Van Gogh inspires Carnegie woman’s winning cat artwork

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Bernadette Kazmarski of Carnegie has won the top prize in the 20th annual Cat Writers' Association Communications Contest with her trio of oil pastel sketches that feature her pet subject — cats.

Titled "Cats After van Gogh," Ms. Kazmarski's sketches were inspired by her 2012 visit to the "Van Gogh Up Close" exhibit and marks the first time in 15 years that the award was given to a non-writing entry.

“When I went to see the van Gogh exhibit and came home with my eyes full of colors and textures and shapes from all the paintings I'd seen, I looked at Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine sitting there on the floor and immediately turned them into a new style in a sketch using what I'd learned," she said of her cats. 

Her work received the association's President's Award, which is sponsored by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and is presented to the best entry among all winners at the Muse Medallion level in the regular contest categories. The President's Award carries a $250 prize and a commemorative item.

At the Muse Medallion level, a judge commented on her work: “A striking nod to van Gogh. The reverse view of 2 cats (something the artist does well) is striking and the colors and composition are spot on!”

In addition to the Muse Medallion for the artwork, her daily blog, The Creative Cat, won a Muse Medallion in the category of "Blog: Entertainment" in 2011. Since she joined the Cat Writers' Association in 2007, Ms. Kazmarski has won numerous Muse Medallions and certificates of excellence as well as awards for her journalistic and creative writing, poetry, design and illustration. Her latest awards were announced at the writer's association conference in November. 

Ms. Kazmarski is considering a possible exhibit of her work at the Feline Historical Museum, maintained by the Cat Fanciers' Association Foundation in Alliance, Ohio.

Since late 2011, she has drawn daily sketches of her cats. Some have been posted on her blog,, and have been made into greeting cards, garden flags and other items.

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer:

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