interrupted
Detail of Bath, Interrupted, quilt patterns.

It’s for paintings like this one, and the one of Sienna, with all those patterns and shapes and details that I love to do the watercolor underpainting. I enlarge the photo to the size I want to paint it, print it out, and put it on my light table with a piece of my watercolor paper that also works for pastels. I sometimes make outlines in pencil, but for these two I actually laid down colors with no shading so I had an indication of where things were when I started with my pastels. I work with my big soft pastels to start with, then work down to my pastel pencils. Whiskers, however, are always done with a well-sharpened white charcoal pencil reserved for that honor—because all of Patricia Fry’s book covers have white whiskers too.

What did Mariposa think of it all? Here was her reaction.

Is that another cat?

Mariposa looks at her painting
Is that another cat?

She looks familiar. But she doesn’t smell like anything.

She looks a lot like me…

Mariposa looks at her painting
She looks a lot like me.

It is me!!!

Mariposa looks at her painting
It is me!!!

Mariposa is so fun. I still can’t believe she was a year old from a feral colony and she so easily adapted to living indoors, almost as if she wanted it. I’m so glad we “test” as many ferals as we can, and since her colony had to be moved, then all needed to be fostered until I could take them out there in two or three shifts. There was something about her the next morning when I saw her in the trap.

One of my goals for this year was more new artwork, and I’m happy to have two cat paintings done. And here is another “cats on a decorative pattern,” one of those themes I’ve been wanting to pursue for years but never really had the time for all the detail. Now I have a nature painting to do as well, no cats, but another that’s been waiting for a while. And now that I’ve started this I kind of feel like I might do a sketch now and then.


Where to find this artwork

A New Member Thank You

Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free matted print of “Bath, Interrupted” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects. The New Member print is a signed digital print of my pastel “Bath, Interrupted”. This print is 8″ x 10″ and is matted to fit an 11 x 14 frame. Normally, prints are only available as a new member gift during the month while it’s the featured artwork and desktop calendar, but because she was popular and the painting is new I’ve left it us as available for a few extra months.

Or purchase another size print or greeting card

The original painting is available, framed.

Or choose another style or size of print of “Bath, Interrupted” on the product listing. I offer prints as:

  • digital prints on matte-finish art paper
  • giclees on art paper
  • on canvas in standard sizes
  • as framed prints, as shown, and custom framing is available

You may soon find this image on several gift items

You can find this art and more on Portraits of Animals. Search “Bath, Interrupted” to find what’s currently available.

Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.

Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Feline Artwork on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check 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.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


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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 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | 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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