Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Vintage Photo: Sally’s Twisted Nap, 1985

black and white photo of white cat
Sally’s Twisted Nap

Sally was famous for her stretched and contorted naps. She was just a little girl, barely eight pounds, but she could cover more territory with her fluff and her legs going every which way. This twisted nap is actually kind of normal considering her usual style as she did her best to occupy as much of the bed as possible.

Looking at the negatives, I took the photo below first, then decided to try a closeup. These were taken with my old original Pentax K-1000 and black and white film, and I think by this point I was getting accustomed to the 50mm fixed-focus lens and how it didn’t capture what I visualized. So I learned to modify how I took the photo, moving in closer, getting to her eye level, being careful where in the image I focused, and using film sparingly, not like now when I can take more photos than one roll could hold just for practice. Sally was a purrfect subject because she kept her pose regardless.

So when I moved in closer and came around to kneel at the foot of the bed and capture her face in focus and the rest of her softened by depth of field, she kept still and I got a good clear photo. Just like drawing and painting, what would I have ever learned about photography if my cats hadn’t known exactly what I needed to learn?

black and white photo of white cat
In good form.

I’m fairly certain these were taken in January, though on film it’s hard to tell. The ones before were from the previous autumn and the ones after were from early spring, so it’s a good guess. But all that snowy white with Sally and the Martha Washington bedspread, I think it’s likely.


Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Sally’s January Nap, 1993

white cat sleeping on bed
January nap.

Pretty Sally sleeps deeply on a January afternoon. Apparently, I snuck up on her, judging by the two photos before this on the roll which were the same pose, but the first taken from my bedroom doorway and the second from a middle distance. Sally was deaf, but her perceptions were very acute, and she sensed even a light footfall on the floor. Unless she was deeply napping, as she was here. Then I could do jumping jacks and she wouldn’t even budge—I know, because I did. But just as today, I love finding my cats napping on the bed or any other secure and comfy spot, and I love to study them there. She was the one and only white cat I’ve ever lived with, and was the first long-haired cat, and everything about her fascinated me, not the least of which was the light on and in her fur. So she really needn’t worry about me awakening her, because I’d stand there and study her all afternoon.


Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Nap on the Bed, 1989

two cats on bed
Moses and Stanley on the bed.

After last weekend’s photo of Moses and Stanley from the archives I remembered this photo from 16 years prior and actually found it. In that article I mentioned that Moses, when she was young and just integrating into the household, attached herself to Stanley and kind of copied things he did, like this. She usually slept under the bed, but when Stanley hopped up and curled up like a good tabby cat should, she followed him. This would have started the previous spring or summer, and I remember the first few times I came into the room she hopped down and ran under the bed. She got used to it in just a few months and, though if you look closely you can see her eyes aren’t all the way closed—she hasn’t moved her position, but she’s watching my every move. Stanley just continues to sleep.

I had taken the photo of Fawn as a kitten that became the painting “Waiting for Mom” the previous November; I know because of the yellow gingham bedspread. Fawn was permitted out in the house full time by then, and in a few months she and Moses were tumbling around in a full wrestle, and Stanley no longer had to walk around with Moses attached to him. But after we lost Fawn in 1999 Moses and Stanley began to nap and hang out again.

I actually took this photo intending to paint it someday, though I wanted to change or remove the pillow. We’ll see if I do.



Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Fawn and Nikka, 1997

torbie and dilute tortoiseshell cats
Fawn and Nikka, actually touching!

Fawn and Nikka were mentioned in my rescue story “Cast Away” as two cats who shared the house with me at the time I’d rescued Sasha. This photo of the two was in the folder of photos of Sasha, and I thought I’d share this one-time happening.

These two were sisters, born in My First Litter. Fawn, at the top, is the subject of “my first painting”, “the portrait that started it all”, “Waiting for Mom”. Nikka, at the bottom, is the subject of my rescue story, “Coming Back Home”.

Fawn, a “torbie” or tortoiseshell tabby stayed with me when all the rest of the litter had been adopted, including their mom. She had very clear stripes all over, but some were orange and some were black. Her paws were marbled, and she had two orange stripes at the end of her tail that were always signaling something, waving for happiness or twitching like a rattlesnake for tortitude. You can also read more about her in “The Balloon”. Fawn did have some tortitude, but she was all talk. She was the little sister of everyone and loved it until I moved here and Sophie and Cookie came along.

Below, her dilute tortoiseshell sister Nikka was not to be taken for less than her sister Fawn. Nikka was adopted, then I took her back at age 5. Nikka was friendly and playful and silly, but she was also a bully; the cat who she’d lived with suffered from urinary issues and was constantly ill and underweight until the two moved apart and he was like a totally, totally new cat. Unfortunately, Nikka chose Fawn as her target and literally stalked her and terrorized her often enough to keep Fawn worried. Then at other times they slept near each other like this, actually touching! This is the only photo I have of this event.

Both of them were absolutely beautiful and helped give me my lifelong love of tri-color cats; Nikka was the original diluted kitty who made me love them all.

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.

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pastel painting of white cat
A Warm Bath, pastel, 12″ x 10″, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I chose this pose because you could still see Sally’s face, though she was looking down, and there is something I love about a cat’s face at that angle, the soft forehead, the nose, the whiskers sprouting here and there. 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

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Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

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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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