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

Tortie Girls, The Goddess, Linoleum Block Print

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, $100.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $75.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $65.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $55.00
E. Print only, tinted, $45.00
F. Print only, black and white, $35.00

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.

 

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