Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Vintage Photo: Kublai Crazy Eyes, 1985

black and white photo of black cat
Kublai crazy eyes

Kublai had many expressions, usually defined by the shape of his eyes, here the crazy eyes, and he was probably ready to roll over and run off. I don’t remember, but I’m glad I managed to capture this expression, one of my favorites, on black and white film, in a closeup, a real achievement for me at that time. And I had no idea what it looked like until weeks later when I got the photos back. It’s hard to believe he was about four years old here.


Vintage Photos from Previous Years

A Nap Interrupted For No Good Reason, 1999

two cats on bed
Sally and Sophie look up at me as I appear with my camera.

Just as I do today, on this day in 1999 I walked past my bedroom doorway and saw cats on the bed, and had to go and get my camera and walk in the room to take pictures, which woke them up. I get the same looks today from today’s family of felines. Those aren’t happy expressions on Sally and Sophie, but at least they did look at me. In the second photo you can tell they are just waiting for me to go away. Some things never change.

They weren’t actually as grumpy as they appear. I did wake them up and I know they were wondering what I was planning next. Likely that was to walk over to the bed to pet them. Who wouldn’t? My two beautiful longhaired kitties having a nap on a cold winter afternoon, that’s enough reason to find them irresistible.

two cats on bed
Then they try to ignore me.

I’m not sure what time in early 1999 I took this photo, but in trying to place when this could have been I remembered that I lost both Sally and Fawn in 1999, Fawn in March and Sally in June. Sally developed an osteosarcoma on her lower jaw, which I first noticed in January when I petted her. I don’t see any signs of the resulting distortion to her face, so I would guess this would be earlier in that year.

And speaking of things that never change, all the things in these photos are in my room right now, except the dried flowers and plants in the vases. I wish these two were still in my room on the bed too, but at least I have photos and memories.


Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Kelly Birdwatching, February 2000

tortoiseshell cat looking out window
Kelly birdwatching

Little Kelly intently watching a bird just outside the window, so intently that she paid no attention to me at all. This casement window, the one that’s still at the top of the stairs, has a protruding hinge at the top and bottom corners, just right for a mourning dove to catch some warmth from the rising sun just as Kelly was while sitting on the windowsill on a cold February morning. She sat and patiently watched that dove, and others at other times, for whole minutes at a sitting, a real achievement for a busy kitty like Kelly. She had been with us four years but could still be a little nervous of me with my camera because I stared at her with it, and that might make any cat nervous, but especially a formerly feral kitty.

In that day, and in this, I felt this caught little Kelly pretty well, petite, guileless, intent, just a sweet little cat. I liked it so much that I sold framed prints of it and donated them to shelter auctions too, where Kelly was pretty popular with people who had cats who also did just what Kelly was doing. In fact, I still have framed prints of it in my display when I’m at an animal event, and here in the house, and when I built the new website, I added Kelly there too.


Allegro and Stanley, 1989

two cats
Allegro and Stanley

Sometimes the fun of taking photos with film was getting them back and finding a really interesting shot, one that you think is a failure at first, but in time grows on you. You can clearly see Allegro, but look a little to the right of him and you’ll see Stanley.

I remembered this photo through the years for the odd angle, and Stanley’s expression looking at Allegro. It’s an odd angle because they are both on the rafters in the basement and looking out the basement window at ground level, but they are directly over my head. I looked up and saw them in a spot they enjoyed, and just took the photo, having no idea if I would get anything on film because of the lighting. The little hexagons are the refraction of sunlight coming into the lens at an angle and creating sunflares, but it was dark up on the rafters where they were sitting.

Allegro was a mellow yellow kitty, but he and Stanley both reacted aggressively when they saw another cat out in “their yard”. Allegro being the larger and stronger cat, Stanley usually came out a little worse for wear, a victim of displaced aggression. Allegro is looking at something pretty intensely, and I think Stanley was sensing Allegro’s concentration and wondering if he should hit the road. If Stanley wasn’t sensing it, I was. Stanley’s urinary issues had been diagnosed and the stress of a conflict with Allegro could start him into a urinary infection and possibly a blockage and when I saw something possibly beginning I did my best to distract them to defuse the situation.

While I remember looking up at them in that spot I don’t know if that memory is from when I took this photo, or if I just remember them in a spot they enjoyed and I saw them in regularly in the years I lived in that house. It’s on the same roll as the photos of Stanley and Moses on the bed and Stanley and Fawn in the dining room. I suspect it’s even the same sunny afternoon.

I would often find Stanley and Allegro together, so the displaced aggression didn’t really hurt their friendship. Here’s a sketch of them I did on coquille back in those days from a photo I took of them enjoying a cool windowsill in summer.

sketch of two cats at window
“Boys at the Window”, 1998, 5″ x 5″, colored pencil on coquille board © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The basement in that house had four ground-level windows, two facing north and two facing south. This was one of the south windows that had the convenient beam they could crouch on. The other window didn’t, but Allegro could still fit himself on the windowsill, as in my pastel “Suncatcher”.

Suncatcher, , pastel on Canson Mi Tientes, 16" x 22", 1989 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Suncatcher, pastel on Canson Mi Tientes, 16″ x 22″, 1989 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Suddenly, in that year, everything they did became a possible subject for artwork. Yes, those cats made an artist out of me for sure.

Photos From the Archives and Vintage Photos

Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.

Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Feline Greeting Cards from Portraits of Animals!

portrait of black cat on floor
Are You Looking At Me? pastel, 17″ x 22″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

This pencil sketch of Sally is included in my set of note cards, “Feline Pencil Sketches.” The original is still available as well, but it’s one of the ones I don’t have listed Read more, and purchase.


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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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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