This is an pastel painting, “White Cat Reflecting”, pastel on Hahnemühle sanded watercolor paper, 6″ x 14″© Bernadette E. Kazmarski
About the painting, and Sally
My white cat was endlessly inspiring to me, and I would need two lifetimes to recreate all the images of her that I have photographed and saw every day. Sally was deaf and spent most of her days in her own little world in pursuit of her own happiness, which when possible included a rest, nap or long snooze in the sun. Here she alights briefly on the stool, reflecting the sunlight onto all that is around her while she reflects on the events of her day so far and just what is to be done next.
Sometimes a more finished, finely-detailed painting isn’t the best way to capture an animal’s personality, and especially not my capricious little Sally. I also realized I’ve never featured her in a desktop calendar for all I’ve written about her. I believe I painted this in June because that is when the sun comes in the dining room window at this angle, so this June features Sally in all her brilliant colors.
Yes, that is one tall narrow sketch! Sally was so inspiring, all that white fur, all that color within the shadows and highlights. She frequently sat on this stool when the sun came in the window and I’d photographed her there, thinking someday I’d do a painting of her. But this was more or less a daily sketch, starting with actually standing at my easel by the big north window where I used to work, and seeing her there one afternoon. I sketched out the basics on a piece of blue Hahnemühle sanded watercolor paper that was handy, and likely because I was looking through a doorway and anything else in the scene was only distracting, I stopped at this width for the sketch. Narrow compositions are a favorite of mine anyway, vertical or horizontal, and because I wanted to focus on Sally but also wanted to capture the feeling of the light pouring down onto her and the grace of the stool, the tall shape fit the composition well.
I began from life, but Sally didn’t hold still for too long. I had the photos I’d taken in the past that were enough like her position if I put them all together, so, while the vision was still in my mind, I dug them out and began with the visual notes I’d taken in pastel on the paper and used the positioning and highlights and shadows from the photos to continue.
What I wanted to capture most was the sunlight through her ears, her face in muted shadow, colorful shadow from reflected light, silhouetted against her brilliant highlighted fur, and that tail, just spilling down like a trail of mist, I wanted just enough there to get the feeling of the light and color.
I had been focusing completely on Sally’s beauty, but one of the elements I hadn’t anticipated when I went to work from the photos was Sally’s reflection of light back onto the surfaces around her. When I looked at the spot after she’d moved, it was all dark. The back of the rocker, the wall behind her, I hadn’t realized until I looked at the photos that those areas only had light because it was reflected from her.
Years ago in order to encourage myself to break out of the rectangular shape and one brand of sanded drawing paper, I purchased a number of different pastel drawing papers and materials intended to provide a enough texture to any surface so that it would hold pastel. The usual paper was like very fine sandpaper, about the equivalent of 600 grit finishing sandpaper. Each of these surface materials was different: coarse grit, fine grit, marble dust and a type of gesso, which I applied individually, mixed or layered to scrap drawing paper and matboard. My assignment was to use these materials for sketches and save the usual drawing paper for finished drawings, so they were around the house and went, literally, out into the field with me as I was painting landscapes.
This paper has a rough texture because it’s watercolor paper, and then the fairly coarse sanded finish is added to the texture. I’d also used it for “Bison Shadow” because I wanted to discourage myself from getting caught up in details, I just wanted to rough in the lights and darks and blend the colors, and I did so with this painting as well.
I let little bits of the paper’s native color show through as well, which added to the interest and shading. I like the way the windows and windowsill turned out, above, just enough detail to understand what they were. And below, an exploration of working in deeper shadows while still keeping colors warm and bright.
In all, this sketch captured Sally’s capricious spirit, the ephemeral nature of her beauty around the house. She could be like a walking source of illumination, and it wasn’t entirely because of her coloring. I’m so glad I grabbed this moment and my pastels and paper because I’m sure I would have done something very different if I had gathered the photos and planned out a more finished painting.
This painting is included on one set of cards, “Feline Fine Art Cards”. I’ve also applied it to a few gift items, such as coasters and keepsake boxes so check my “Handmade Gifts” page.
Shipping within the US is included in all the prices listed. All shipping is via Priority Mail. Prints are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Canvases are shipped in a box to fit with padding. Since this original is small it is also shipped in a box with extra padding.
The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames. The giclees have 2″ of white around the outside edges.
I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.
Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original.
The 5″ x 7″ and 8″ x 10″ digital prints are centered on 8.5″ x 11″ digital cover while the 11″ x 14″ has 1″ around the edges because the digital paper is 12″ wide. All are countersigned by me.
I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas is black on the sides.
Mousepads are 8″ x 7″, always horizontal, 1/4″ black foam rubber with the image printed on a flexible fabric on top.