The Artist’s Life: Something Familiar About That Black Cat on the Stool…

black cat on stool by easel
Jelly Bean posing like the kitty on the box.

In 2011 I took a series of photos of my cats in my studio while I was working called Sunday in the studio. One of the photos later reminded me of yet another artifact from my collection of feline-themed things from my childhood, one of the things that became an inspiration to me …

keepsake box for gloves with artist and cat
The Feline Artist With Her Black Cat

And what is that? A girl wearing a beret at an easel painting a black cat sitting on a stool?! Did someone know something I didn’t, or was the universe sending me signs?!  Why did it take me so long?

Above is that artifact, a satin-covered keepsake box, about the size of  a shoebox but not as deep, given to me by my aunt, I think. To be perfectly honest, this one was my mother’s and it’s in quite good shape since she kept hers in a dresser drawer with her cotton and silk gloves from years ago—mine, on the other hand, was always out on display because I liked to so much, and I still have it, though you can barely see the image on the lid.

Jelly Bean posed himself like this, I did not make any suggestions.

Cute little girls with unnaturally big eyes were the fad in the 1960s, and so were little girls and kittens. But I really did always love this keepsake box and displayed it on my vanity wherever I lived—and still do. Mine has a gold base with a Victorian flocked pattern, and the little girl is wearing a gold cowl neck and the kitty a gold polka-dotted bow—and was also a tabby. No matter, it still fascinates me to see this and remember how much I loved it from all those years ago. I don’t remember not having it, I must have been very young when I received it. Considering I was eight when my parents got me my first cat in 1969, I think I received mine before I even had a cat.

But the other cute thing is Jelly Bean himself, who is the cutest thing on four legs, and who at that time was really getting to like the attention from photos. I set up the black velvet on the table by the window to photograph these two boxes and he came hopping down the steps and sat by the box as if he had an appointment! Then he stayed around as we did a number of shots.

Note that the kitty in the painting also has a generous white area on his chest, much larger than the Bean’s which is more of a smear, but he does have his big belly spot. I’ll have to get him a red tie with polka-dots and maybe a gold one too, and he and I can pose for a silly photo.

But I don’t think I’ll have to pose Jelly Bean—he’s got the runway method perfected. I’ve included the slideshow below so you can see how Jelly Bean posed himself in this little shoot. He really did come noisily hopping down the steps as soon as I set the box on the velvet, and moved himself around and posed. In between he brushed a little dust off his lapel and shined his white spots. I’ve eliminated the really blurry images—and even by a window, photographing black on black is a challenge—but included the rest of them. Of course, had I known he would join me I would have used something else as the backdrop. What an assignment, photographing a black cat on black velvet. It just fascinated me that he had been sleeping and showed up for this and acted like a professional! Something else I don’t know?

. . . . . . .

I published this originally on this date in 2011 as a daily photo, and since it came up today, the day I typically publish profiles of portraits and other art, I thought I’d share it for a change of pace.

Read other articles in the category The Artist’s Life.

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.

© 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: Bok 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.

4 thoughts on “The Artist’s Life: Something Familiar About That Black Cat on the Stool…

  • November 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    dood….ewe bee de inspurr rayshun for a new product in mom B’s shoppe.. maybe !! ??

    hope yur week oh end bee filled with sea bass shrimp & sardeenz ♥

    • November 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      She thinks about things like that all the time Tabbies, but she needs more space if she’s going to branch out into new thingies.

  • November 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Quite the handsome model you have there B..maybe JB could get work posing for art love the vintage big eyed children and pet art Bernadette..I have a framed one of a sweet big eyed Tabby hanging here in my office area..I just love it and am always on the look out for more..I have a couple of little girls in my bedroom but would like more cats..Your boxes are so perfect for you..

    • November 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Bluemoonalone, who would think I’d take another different look at something I’ve been looking at all my life? I remember that whole genre and even though it was an influence I never caught on with it.


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