an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

  • Tiny Grapes
  • Art booth in festival
  • My exhibit Friday night.
  • "Winter Sunset Reflection", 7" x 17", pastel on black paper © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
  • pastel painting of a trail in the woods
  • pastel painting autumn trail
  • pastel painting of snow on trail
  • pastel painting of three kids in swimming hole
  • I'm having an art exhibit~
  • Feverfew


My Own Labor History

My apron from Isaly's, and my acceptance letter from Edinboro.

My apron from Isaly’s, and my acceptance letter from Edinboro.

When I was a senior in high school I began my first full-time job as a cook at a local deli, Isaly’s in Pittsburgh. Working part-time nights and weekends until graduation I trained in the day cook’s position of opening the kitchen at 6:00 am to cook the lunch entrée and heat up the soups, open the doors of the shop at 7:00 am for the first customers wanting coffee and a pastry or a brown bag lunch to go, serve meals and beverages and offer counter help at all the stations as needed, plan the weekly lunch specials and soups and order accordingly, also using leftovers, with as little waste as possible, keeping the kitchen and walk-in freezer clean, and deep frying 50 pounds of fish every Friday for a community that still observed this particular weekly fasting menu. Whew!

For this I was paid my full-time wage of $3.50 per hour for all the hours I worked and was an apprentice member of the Hotel, Motel, Bar and Club Workers’ Union, a subsidiary of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union, which ensured that my employer gave me what he’d promised—a reasonable schedule for a high school student, maintaining the hours and wages agreed upon, full training for the job I would undertake, and the ability to question or file complaint if anything didn’t meet the standards we’d discussed when I was hired. In addition, the union as well as the shop oversaw my performance, that I learned what I needed to and worked as expected. I guess I did because when I graduated in June the day cook could finally retire as I undertook her 40 hours of weekly duties and also became a full union member, and received full health and life insurance benefits, guaranteed raises and vacation, pension, plus all other union benefits of assistance with further training in my field and the ability to file grievance if I felt one was necessary, and my employer could also appeal to the union if they felt my performance wasn’t adequate.

Now that’s job security.

It was 1979, minimum wage in Pennsylvania was $2.90 per hour. Using the US government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator for wages and inflation, my full-time wages of $3.50 per hour today translate to $11.26 per hour. My 1979 annual salary of $7,280.00 translates today to $23,423.95. Out of my wages I paid $20.00 monthly union dues, but all the rest after taxes was mine, and with that amount of income I could have moved out of my parents’ house into my own place and started my life as an adult, purchased my own clothes, food and necessities, bought a car and other commodities, and even managed to save a portion of it for retirement, a house, vacation, or even investment. In other words, I could live independently on the salary from a fairly unskilled job with training right out of high school. There were other, better jobs as well that required more effort and paid better, I had my choice. In my little spot in the world, nearly everyone was a union member, and a choice such as this had begun many a life-long career that raised many families, bought many houses, paid for millions of college educations and built the strongest economy in the world.

My choice

What I decided to do with that money was invest in my college education. At the same time that I’d applied for the job at Isaly’s I’d also applied, very late, to a state college, urged on by my high school guidance counselor, and been accepted; I’m not sure, but I think I took my SATs when I applied and got my results just in time. While there were, and still are, a dozen viable colleges and universities in Pittsburgh as well as dozens more trade schools and even other union apprenticeships where I could have attended while living at home, my guidance counselor gently pointed me to Edinboro State College, close enough to be easy to get to and full of students from Pittsburgh but far enough that I would have to live there, because they had a good art program and I could also have the option of a teaching degree with their long history as one of the state’s oldest teachers’ colleges. I didn’t have terribly good grades or SAT scores and no distinguishing activities at all aside from the fact I’d always been praised by teachers for my art and writing, but the school wanted students, and also had the lowest tuition of all the colleges in the Pennsylvania state college system at the time. It was perfect for me, beginner that I was.

My parents wavered between ignoring the idea and disdain at the idea I wanted to go to college. My father, we learned a few years later, had Parkinson’s disease, never said much and reactions were barely detectable, but my mother laughed and said I could try this but I’d probably come right back home; I was a minor so they signed my application at least. I don’t remember the reaction when I received my acceptance letter, probably because I’d rather not remember, but my mother was further angered when, while I’d dutifully signed over all other income from part-time jobs and even grass-cutting from the age of 14, I went to one of the banks on Main Street in Carnegie and opened a bank account, depositing my paychecks and learning from the teller how to manage the register and write checks. I actually didn’t think about the impact on my mother, it just made sense.

I paid my fees to the college, bought myself a set of luggage, some clothes, a winter coat and boots for life in what I heard was the “snow belt”, and a backpack, which seemed to be de rigueur for all college students and kept all the rest of the money in the bank. My parents filled out my financial aid forms, though after my first semester I declared myself independent of them and completed them myself. My boyfriend drove me up for Initiation Day just before he left for Air Force boot camp, and I told my employer about my change of plans.

Through the rest of the summer I worked and trained my replacement. On the day I left for college my mother stayed in bed while I piled all my stuff into the back seat of my father’s olive-green Impala and he drove me up, dropped me off, gave me the only hug I remember in all my life, and went back home. After attending four years, including summers, working five or six part-time jobs on and off campus the entire time, taking the bus home only for occasional holidays, making a fair number of misguided mistakes as well as good decisions, I graduated with 178 credits out of a necessary 120 to graduate, only $700 in student loan debt and a BA in English, but I learned much more than grammar and a love of Shakespeare.

Coming back

The world had changed dramatically during those four years as the steel industry and most of the economy in Pittsburgh had totally collapsed. Within years jobs like the one I’d had at Isaly’s no longer existed, and unskilled beginning jobs were non-union, often taken up by unemployed adults, and wages stagnated. For nearly a decade all jobs were uncertain, layoffs were common—I was laid off four times in my first three years out of college—and population dropped as people left for jobs elsewhere until Pittsburgh found its feet again, in education, health care, and hi-tech development and manufacturing.

I didn’t have the chance to go on with the education I’d planned, to teach English and comparative arts at the college level and become an artist and writer in my own right; soon after I’d graduated my father injured himself at his lifetime occupation as a baker in small family bakeries, was diagnosed with lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease and both parents needed assistance of all sorts. I worked any job I could find and began freelancing even then, and by the time my parents’ situation had stabilized with my father in a nursing home and my mother settled in the house but with a car and a drivers’ license, I had some debt to remove and, after a lot of deliberation, decided not to return to school but to try to make a career out of what I could do already. After many twists and turns both in and out of my field, I ended up being a typesetter for nearly 20 years as well as installing ceiling fans for cash and decorating malls and painting signs and all else I could make out of what I’d learned in college and afterward, here I am, self-employed as an artist and writer, and now and then I get to teach something.

My personal labor history

As a young person I was able to begin the course of my adult life by choosing between a skilled job at a living wage or a college education and what that could bring me later. The minimum wage (or even the 1979 server wage of $1.81 per hour plus tips) and slightly higher wage for skilled labor were each living wages and I could either start my career right then or work my way through college because my wages could sustain those choices.

I won’t bemoan the opportunities that are no longer available. The world changes as time passes, and hopefully the changes bring not only different but better opportunities, the things to which we are accustomed are replaced with things that make our lives better and easier, education matches the needs of society and its work force. But the days of working your way through college with a bunch of part-time jobs, or being able to live independently right out of high school, are so far out of reach it must seem to most people that there really are no choices, and no place to go. I was glad for the choice of an unskilled career job that enabled me to learn true independence, save money, and help me set sail, and I’m also glad for the college degree I could afford and without which I would have ended up living in my parents’ basement for the following decades. Today, I would not have the choices I had 34 years ago, and would certainly not have had the courage to make the decision I did to go to a four-year college and see what happened. How can you look forward to your life when your future seems out of reach and unaffordable? What do determined dreamers like me do? I’m not sure, but we need to find a place in the labors of our society for everyone.

Vitis Riparia

Tiny Grapes

Tiny Grapes

One of our native grapes, hardy stock that can grow to the tops of the tallest trees, the fruits are usually eaten by birds before we humans can pick them. Generally I clear the grapevines off my trees and shrubs and make baskets and wreaths and garlands from them. These grew up the neighbor’s pussy willow and and came to hang in front of my bathroom window, the one with the view of the valley. I had decided to cut the vine and pull it down until I saw these tiny grapes earlier this summer. I was so enchanted I decided I’d just watch them to see what they would do. Stay tuned.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

Evening Flowers, What a Nice Event

The flowers on my table gently touched by evening light.

The flowers on my table gently touched by evening light.

The sales were good, and the contacts I’ve made too, but the best part was meeting people who recognized the trail they know and love right where it happens, and letting people know that art can happen in unexpected places.

As I’d mentioned, I’d wanted to host the show at the event to be sure the people who used the trail, who typically attend the trail’s annual fundraiser, would see and enjoy it. And for the number of people who stopped to look at “The Rope Swing”, and then came in and recognized even more, it was highly successful. I heard stories about the swing, and many people recognized the sites of several of the works and told me exactly where that was so I know they’ve walked the trail and the woods as much as I have. I also had the opportunity to tell people I’d done about half of the works right there on the trail, not home in my studio. People don’t always realize that artists often work on site, “Even in the snow?” Sure, I said. That’s how I capture the essence of the scene. A painting is not just what you see, it’s also what you hear and smell and touch and taste, and being there while you work gets it all into the painting.

Art booth in festival

My booth on Saturday.

We often don’t find the things most familiar to us very inspiring simply because we are so accustomed to seeing them, and often don’t “see” them at all anymore. The fact that I found the trail and surrounding area, their neighborhood, the place they called home, to be an inspiring subject for art made a lot of people smile and comment that was why they liked it too, that was why they’d moved there.

Best of all were the kids’ assessments of my art, these paintings of the places they played, the places they’d remember all their lives. “Your stuff is pretty good,” they said. “This is really nice art,” looking serious and nodding their heads. They were serious, and I took it as a compliment. A big compliment. Coming from a ten-year-old boy or a couple of 14-year-old girls, that was huge. I hope one or more of them take a new look at this beautiful place when considering photography or painting.

I wish I’d had the chance to photograph people browsing my art, but I’m kind of glad I just didn’t have the time to.

Me smiling at my flowers as I'm identifying them.

Me smiling at my flowers as I’m identifying them.

And I also had a number of friends visit me, and a few who helped me set up and who I could also share a few favorite places with, namely the site with the rope swing, which was directly behind my booth in the woods. One couple came with me to fill my vintage kettle with water for the wildflowers I would gather to have in my display, and on the way there and back walking through the woods I showed them the rope swing and proceeded to identify all the wildflowers around us, walking encyclopedia as I can be.

Walking along the trail through a spot of sunlight.

Walking along the trail through a spot of sunlight.

It occurred to me then that it would be nice to have some photos of me walking through the woods with wildflowers. We didn’t really have time when we got back to my booth so I let it go, but decided today how much I’d like to have some photos of that walk and asked if they would mind coming back and taking a few photos since they knew the walk we’d taken and what I’d looked like, and the type of photos I wanted.

Walking between two tall maples, like the entrance to an enchanted place.

Walking between two tall maples, like the entrance to an enchanted place.

Michelle agreed, so I donned the same clothes as yesterday and we got a few nice photos. And who knows, they may be paintings as well some day. But at least I know what I look like!


Thanks, Michelle!

Thanks, Michelle!

Because it was so hot and humid and I didn’t want to greet visitors covered in sweat I wore a silk skirt and a lightweight cotton camisole. That worked well, but the effect of humidity on my hair made it totally frizz, even after a recent henna and olive oil treatment. Ah, summer.

Read more about my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Take a look at paintings from this exhibit.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

My Booth Friday Night

My exhibit Friday night.

My exhibit Friday night.

Last night was a lovely night–a little warm and humid but well attended, lots of visitors, the rain held off until after we left and I’ve sold a few things already! I had wanted to share this photo on social media last night but simply could not get enough of a signal so I’m posting it here. Hopefully I’ll be able to share today–after a foggy, soggy morning has turned into blue skies with pretty puffy clouds.

Looking forward to a great day during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Take a look at other paintings from this exhibit.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “Winter Sunset Reflections”

"Winter Sunset Reflection", 7" x 17", pastel on black paper © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Winter Sunset Reflection”, 7″ x 17″, pastel on black paper © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I decided to do this painting at pretty much the last minute, though I’d been visualizing it for a long time. The scene is one I’ve often seen along the trail on a winter evening. This painting was done from a photo I’d taken one of those winter evenings on the trail, a clear, cold day with a cloudless sky at sunset, the sky reflected on Robinson Run. The velvety darkness of the land contrasts so completely with the brilliance of the sky and its reflection on the water and, simple as it is, it’s always been one of my favorite images

I used black Canson charcoal/pastel paper and only painted the areas of light and finally achieved what I’d been visualizing.

You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Also take a look at other paintings from this exhibit.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “Spring Woods Trail”

pastel painting of a trail in the woods

“Spring Woods”, pastel, 8″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The decision was: do I paint this steep section of the trail looking up from the bottom, over the tops of all the new plants sprouting from the leaves and debris and up into the tree tops, or down from near the top, with little bits of Robinson Run far down off of the edge?

In the end I liked the downhill view better for its perspective and the fact you could see the trail at your feet, plus, with many trees at eye level, you could see so much more of that wonderful spring green.

I’d considered this one so long that I’ve only just painted it, though I took the photos a few years ago. I’d actually planned it as an acrylic painting, seeing all the potential for gentle textures on the surface, but when it came down to it I returned to my old friend, pastels, and did a lot of finger painting.

You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Also take a look at other paintings from this exhibit.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “Colorful Autumn Trail”

pastel painting autumn trail

“Colorful Autumn Trail”, pastel, 8″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Here is one for the season upcoming. This painting doesn’t have as big of a story as others, but I will say it’s hard to paint along the trail in autumn—or anywhere else for that matter. The overwhelming colors, especially on a sunny day, have me running from place to place looking for the best spot to paint until the narrow window of good sunlight on an autumn day is past, so I end up working in my studio.

I like to capture the tree-covered hills and water and sky and just plain nature in most paintings because the trail itself isn’t a very interesting feature, being just a flat limestone chip path. But in this case, in autumn, it provides a break in the riot of color and also an area to feature those long blue shadows of the trees themselves. That’s really why I chose this scene when I came home with a head full of colors and shapes. But after organizing the art for this exhibit and realizing how few autumn sketches I have, I have given myself an assignment for this autumn.

You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “Snowfall”

pastel painting of snow on trail

“Snowfall”, pastel, 11″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It isn’t always eternal summer on the trail, though memories might make us think so. Winter is my favorite season to paint. I love the subtleties of color and shape with snow in the air and on the ground, and on the trail I am often all alone with the quiet of a winter day, or a gentle snowfall.

In this case, I was glad for the time alone and quiet, and my art materials. This is from several years ago, one of the sketches I’d actually done in the front seat of my car during a late winter ice and snow storm, with a personal connection. I’d moved my mother to a personal care home in a neighborhood adjacent to the trail and often combined visits to the trail and visits to my mother. She didn’t care at all for trails, but she thought it was pretty cool when I would pull up in front of the home on my bicycle in shorts and a tank top to visit and cool off and eat my lunch on a summer afternoon when all the other daughters were in jogging suits driving minivans. Though my mother suffered from a number of heart and lung conditions she was overall well but weak, though she often suffered from mild dementia; visits could be troubling.

So it was this winter day when I had driven there. The roads were cleared but the trail was not, still, I wanted a dose of nature after my visit and knew of a spot close where I could pull up next to the trail. Not a mark was in the deeply fallen snow, and I decided I would not be the one to leave mine, it was just too perfect. The snow was falling too heavily to work outside my car, so I angled my car just right and sat in my font seat and began a sketch, then decided I should leave before the roads grew worse.

I’d always intended to finish this off, adding some bare trees fading into the distance in the heavy snowfall, but I think there was a reason I stopped at this point, and I think it captures this snowy afternoon and my conversations with my mother as it is.

You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.


There’s still some of summer left, so jump in and have a splash! And I hope to see you this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “The Swimming Hole”

pastel painting of three kids in swimming hole

“The Swimming Hole”, pastel, 17″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This is another of the images from the Panhandle Trail I’d wanted to paint for quite some time–or should I say, I wanted to finish for quite some time. It’s a few kids in a nice deep pool in Robinson Run along the Panhandle Trail. You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.

This painting was actually visualized during one of the visits with my great nieces and nephews and I knew I’d have to paint it, but this one came about in bits and pieces, and I’ll say it evolved over a period of years. I took a photo during one visit in 2010, but that wasn’t enough information when I decided I wanted to catch the whole scene, not just the kids in the water so I went back to the spot and took more photos on my own, but no one was in the water and it just wasn’t right.

On another visit in 2011 I took lots of reference photos from different angles and even did a small pencil sketch, then individual photos of them in the water, knowing I could never get out my pastels and paint them right there. In my studio the following year I lined up my photos and visualized something pretty close to this but couldn’t get a feel for it from just the photos, so I took my pastels to the trail the next summer, 2013, and laid down the basics of this sketch while there, trying to capture the colors and light and positioning of everything. I didn’t have all the colors with me which I needed and I knew I’d be working on it in my studio to add the kids in the water so I knew I wouldn’t be finishing it right then. I set the sketch in my holding area for more work, and there it sat.

Until, honestly, last week. Though I’d been intending to get back to it over last winter, thinking of the joy of revisiting a hot summer afternoon in the swimming hole in the middle of a cold and icy winter, I just never did. Even when I decided to do this exhibit and pulled it out, I still just couldn’t visualize everything. I pulled out the sketch and the photos of the kids in the water, and it just wouldn’t come together. Something was missing. One sunny afternoon passing by the trailhead I just decided to go there, parked my car, took off my shoes and walked off to this area in my “work clothes” as I’d been meeting with a client, held my skirts up above the water and waded as far as I could. A few more photos and I was ready.

I got home and planned where in the water the kids would go, made a composite from one of the original photos, added the kids into it in Photoshop according to what I was visualizing, and finally, after four years, finished this painting! And as it ended up the “three kids” were based on my one nephew who just happened to be in the right spot in the water at the right time.

I love painting water, and never give myself enough of a chance to paint it. I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on all the details in the water as well as the direct and reflected light and the colorful shadows on the kids, the way the mid-day sun fell on the water, alighting the top layer of the brush and just touching leaves in the trees with brilliant highlights and creating deep shadows underneath. It’s part of what I think of when I think of summer.

Like the rope swing, how did we kids live through our childhoods jumping into a deep pool of water in a creek off in the woods? For me, unless the water smelled really bad or it was filled with something I didn’t want to touch, I was in it. Water is irresistible to me—if there is water, I at least have my feet in it, if that’s at all possible, and even when it rains I’m out in it for a bit, or standing in the gutter along the street in front of my house letting the rain water run over my feet. I think most kids are like that, and while there are dangers in places like swimming holes, avoiding dangers is not always the best way to deal with them. Instead, learning how to safely use the swimming hole can help teach a life lesson about observation, caution, and when to let go and enjoy things that aren’t manufactured for our use. That’s one of the joys, and lessons, of nature.

There’s still some of summer left, so jump in and have a splash! And I hope to see you this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

New Painting: “The Rope Swing”

"The Rope Swing", pastel 14" x 20"

“The Rope Swing”, pastel 14″ x 20″

Earlier this year when I imagined organizing an exhibit of landscapes I’d on sketched and painted on, and of, the Panhandle Trail, this image was the principal image I envisioned and has become my symbol for this exhibit, much as I love some of the others in the collection.You can see it along with others this Friday and Saturday during Rock the Quarry in my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”.

I hadn’t done this painting yet, but for years I’d planned a painting of this iconic rope swing, which everyone who’d grown up in the area knew about, and for all the years I’d considered having an exhibit like this, on the trail, as part of the annual event, the decision to finally paint this also made me decide this was the year to do it. I usually volunteer a few hours in the kitchen and walk around to take photos, and this will be really fun.

How did we kids live through our childhoods with things like rope swings available to us? I was thrilled to find a rope swing the first time I went exploring off the trail years ago and took a few swings on it myself just for fun, and when my great nieces and nephews came to visit from Savannah, a visit to the trail and the rope swing were tops on the list. Here are a few photos of them on the trail and swinging on the swing.

I pictured this painting to be in high summer, when the sun is bright and hot and the woods are dark and cool, and just coming upon the tree and the swing, the stream running past, standing in the deep darkness underneath looking at the lacy sunlight on the leaves of the tree and lacy shadows on the packed dirt beneath it and the swing itself silhouetted against the brightness beyond, in that moment when the potential is there, just before you decide to go for it.

The spot where this swing hangs is also one of my favorite places off the trail, and I visit there each time I use the trail, in all seasons—in mid-summer to have a dip into Robinson Run where there’s a nice pool there with water that’s always cool, and in winter to see the stream in winter, covered with ice and snow piled in the woods.

So there it is, the old rope swing, waiting for you off in the woods. Go and have an adventure!

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.

“Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons Along the Panhandle Trail”, August 22 and 23

I'm having an art exhibit!

I’m having an art exhibit!


seasons along the panhandle trail

original paintings and sketches

opening friday august 22 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
through saturday august 23 noon to 9:00 p.m.

panhandle trail quarry area as part of Rock the Quarry

FEATURED WORK: “The Rope Swing” 14” X 22” Pastel

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I’ve been visiting the Panhandle Trail for nearly 15 years with my bike and on foot, for exercise and inspiration, more inspiration than exercise, packing in with backpacks of camera equipment and art supplies. I’ve taken thousands of photos along the trail and off in the woods, but I’ve also done a number of sketches while there in pencil, charcoal, pastel and watercolor, and arriving home in my studio to do more from photos. I’ve collected a number of these for an exhibit, but not in a gallery—right on the trail, where I’ve spent so much time and found these inspirations. It’s the place where I found the scene of one of my favorite paintings, “Dusk in the Woods”.

Click here to see a list of posts featuring other artwork in “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow”.

quarry pond

The Quarry Pond

You’ll find me in my tent during Rock the Quarry, the annual fundraiser for the Collier Friends of the Panhandle Trail. I’ll have my exhibit set up and also have a small display of prints, photos and notecards I’ve created over the years of scenes from along the trail and off in the woods. Once Rock the Quarry is over, they all come home with me so this will be your only opportunity to see them all together, although I will set them up as an online gallery as I have been setting up each of my exhibits.

A portion of sales of art and merchandise during Rock the Quarry will benefit the Collier Friends of the Panhandle Trail.

So join me at Rock the Quarry August 22 and 23

I use this trail all the time, and part of my giveback is to maintain their website and the little bit of social networking that we do, along with photographing things. I always volunteer during the event, usually in the kitchen dishing out easy food, but this year I’m giving something different.

rock the quarry

Rock the Quarry 2013

What’s the quarry? The Panhandle rail line, which was removed to built the trail in the old rail bed, runs right through a century-old limestone quarry, a portion of which is still actively quarried. The quarry ponds are there and that and the woods around make a natural gathering place.

Music, food, science demo, games, raffles, bonfire, fire trucks, fun for all ages.

For over ten years, Rock the Quarry (RTQ) has been an annual tradition. RTQ features two days of music, food, and fun. Each year, RTQ showcases up-and-coming local musical talent. Day two of RTQ features lots of activities for the kids as well as the Grand Rubber Duck Race and the traditional Sunset Remembrance Ceremony.

For more information on the event including maps and parking, please visit

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

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© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski


Poem for Saturday: Feverfew



Do flowers make us happy? Especially those little smiling faces of daisies and daisy-like flowers? Used to represent a universal flower type, little white flowers with yellow centers and a circlet of white petals have always been recognized as symbols of innocence and childhood.

I’m a sucker for a little white flower, be it chamomile or a daisy or an aster or…feverfew, even the mounds of it that take over sections of my garden every summer. It’s a native wild plant in my area and once it gets a root in the soil nothing can stop it. Yet it looks as delicate and happy and innocent as a flutter of butterflies.

Through the years caring for my mother and brother, money woes and running my business, the coming in and sadly, leaving, of members of my feline family have tended to pull me deeper into myself until I can’t get past myself to my creative self that is totally unaware of all these daily things. Sometimes when I’m weighed down by everything around me, a trip to the garden and seeing little smiling flower faces dotted with dew can awaken my creative senses and lift the weight off my shoulders—and a good thing because I need all my strength and balance to run around with my camera and sketchbook. A trip to the garden in the morning pulls me out of that space for just enough time that I can reach that creative self in time for another day’s work in my studio, and my kitchen, and around my house as I smile back at all those little happy faces covered with dew and suddenly see photos and paintings and fabric designs and, for the moment, forget anything else.


Oh, I can’t stop looking at all the feverfew
in my garden,
I just keep running from one cluster to another
those tiny perfect daisies
in umbels as if floating without stems
on waves of bright green leaves
the dots of dew flashing, sparkling
in the day’s new sun
just arrived over the horizon
its color still warm and yellow
as if it’s a cookie just taken out of the oven
and I have to look at all the feverfew
from every angle
until I’m done looking
and I discover I’ve forgotten all the problems of yesterday
and all the ills of the world that I feel the need to carry
and I’m laughing
and dripping with dew myself
and visualizing stunning works of art
and amazing poetry and prose
most of which will ever be realized
nor do they need to be
the inspiration only needs to settle into my soul in this early morning in June
and its glow will warm heart
and keep me laughing with joy
through the day
and the next
and the next.

Poem “Feverfew” by Bernadette E. Kazmarski © 2008, may not be reproduced in any way without express written permission of the author. Links to this blog are fine.

I read this poem at my 2008 poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall which you can read in Paths I Have Walked, outlined below. Also visit the writing section of my website to read more poetry and see more art and photos.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

poetry book

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski


People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


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