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Posts tagged “pets

Mewsette’s Minions

black cat with pumpkins
black cat with pumpkins

Mewse4tte and her minions.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us. You’re going to see a few more photos, and you can also join us on The Creative Cat for more every day!

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Awake, my minions, it’s Halloween! You know the plan—world domination by black cats via Halloween pumpkins! For every pumpkin a black cat! Now, go forth and find homes, and at midnight you will each become a black cat waiting in a shelter for a forever home!

We could only wish finding homes for black cats was that simple and fun. But tomorrow, you could go out and adopt a black cat from a shelter or rescue, even if you don’t have a pumpkin in your yard tonight! Think of the beauty of Mimi and her children and Emeraude, and consider adopting a black cat for your Halloween treat!

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I first published this in 2010 under the title “Help, Mom’s Gone Crazy” because Mewsette and all the other beautiful black cats couldn’t figure out what I wanted them to do with the pumpkins!

I just can’t figure out what she wants me to do but it has something to do with these pumpkins! Sometimes mom gets these crazy ideas and she chases us around the house and tries to get us to do things that we don’t understand, and she’s been after us with these pumpkins for days. I can’t wait till Halloween is over and mom gets back to normal!

Yesterday while mom was working on her computer I saw a few kitties wearing silly costumes. It’s just a really good thing she didn’t try that, and that’s all I’ll say on that subject.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us.


Mr. Sunshine and the Basket

black cat in basket
Lurking in Black and White.

This is a very large, sturdy flat basket that I use at shows and festivals, and in between to move things around in my studio when I need to clear a workspace, except that it most often has a cat in it, or several cats as the case may be. Mr. Sunshine discovered it on the table and, seeing he had it all to himself decided to make a good time of it.

Above, I simply desaturated to make the image black and white.

black cat in basket

With Green Eyes.

Here, I desaturated everything but his eyes, then added a 10% deep yellow filter back into it when it looked too stark. I also shot it on an angle intentionally because it takes a pretty static, common composition and literally puts it a little off-kilter, and makes you wonder what the black cat is up to, especially with one paw on the edge of the basket, and one claw showing.

You’ve seen enough of my studio to know it’s always got stuff stacked everywhere since I always have projects going and the room will never be big enough. So seeing Mr. Sunshine happily settling in and exploring the space within the basket I tossed a piece of neutral-colored mat board up against the pile of stuff always at the end of my work table so he’d have a solid, light-colored background that wouldn’t interfere with the light and color metering in my camera.

black cat in basket

Classic Sepia.

Sleepy kitty in basket! I desaturated and gave it a sepia filter just to warm it up.

I did get a number of nice photos, of which these are my favorites. Wasn’t it nice not to be distracted by all my stuff in the background for once?


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.


Shades of Green

two black cats
two black cats

Mewsette and Jelly Bean in reflected green light.

I thought I might share this photo today from The Creative Cat.

This is not to take off on the title of a certain series of books, it is actually the first thing I thought when I looked at these photos; there were, of course, more than one. Now that the trees have leafed out the sunlight reflects green into the house and enhances all those green eyes. Even my yellow art glass bowl hanging in the upper right corner looks green, and the wall behind—actually those are seen in that lovely round antique mirror, the wall and ceiling of the stairwell colored green by the light from the big window in my office at the foot of the stairs.

What wonderful faces to greet me at the top of the stairs.


The Eyes Have It: 2010

two black cats

Mewsette and Giuseppe awaken briefly to have their photo taken. Naps are a very important activity and not to be interrupted for light and transient reasons.

Eyes are striking no matter the species, and cats’ eyes especially because they are usually very bright colors. In a black cat’s fur, they look like gems and are often quite large in proportion to their facial features. Here they look like crescent moons in a deep night sky.

Mewsette and Giuseppe are brother and sister, two siblings of a litter of four I fostered and who still live with me. It’s a long story, but in the end they became such excellent art subjects for photography, sketches, painting and block prints. Even as adults, they are still close and tend to hang out in pairs or threes, and they sleep in a heap like kittens do, though they average 12 pounds each.

While they look identical at first glance, I have always been able to see the differences in their features. Part of the fun of working with their images is to show those differences, and their eyes are one feature unique among each of them in color, shape and angle.

The light in this photo is somewhat cool coming from a north window with a lot of reflection from snow, so their eye colors are a little muted, but Mewsette, on the left, has very light, bright green eyes, the greenest of the litter, with very little yellow. Giueseppe’s, on the other hand, are a warm yellow amber, just enough orange so the yellow doesn’t appear lemon. Mewsette’s eyes are round like all her other features—face, head, paws, rounded ears, blunt nose. Giuseppe has wide oval eyes that are pointed at the corners, and he also has an elongated face with a prominent nose, large ears and a long body, as everything seems to be stretched.

I photograph them all the time and often use their images in my own designs as well as selling their images as stock photography. This litter is only the most recent in my household—I have about 30 years of cat photos and have the last ten years of my digitals on my website. You can see them in action in almost every entry on my blog The Creative Cat, and on my Marketplace blog you can see them in my Animal Sympathy Cards. I have eight galleries of them in the photo section on my website.

Black cats can be difficult to photograph, especially if you don’t like to use a flash, as I do not; it tends to reflect off of black fur a little harshly, creating a photo that has too much contrast, highlights flashed out and missing detail, shadows saturated with black, and very little in between. A good bit of bright ambient light from more than one direction helps to capture the details without flashing highlights. My camera is a digital SLR, but I still use many of the same lenses and photo techniques I used with my film SLR in opening up the F-stop as far as I could while reducing shutter speed to avoid motion blur and ensure a sharp clarity of all those details I had worked to preserve.


My Little Sunflower

tortoiseshell cat looking through deck railing

Cookie in early December 2011, tired of having her photo taken.

It’s been a week since I posted this on The Creative Cat. If anyone noticed I haven’t posted since then, this is why, but I’ll be back to posting photos and sketches soon.

Another star watches over me tonight. Cookie is with the rest of my feline family in the heavens, but her love is with me forever.

I saw this begin late Wednesday night, Thursday morning she could not walk, could barely hold her head up, had no appetite, even after a few palliative treatments including curled and purring on my lap outside on the deck. I put everything aside just to be with her and held her on my lap the rest of Thursday, carrying her with me, for as long as her needs determined, accompanied by one or more of the Fantastic Four at all times.

Around midnight being held and handled was too uncomfortable and she began slipping in and out of consciousness, breathing irregularly. I worked in my studio, the room where it all began for us, while she laid on the floor watching me as I added the color to block printed t-shirts and prints of her as “The Goddess” and Kelly with “The Roundest Eyes”. Each of The Four took their turn curled next to her, purring.

I laid down on the floor next to her at about 3:00 a.m. Her eyes moved around, focused on my face, opened fully as her green eyes looked directly into mine; we held each others’ gaze for a minute or more as she lifted her petite paw and laid it on the back of my hand, comforting me, saying goodbye. Then she shifted her position and her gaze and drifted from consciousness. Her breathing and heart finally stopped just before 4:00 a.m.

This hasn’t fully hit me yet, what my home and my life will be like without Cookie after 19 years of her cheerful personality, finding her with me at every moment in the house and out in the back yard, pleasantly vigilant, purring and gazing lovingly at me, simply happy to be near me and watch over me. There will be enough time to discover that.

I may have been posting about her and featuring photos and sketches of her here more often than usual lately; I’ve wanted to be sure she got as much attention as possible, and surely we appreciate all the love and energy everyone has sent our way. I have also been spending more and more time on her care as her needs have demanded and I’ve neglected to reply to blog comments and thank each of you, but I knew there would be time for that and it would be a healing thing for me.

For now I am rather exhausted and will take a few days off to rest and get my thoughts together, follow up on other things I’ve neglected and begin to get accustomed to the change. I think I saw the torch being passed to the next generation and already they are vigilant, but it will take all four to fill Cookie’s little pawprints in the time ahead.

But here is a little reading and image list about Cookie while I’m away.

Cookie and Me, Our 18th Anniversary Cookie’s rescue and her life with me, in her own words.

Cookie Goes to Work, three articles about Cookie’s job as my shop cat.

The Goddess Truly Inspires, a collection of stories inspired by people who have seen or purchased a print of “The Goddess”, Cookie’s true portrait.

Cookie Love, her progression into renal failure, with some of the nicest photos I’ve ever gotten of her outside.

In the Kitchen with Cookie, a link to all the photos of her interacting with pots and pans and mixing bowls in the kitchen.

And Daily photos featuring Cookie and Kelly.

See you in a few days when I can talk about her again.

tortoiseshell cat looking through deck railing

I'll be seeing you.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


January Light

gray and white cat in sun

Namir in January morning sun.

I also posted this on The Creative Cat today; it’s one I’d wanted to share with both audiences.

January light is so beautiful, the sun still at a low angle streaming into windows and doors, the days often overcast and the brilliant warm yellow sunlight a respite.

I was browsing my library of feline photos and saw this one of Namir from 2007, who passed about the time I began blogging, and thought I’d share it. He has his toys there, the sisal mouse and a milk bottle ring, but as animals, and humans, do when they meet up with the relaxing effect of warm winter sun, a contemplative stillness falls, and perhaps a nap ensues.

Namir was so graceful and dignified and obviously knew how to strike a pose, even though he was a total goof and in another moment could be on his back with his legs impossibly twisted, or toss that mouse up in the air and do a back flip right after it. I love his pose, and also the little touches of home, my home, the canning jars, honey jar, oatmeal container; perhaps I only love it so much because it was one of those complete moments that we all experience now and then, where every familiar thing is in its place and all is warm and safe and filled with love.

I took a series of photos of Namir in the sun in the kitchen that January, enjoying them as photos and intending to do a few paintings, and indeed I did do a watercolor of one of Namir’s poses from another morning.

watercolor of a cat in kitchen

Darling Clementine, watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

I chose this one because I also liked Namir’s intent posture, ears forward, whiskers drawn back, his tail curled into the nearly perfect circle that was his trademark tail action.

This photo had much more light in it as it washed the cabinet, but I also had the wooden clementines box filled with things that needed to go into the basement, the canning jars and the cylindrical cardboard containers with their brightly-colored labels. Another example of that homey feel, my kitchen, my stuff, my habits, my cat, my home. Yet others enjoy it too. Sometimes we are not too different from one another.

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To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Black Cat Appreciation Day

two black cats

Those Luminous Eyes

It’s Black Cat Appreciation Day—why not? We do that every day here with five black cats. I have lots of gigabytes of photos of black cats, but here is one that I love best, in part because of their eyes, Mewsette and Giuseppe, sister and brother. I may post another, who knows? We’ve been making the most of this holiday on The Creative Cat and at Portraits of Animals on Facebook.


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