The Tortie Girls

The Tortie Girls Linoleum Block Prints

These two tortoiseshell cats are Cookie and Kelly, both rescued and fostered, but who ended up staying with me for most of their long lives. They were both inspirations for many works through the years, but this set of linoleum block prints is actually my favorite depiction of them.

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

From the time I first described this idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

And then others tell me tales of their slender round-eyed torties!

I’ve printed these girls on many things and am constantly creating new unique items like serving trays and tablecloths. Click below to see what’s available now, or scroll down and read more about the prints and the girls.

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very slender  tortoiseshell cat with very round eyes, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. “The Goddess” is the other print in this set.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” are hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints of my two tortoiseshell cats, one very round and one very slender, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. You can read more about the girls and the prints below.

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” set of matted and framed block prints.

Order your set:

You can also order these prints individually:

The Goddess

The Roundest Eyes

And see the whole collection of prints, tees, trays and table linens on The Tortie Girls Linoleum Block Prints.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy. She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your print style:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your shirt size:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table.

I only have two left! Then I’ll print some more.

Set of two:

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table.

I only have two left! Then I’ll print some more.

Set of two:

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Made of unbleached cotton muslin, this little accent tablecloth is 36″ x 36″ and has the same image printed four times, one on each side. It is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag.

I only have one tablecloth. Someday I’ll print some more.

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Tortie Girls trays, set.

These are lightweight 10″ x 13″ pine wood trays each with a hand-colored and signed block print of my tortie girls, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, adhered in the bottom. Inside of the tray is painted pure white, outside and upper edge is painted pure black with a matte finish on the entire tray.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors so I have them on hand. I sign each print when the embellishment is complete and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. Then I give each tray a light sanding and paint each tray with acrylic paint.

I trimmed down the finished, colored print to fit inside the tray and adhere it into the bottom of the tray with acid-free mounting  adhesive. Later I’ll add one coats of finish on the inside of the  tray to protect the print.

The trays are good for decoration on a tabletop or wall, or to use to actually carry lightweight items but are not suitable as a hotpad or to carry heavy dishes or other items. If kept in direct sunlight the watercolors will fade in time but the inks and paints will not. They can be easily wiped down with mild detergent or diluted all-surface cleaner but not immersed in water.

The trays are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints in the trays; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

See other gifts featuring my Tortie Girls.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

Set of Tortie Girls wood-mounted prints.

The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I offer “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” individually as well as in a set.

The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” adhered to the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I sand and paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors as I need them, and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. I sign and number each print when the embellishment is complete.

The blocks are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

"The Goddess" wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess” wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

"The Roundest Eyes" wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes” wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

“The Goddess” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very round tortoiseshell cat, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″. “The Roundest Eyes” is the other print in this set.

Also scroll down to read about customizing your tortie print.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

Above is a hand-printed linoleum block print tinted in tortie colors featuring my Cookie, who was indeed “The Goddess”. From the very first time I showed the design to someone, and each time I set up a display where the prints are included someone, or several, stops by to tell me about a cat they have “who looks just like that”, and tell me stories and share a laugh. People often tell me stories when they purchase prints as well. The number of them who were rescued always warms my heart.

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Roundest Eyes”, featuring Kelly, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw  . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy.   She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

How the designs came to be

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

Cookie on her back.

Reference photo for “The Goddess”

"The Goddess," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Goddess,” hand-tinted linoleum block print.

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

linoleum block

Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

Cookie's face.

Cookie’s face.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Roundest Eyes,” hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

A little bit about block printing

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Despite the fact I’ve been trying to video a little block print demonstration, all I have are a few photos taken as I was printing the “Tabbies” cards for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a brief slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I nearly always add color to The Tortie Girls with watercolor or dyes since that was part of the original design, and I’ll often add color to other designs to give them extra interest.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

The Tortie Girls Set

matted framed block prints.
The Tortie Girls set.

Each image is 9″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions are 16″ x 20″, but I also offer other frame sizes and the Tortie Girls designs on many other things.

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very slender  tortoiseshell cat with very round eyes, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. “The Goddess” is the other print in this set.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” are hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints of my two tortoiseshell cats, one very round and one very slender, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. You can read more about the girls and the prints below.

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” set of matted and framed block prints.

Order your set:

You can also order these prints individually:

The Goddess

The Roundest Eyes

And see the whole collection of prints, tees, trays and table linens on The Tortie Girls Linoleum Block Prints.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy. She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your print style:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your shirt size:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table.

I only have two left! Then I’ll print some more.

Set of two:

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table.

I only have two left! Then I’ll print some more.

Set of two:

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Made of unbleached cotton muslin, this little accent tablecloth is 36″ x 36″ and has the same image printed four times, one on each side. It is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag.

I only have one tablecloth. Someday I’ll print some more.

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Tortie Girls trays, set.

These are lightweight 10″ x 13″ pine wood trays each with a hand-colored and signed block print of my tortie girls, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, adhered in the bottom. Inside of the tray is painted pure white, outside and upper edge is painted pure black with a matte finish on the entire tray.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors so I have them on hand. I sign each print when the embellishment is complete and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. Then I give each tray a light sanding and paint each tray with acrylic paint.

I trimmed down the finished, colored print to fit inside the tray and adhere it into the bottom of the tray with acid-free mounting  adhesive. Later I’ll add one coats of finish on the inside of the  tray to protect the print.

The trays are good for decoration on a tabletop or wall, or to use to actually carry lightweight items but are not suitable as a hotpad or to carry heavy dishes or other items. If kept in direct sunlight the watercolors will fade in time but the inks and paints will not. They can be easily wiped down with mild detergent or diluted all-surface cleaner but not immersed in water.

The trays are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints in the trays; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

See other gifts featuring my Tortie Girls.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

Set of Tortie Girls wood-mounted prints.

The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I offer “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” individually as well as in a set.

The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” adhered to the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I sand and paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors as I need them, and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. I sign and number each print when the embellishment is complete.

The blocks are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

"The Goddess" wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess” wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

"The Roundest Eyes" wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes” wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

“The Goddess” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very round tortoiseshell cat, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″. “The Roundest Eyes” is the other print in this set.

Also scroll down to read about customizing your tortie print.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

Above is a hand-printed linoleum block print tinted in tortie colors featuring my Cookie, who was indeed “The Goddess”. From the very first time I showed the design to someone, and each time I set up a display where the prints are included someone, or several, stops by to tell me about a cat they have “who looks just like that”, and tell me stories and share a laugh. People often tell me stories when they purchase prints as well. The number of them who were rescued always warms my heart.

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Roundest Eyes”, featuring Kelly, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw  . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy.   She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.