Those Large Original Paintings

pastel painting of calico cat with peonies
“Peaches and Peonies”, pastel, 23″ x 16″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

For how much I write about Peaches and how much art she inspired, it’s hard to believe she was only with me for five years. Five years! Out of her 20 years, and I’m sure she had much more to tell from those other 15, she was such a pretty little cat I’m sure there were other equally beautiful moments from her younger life. But I’m so glad I captured this beautiful moment, totally by chance. It’s not only that the painting has a cat in it—though I may not have even noticed the scene but for a passing enjoyment of the flowers—but it does also have flowers, and color, and lots of interesting light, and contrasting dark areas and interesting shadows that are some of the things that inspire me most in a subject to paint, and in art that I enjoy looking at. I have Peaches to thank for finding that sunny spot to bathe in for about a week that spring and for giving me this subject to paint, and her memory.

Lately as people have been browsing my Etsy shop looking for merchandise featuring Mimi a few have asked about “Peaches and Peonies” and my other large original paintings and if I’d ever be able to give them up. The answer is “yes”, when I’m ready to let the painting go for emotional and aesthetic reasons, I look forward to knowing it’s in a new home where someone can enjoy it every day, and then I have space, physical and emotional, to create another one.

At one time I painted a new one every year or two, always from photographs of course because they take me between 20 and 40 hours each to complete. It’s a large commitment of time and focus because I find it difficult to work on more than one painting at this level of detail at a time. It’s been since I painted “Peaches and Peonies” in 2008 that I’ve painted a new one, though, and after organizing both years of photos and my studio space I am eager to finally realize some of the paintings I’ve been visualizing for years.

For instance, I painted “After Dinner Nap” in 1998 and in 2007 a friend and customer said she’d like to buy it. I had just lost Stanley that spring after 25 years so I felt a deep emotional attachment to the painting as well as its subject. But I had also turned a corner as an artist with that painting, achieving a new ability and style, something about the light and the manner of applying pastel that I’ve used in every painting since, and every time I looked at the original painting, I saw something new. I also wanted to wait until I was aesthetically finished with studying it. When I felt I was done, she was ready, and she now owns it though I can always visit. What could be better?

    Waiting for Mom, pastel, 16" x 23", 1988 © B.E. Kazmarski
“Waiting for Mom”, pastel, 16″ x 23″, 1988 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

My emotional ties with “Waiting for Mom” run deep. Fawn was the little torbie cat who was born practically in my lap with “my first litter” and then who I lost at the young age of 10.

This painting is also my first real pastel painting, the one others looked at and asked if I could paint their cat too, and got me started with portraits. I look at it now and still can’t imagine how I painted it then with my primitive cheap pastels and what I knew and didn’t know. There are things I’d do differently, but others I’d do just the same today. This painting was what sealed my fate for going on as an artist. But I don’t feel the need to hold on to it in order to keep my hold on my ability to paint, or to hold on to my memories of Fawn.

pastel painting of black cat on floor
“Are You Looking at Me?”, pastel, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

And my memory of my first black cat in a very special moment, such a difficult choice that took me nine years after he had passed to choose, also depicts a spot full of memories in this house, of him and many others. Much of the composition—the open door, the light and darkness—is highly symbolic and truly what I saw when I visualized his portrait, but nothing I logically chose and didn’t realize the significance of until later. It is detailed, yet very simple, my focus was on him. This is the painting I put on an easel at the entrance to my tent or display that ensures people will stop all day long and tell their stories. Kublai still has his magic, even in this painting.

Where to find this artwork

Yes, these three paintings are available, I plan other works of each of these cats and I’d love to know these paintings were in new homes. Of course, I also offer various prints and merchandise bearing each of these paintings. You can find them in my Etsy shop under “Waiting for Mom”, “Peaches and Peonies” and “Are You Looking At Me?”

photo of cat under bed
The reference photo for “Waiting for Mom”


The photo I took of Fawn under the bed and then later painted.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

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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.

© 2015 | | 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.

2 thoughts on “Those Large Original Paintings

  • April 17, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Bernadette, I’m a sucker for your evocative pastels!
    Sending love + healing thoughts to all,

  • April 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm


    you know my sentiments on these…they ALL rock…..and I know you’ve heard this
    before too….I envy your talent… favorite is kublai…he SHOULD be front and center…
    at your shows…every time I’ve seen this pastel I’m reminded of how “real” he looks in it…….

    awesum job ♥♥♥



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