Celebrating the stories of rescued cats and the people who rescued them, and the artwork of animal artist and writer Bernadette E. Kazmarski.

Great Rescues is a 16-month desk calendar and gift book featuring 16 portraits of rescued cats I’ve been commissioned to paint in the 20 years I’ve been an animal portrait artist.

While the portraits are lovely and I’m proud of my body of work, the stories of these cats, and the people who rescued them, is what compels me to share them with you. Each of the stories tells of cats from shelters and cats abandoned and saved, cats found inside car engines and cats reluctantly surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, but each one has a happy ending as a cherished companion in a loving home.

And while each cat has an individual story, each rescuer has a story as well of reaching out to an animal in need to bring it in from the streets. In many cases they helped heal physical and emotional wounds and gave that cat a lifetime of love, in return receiving love and devotion; often those humans received some healing in return they weren’t aware they needed.

It’s no small decision for a person to choose to commission me for a portrait of their animal companion. These are the cats who made a difference in the rescuer’s life: the first cats adopted, leading to a life of living with and even rescuing other cats; the ones who arrived at a time of need and filled a void; the “heart cats”, those most special who we remember apart from all the others we’ve known and lived with.

All of the artwork throughout, including the sketches and illustrations in the Resources section, are my original work and are actually sketches of my own cats through the years. All of the writing and design is also my own as well.

I have many more stories after these through portraits of dogs, of dogs and cats, of cats and people and dogs and people, of dogs and cats and grandchildren and more. I hope to publish other calendars, but for this first I chose the subject that first inspired me to find myself as an artist; I’ve focused on cats.

Please browse this site with the links at left to find out more about the content of the calendar and my work as a portrait artist. I hope you are as inspired as I have been by their stories, and that it gives you 16 months of reassurance of the goodness of people who rescue animals and an enjoyment of the beauty of cats just being themselves.

Great Rescues is spiral-bound, and measures 8″ x 8″ to easily fit on your desk or in a purse, briefcase or backpack. The calendar dates run from September 2011 to December 2012.

To purchase click here, or please browse the rest of the site to read more about the contents.

My own personal dedication in this calendar:

Thank you, Kublai, Sally, Stanley, Allegro, Moses and Fawn, my first feline family, for patiently showing me the way; only gone from this mortal life, you are immortal in everything I create.

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