Tag Archives: commissioned pet portrait

A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “Sooty”

pastel portrait of chinchilla persian cat

“Sooty”, 1997, pastel, 11″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T MATTER how much sentiment is attached to adopting a cat, how much people pay for a cat, or how beautiful or sweet it is, that cat is out the door when they no longer want it; sometimes, like Sooty, it is actually headed for its loving forever home and the people who will truly cherish it forever.

. . . . . . .

Sooty was a full-bred Chinchilla-point Persian but didn’t come to his forever home directly from his breeder.

Adopted by a newly-engaged couple as a wedding gift to the bride-to-be, the couple subsequently broke up and Sooty was homeless. Passed along from one unloving home to another, finally housed in a detached garage with the door left open in the hope that he would run into the street…a neighbor kept watch, talked to the family, and finally convinced them to give Sooty to her. She asked her sister-in-law to foster him.

Though her sister-in-law had no pets then, she had always had a cat and a dog growing up. When her mother passed away her father came to live with her along with his dog and cat. They lost the pets and her father passed away soon after and she vowed “no more pets”. She made it clear that she would have Sooty neutered, given all his shots and shaved because he was filthy and had such large hair balls under each limb, but he was a foster, not an adoption.

He arrived in a cage, “frightened to death” and would not come out; she and her husband left the room and pretty soon Sooty came out of his cage and disappeared. Looking everywhere, she finally found him in her father’s old room, all curled up like he belonged there. “That did it,” and he stayed.

. . . . . . .

Animals always know, whether it’s Oscar, the prognosticating cat in the nursing home, or a cat who walked into your home and seemed to have been acquainted with it already, where they are needed most.

I’ve known people who would have taken in Sooty, even as a foster, and rejected him for his distant personality, not understanding that he’d never had a real home, not given him the space to learn to trust. But it’s also a truly wonderful thing to know that a cat came along at just the right time for people who needed him, as Sooty immediately recognized the place of loss and moved to fill it in the best way he could.

Sooty had been deeply hurt by his own experiences. It was months before he would even go upstairs to the bedrooms, let alone sleep on the bed, or even the couch; sadly it was clear he’d been taught those places were not for cats. But he never lost a drop of his natural quiet sweetness, and in time his forever family welcomed him to cuddle up next to them or sleep on their lap.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Sooty’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. You can read that article here.


Here is Sooty’s page in Great Rescues:

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Sooty:

The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

. . . . . . .

About the Portrait

detail of pastel cat portrait

Detail of portrait: Sooty’s face.

I’ve always loved the way Sooty’s portrait looked, the horizontal layout and simple composition, clear and contrasting colors. In my portfolio of portraits Sooty’s was admired by many, and when I had visualized the Great Rescues calendar and day book series over ten years ago, Sooty’s portrait was one of the first that came to mind.

When I met with the couple who owned him, we looked at a few photos, but this one of Sooty, both his posture and demeanor, was perfect and the three of us knew it, even as Sooty quietly observed our process in much the same position. He was so calm and relaxed I managed to get detail shots of his face, especially his blue-green eyes.

Sooty was in his teens when I met him in the 90s, and he’d been bred so long ago that his Persian face looks little like the Persian cats I meet today. His nose is shorter than the usual cat nose, but not as deep-set as that of modern Persians.

I love the hair between long-haired cats’ toes, but Sooty’s was exceptional—it was so long his paws looked like little dust mops and I remember us joking about it, but when I was painting the portrait I remember questioning myself even though I’d seen it right there on his paws and taken the photos. It wasn’t helped by the contrast between pale silver fur and deep charcoal gray fur that made it look as if it had been attached.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of portrait: toes.

His fur itself was beautifully unique, each long guard hair ending in a short black tip which gave him the ashy sort of look that led to his name. He had wonderful eyeliner and even his nose was outlined, and most endearing of all his whiskers were black. But that field of fur along his sides and back had so much detail that I got all lost in drawing it.

The background in a portrait like this is a style I developed myself over the years for portraits where there was just a color and no particular object or surface. I base the predominant color on one that complements the subject well and is possibly a color in the subject itself; see Nick where I used the blue from his eyes. In Sooty’s case I looked around the room where the portrait would hang and at Sooty’s cool silver fur, and then at his terra cotta nose and knew that was the color. As you can see in front of him I’ve added a few “wrinkles” as if the background is a cloth, but you can see in the upper left that I’ve mimicked the entrance of a light source from the left and used an olive green shading lighter to a yellowish shade as if it’s sunlight on a wall.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of background and fur.

I usually frame my portraits in custom mats and molding per my customer. To finish it off, I used a deeper soft terra cotta top mat and silver gray bottom mat, both black core to gently coordinate with Sooty’s eyeliner and other charcoal trim, and a simple wood frame with a brushed silver finish that captured his fur. You can tell his portrait is still one of my favorites nearly 20 years later. Sooty is even included in the brochure I designed and still use today; click the link below.


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Sooty is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME

 

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “A Wonderful Gift”

pastel portrait of cat with flowers

“A Wonderful Gift”, pastel, 12″ x 14″, 2010 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES A CAT has so many connections to other cats or people or circumstances or places, but then this Peaches’s life was intertwined with her rescuer’s before she was even adopted. Sometimes the cat and the person are simply meant to be together.

. . . . . . .

Here’s how Peaches was rescued…

Peaches’ rescue includes a number of mysterious and exciting coincidences. First there was another cat, Wally, who Peaches’ mom was to adopt from her eight-year-old niece as the girl’s parents divorced and Wally couldn’t move with her. When Wally died unexpectedly the niece insisted they find another kitty and in searching found a kitty whose owner was very ill and could no longer care for her. While the ill woman’s name was auspiciously connected with the names of both Peaches’ eventual mom and the soul mate cat she had recently lost, Peaches also looked identical to Wally, and not only had the same birthday as the niece but was also the same age as the niece.

. . . . . . .

I created this portrait in 2010 to be given as a Christmas gift to a special friend. I’m always honored to be trusted with another’s gift, and so happy to be a part of its giving. With this slight distance from the animal’s person I need to be certain the giver has clear materials and knows the person and the animal well in order to be able to portray the animal correctly, and in this case I was given an excellent and meaningful photo, and a touching story.

My customer told me: “She’s the cat of … my closest friend, and she just turned 18. … is going through a lot of stuff right now, her mother is very ill and even though we’ve been saying this for the last few years, it feels as though the end is probably not that far away. Peaches has some mild kidney issues, but is otherwise doing well for her age. When … father died, her then soul mate cat Prince died within days of her father, so even though she’s trying to not give this any energy, she sometimes has a sense that her mother’s death and Peaches’ may be happening in a similar fashion.

“And not that this has anything to do with Peaches, but it gives you an idea of what … is about: Prince was diagnosed with FIP, but lived for fifteen more years post diagnosis. … made a promise to the universe when he was diagnosed that if he beat it, she would start a pet loss support group. She’s been running three pet loss support groups for the county at no charge for the last fifteen years.

“Anyway, it’s why I thought a painting would be a wonderful Christmas gift either way – of course I’m hoping that Peaches will still be with us at Christmas, but even if, God forbid, she’s not, it will still be a perfect present for … .

amaryllis bud.

The amaryllis bud.

“Peaches is … only cat, and they’re very connected. … comes home for lunch each day, and she sits with Peaches in her lap for half an hour or so. It’s her form of meditation. The story behind the photo is pretty amazing. For a period of several months last year, Peaches became very withdrawn, she stopped sleeping with …, and spent most of her time in a guest bedroom. At the time, we thought this was it. Then a friend of … gave her this flower (I think it’s an Amaryllis?), and Peaches became fascinated with it, and would check progress every day. As the flower started to bloom, Peaches ended her phase of withdrawing. I thought it would be a nice starting point for a painting because it will always remind … of the happy time when Peaches became herself again.”

Could there be a more touching story, or a better gift for a friend?

Peaches had the chance to give her human more years of love after she recovered from this, and lived to January 2013.

About the portrait

I typically name the portraits after the names of its subjects, but in this case it might have been a little confusing for others, and emotional for me. You’ve read about my dilute calico Peaches, this kitty dilute tortoiseshell kitty has the name name, but I had recently lost Peaches in October 2010 when I painted this portrait; in fact, I delayed this portrait because of my Peaches’ death, finishing it in December. For that reason I called it “A Wonderful Gift” because of the gift of the subject’s healing, above, and because the portrait was a gift for a special friend.

You can read the progress articles about this portrait to see it in its initial sketch and then in its middle stage, just before the final details in A New Portrait and The New Portrait, Second View. At the final stage of a portrait I add textures where necessary, even out the highlights and shadows, make sure the color palette hasn’t shifted and make sure all subjects are the right shape and proportion. It’s surprising how easily these details can throw things off if I’m not careful, and you can see in comparing the first and second images where things went a bit awry. Up to the final passes for details, I was working over the entire portrait each time, mostly to work out the palette and settle the details of shape and proportion and keeping an overall vision for the portrait.

The most important detail, the sweetest part of the whole image, was Peaches’ face where she has it happily pressed into the flower, her eyes closed, the sunlight shining through the flower petals coloring her fur. That had to be perfect, not photographically so, but in spirit. I enjoyed working many other areas of this portrait, but capturing the gentle shadings and gentle details of her face, her chin and neck and her ear were my favorite part of this portrait.

detail of portrait

Detail of Peaches and amaryllis

I clarified the flowers to see each of the petals, and went back and forth with the shade of pink. I had originally used a brighter pink which was not accurate and was too bright for the painting, so I toned that down with a slightly browner pink. I also shifted the blanket from the original bright blue to more of a teal shade to coordinate with elements in the curtains, which would also be in the person’s room, and the blanket’s highlights are blended so it looks fuzzy and soft. The highlights on the vase had made it look very shiny though it wasn’t, and those extreme reflections were also a little harsh for the soft tone of this portrait, so they got toned down.

But two of my favorite areas were the bare branches outside the window which you can see in the detail of the amaryllis buds, above, and the books on the table next to the window, especially in detail below.

detail of portrait

Detail of portrait, books on the shelf.

A little more about this portrait

“A Wonderful Gift” was the December 2011 kitty in my first Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book because her portrait and the story had a strong connection to Christmas. She is included in my current version, Great Rescues Day Book, but is not featured at a month; the original book had 16 months, this only has 12, so I have the extra four portraits grouped together in the center of the book. This portrait will always be a part of December for me, though.

Note, also, that the plant Peaches is visiting is an amaryllis, grown from a bulb, one of the class of plants that can be highly toxic to cats. Peaches was not a plan nibbler, and it seemed to play such a complete role in her life.

As a greeting card

And I was also thrilled when Peaches’ person approved my publishing of a feline art card bearing Peaches’ portrait and story. Read about the card and find a link to it on Portraits of Animals Marketplace blog. This has inspired me to create a few subsets of my feline art cards, and one of those would be the calicoes and tortoiseshells!


Here is Peaches’s page in Great Rescues:

portrait of cat in day book

Peaches’s page in “Great Rescues Day Book”

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Peaches:

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. ~ Jean Cocteau


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Buster is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME

 


Featured Artwork: “A Warm Bath”, 1997, and “Less Adoptable Pets”

painting of white cat

A Warm Bath, pastel, 12″ x 10″, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

September 21 through 27, 2014 is “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week“, a campaign founded by Petfinder.com to help promote the adoption of pets who are often passed by when people are looking for a new pet. “Less adoptable”  can refer to physical or emotional characteristics, from black pets—yes, black cats are often left behind!—to blind and deaf pets, pets missing an eye or a leg, not uncommon in rescued pets who’ve had a hard life on the streets or come from an abusive or hoarding situation, older pets, even just pets who are adults and not cute babies, undesirable breeds, like pit bulls, or carrying chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or FIV in cats.

Many of the cats who’ve lived with me as permanent members or fosters were considered “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”. One of the reasons I ply you with photos and paintings and sketches and stories is to reinforce, every day, every way I can, that there is no such thing as “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”, that there is nothing at all different about these cats. Behind their appearance and the knowledge of something about them that is somehow different from what we think of as a pet, they are simply the same loving animals as those who seem to be perfect. There is nothing to fear in living with an animal that is different, once you know them, once you’ve fallen in love, you’ll forget all about that missing eye, or their advanced years. Frankencat and Old Grand Dad both fell into this category, and who could not love them once we’d met them? And if you don’t want to run out and get your very own house panther by now then I’m not working hard enough!

Sally was genetically deaf, and very high-spirited, a combination that didn’t suit her original owner though he’d wanted a cat with her looks, not uncommon with deaf cats. I agreed to take her rather than see her go to a shelter; read “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty”, and look at this painting and tell me if you could know that she was in any way different, or that it would even be important to you in the face of that much beauty.

. . . . . . .

You’ve seen other works featuring Sally, but this was one of the first. Just after I’d painted Stanley in “After Dinner Nap” I felt I’d arrived at a style and a level of ability and began painting at a furious pace, both my cats and landscapes. This was the year after I’d lost Kublai, and begun painting en plein air and painting serious landscapes, and all that had come together for me. I had studied Sally’s silky white fur from the day she’d come to live with me in 1984, photographed her regularly, but finally felt I had the insight and ability to capture all the colors and textures of her creamy tresses.

Photographing a cat in the process of a bath, white or black or striped or spotted, was no easier then than it is now except that I didn’t know what I hadn’t caught until I had the photos developed. Most of the photos were when Sally had her back turned. I chose this pose because you could still see Sally’s face, though she was looking down, and there is something I love about a cat’s face at that angle, the soft forehead, the nose, the whiskers sprouting here and there.

This painting sold in the days before I took adequate photos, and though I’ve been working on getting an image of the original I just have to live with this for now, so I don’t have any closeups. Still, this is the painting where I remember the feeling of “fingerpainting” for the first time, applying layers and colors of pastel, them mixing them with my fingertips and knuckles, the sides of my hands, both hands, a different color in each area. It was because I looked at the fur on Sally’s head in the reference photo and imagined digging my fingers into it to scratch the top of her head, which she loved, and I did my best to make the top of her head make me, and you, want to do that, even to feel it. The bright pink of her ear, the cool and warm highlights in her fur, it was all I could do to focus on one area to work it out completely.

Then there were the long angled shadows from the metal muntins in the windows, on the wall and book case and on Sally, the white-painted stucco wall, and the dappled side yard outside the window. I’m still very pleased with this painting, and even if I painted it today I may do some things differently, but I don’t think I could improve on this.

"A Warm Bath"

“A Warm Bath”

Once I’d finished four similar paintings, “After Dinner Nap”, “A Warm Bath”, “A Rosy Glow” and “The Little Sunflower”, I decided I had to have color note cards with my artwork on them to sell, and in 1998 had the set entitled “My Cats in the Sun” printed by traditional offset printing, not the ease of digital printing today. I still have a few left of this original set of cards; they’ve gone in and out of popularity, but some customers find them nice for professional correspondence and for sympathy cards, so they will still be around.

I had taken several reference photos of Sally having a good bath in front of that old metal casement window; I replaced it with the big north window where Giuseppe sings and we all watch birds, lots of morning  light, angled in, and my cats have always loved to gather in that light through the years, and you still see it in my artwork. I also used another photo from this set for a commissioned piece, “Welcome Spring With a Unique Commission”.

pastel portrait of cat looking out window

“Spring”, pastel, 12″ x 24″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

You can see more images of Sally in “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty” and in Sally’s Photo Shoot or search the category Sally


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME




Commissioned Portrait: Little Gooney

pastel portrait of orange cat

“Little Gooney”, pastel on Hahnemühle velour paper, 8″ x 10″, 1999 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Little Gooney was her name, and yes, she did have an attitude, perhaps because of her name. She was commissioned as a small Hanukkah gift for from wife to husband, as Little Gooney had been his girl before they were married.

Even though this pose is not the most flattering, it was the only full-face photo available, and it was clear and direct. It’s one of my favorites, though, small, simple and honest. LG was on a table, I think, but I decided to add a colored background to complement her rich red-orange fur, and what better than a rich cobalt blue?

She is drawn in pastel on a velour drawing paper made by Hahnemühle art papers. The base is a heavy mold-made watercolor paper, meaning the pulp is dropped into a mold and pressed and dried the old-fashioned way which gives it a little more body as well as a slight texture. The velour is a finish just like velour fabric except that it’s not woven. Short vertical bristles that are pretty stiff are adhered to the surface of the paper and tend to hold the pastel forever once it drops down between the fibers. Because of even just the slight depth of the bristles the painting looks ever-so-slightly dimensional, a very interesting effect, especially around the eyes and in finer details like our girl’s face. The texture also tends to soften lines and shapes, and a truly fine detailed line needs to be planned and executed with a fairly sharp pastel.

I will note that Little Gooney looks especially soft here, softer than her actual portrait, because this was scanned from a photograph and the details just aren’t as sharp as the original.

I had used the paper frequently at the time for portraits of both animals and people because of that softness and dimension. The painting of Cookie “The Little Sunflower” is painted on this paper as well as “Blue Tuna”. The paper came in large sheets and I could cut it down to any size I wanted, and could still use the scraps. I’m sure “Little Gooney” came from the same sheet as “Blue Tuna”.

And partly because of Gooney’s expression and partly that softness and dimension, this portrait almost has the character of a caricature. I had actually used her portrait as a slightly cartoony character in one of my illustration brochures years ago.

I know nothing abut her story than what I’ve noted here, and really barely knew her people, just three conversations at a hurried time just before the holidays that year. But Little Gooney is decidedly unique among my portraits for her attitude and she’s still one of my favorites.

. . . . . . .

Coming Soon: Portrait in Progress…

NOTE: I’m starting a few new portraits this weekend, and two of them I know I’ll be able to share. I always leave that decision up to my customers. I would have shared Paige’s portrait, but she was a surprise gift and that just wouldn’t do! With other portraits my customers wanted me to wait a while before I shared them with the world so I began posting about portraits I’d done in the past. But next Wednesday, and for the next few Wednesdays most likely, I’ll be sharing progress images of portraits I’m working on, one a watercolor and one a pastel. Until then…


Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current and past portraits and paintings and art assignments, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork to see an archive of all these posts, or if you want to see only my portraits choose commissioned portraits.


Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits
portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

Enter the recipient’s name
Enter shipping address

You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

 


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


 

 


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraitsportrait of black cat on wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitsportrait of two dogs Portraits of
My Cats
pastel painting of cat on table

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

Enter the recipient’s name
Enter shipping address

You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.


Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

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Commissioned Portrait: Milan and Felix

portrait of two cats

“Milan and Felix”, pastel, 22″ x 15″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Milan and Felix spend some time together; yesterday we read their rescue story and today we study their portrait. Their rescuers volunteered for Animal Friends in Pittsburgh and won a portrait certificate I’d donated in a benefit auction. They’d won a portrait from another artist a few years before and had two other cats done, and it was actually Milan’s diabetes diagnosis that gave them the idea to have a portrait done of these two in 2005.

I remember looking at photos and planning the composition to show the best angles of their faces and all the best markings on each of them, Milan’s distinctive white areas and Felix’s many bracelets and necklaces. The two have completely different styles of stripes, but both have that classic eyeliner that I always find so lovely around a cat’s eyes. I actually look forward to firming up that eyeliner as a finishing touch at the end of working on the face.

detail of portrait

Detail of Felix’s face.

I wanted to choose a pose for each that suited their nature. The two were friendly but didn’t cuddle so I also knew I’d have to leave some sort of space between them, yet I also wanted the portrait composition to work. I saw this pose of Milan and I really liked how it showed Milan’s interesting resting position; the pose was also different enough from the sitting position I’d had in mind for Felix that it just might work as a way to “leave space” between them and yet have a composition without holes in it. The open upper left corner kind of naturally balanced.

This portrait of Milan and Felix, with their everyday markings and casual postures, could be any two cats in any household, a couple of rescued cats enjoying their day.

detail of portrait

Detail of Felix’s face.

The two had quiet, friendly natures and their postures certainly conveyed that, but the way I’d work the background should as well. Normally I’d choose a color and shade the subjects would stand out well in front of but in this case it would be a shade of blue and that didn’t really suit them. I used a neutral tan, the shade you find between a tabby cat’s stripes, but worked many pastel colors into the tan, especially in the highlights, and used deep greens for the shadows so they’d stay vibrant though dark.

This portrait is done in Rembrandt pastels for the most part, with finishing detail in Conté pastel pencils, on Wallis sanded pastel paper.

A little more about Milan and Felix and their people—and doggy brother

two cats on deck

Milan and Felix enjoy the deck in June 2011.

Some time after the two cats had come together in the house, their mom noticed Milan wasn’t walking quite right, especially in using his hind legs. Milan was diagnosed with diabetes so she gave him insulin shots and he was fine with it—no one would ever know. Diabetes is not difficult to treat but can be a challenge because of testing and needles. This didn’t bother their mom, so Milan certainly chose the best people to impress! He survived eight years with a great quality of life as Missy let me know in the autumn of 2012 that he’d passed.

This was one of the portraits I had to re-photograph when I discovered my image from a few years before wasn’t up to current reproduction standards. Unfortunately, the details aren’t quite what they could be but no matter, I enjoyed meeting the two and their mom again, and their doggy sister Murphy as well.

Felix said goodbye to Murphy in October 2013, but Missy let me know of a new addition to the Bauer Famil—Izzy, a corgi/spaniel/unknown mix, and says that Felix and Izzy have a special bond.

And I was fascinated with what Missy did with her purses and quilts; you can read more about Missy and Vic in Creating With Cats: Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity.


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Milan and Felix are the April cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

Enter the recipient’s name
Enter shipping address

You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.


Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


A Great Rescue: Milan and Felix

portrait of two cats

“Milan and Felix”, pastel, 22″ x 15″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

TWO ADULT CATS who’d lost their people but found their way to the same rescuing household; we build our rescued families first out of need and then out of love—do we really find our way to each other, animals and people, until we’re where we should be?

. . . . . . .

After his owner went into a nursing home Milan found himself at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh. His mom, who volunteered there, noticed the shy tabby and white cat and took him home for a cage break. He blossomed and she and her husband fell in love with his big personality; cage break was over as he became permanent.

Felix was found wandering in the neighborhood between Christmas and New Years about a year later with no collar and no microchip; neighbors agreed that he had just appeared about a week before. His people took him in and got him on the wait list for Animal Friends. Three weeks later when Animal Friends called and said there was room for him at the shelter he had already worked his way into their hearts and made best friends with Milan—no shelter for Felix! He had chosen the right home to wander by; cats always know.

. . . . . . .

Sadly, we lost Milan in September 2012, but this family has not stopped rescuing cats—or dogs, and the continue to volunteer for Animal Friends. Also, Milan and Felix’s mom is a skilled quilter and makes cat-themed quilts to donate for shelter benefits. Read Creating With Cats Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity.

. . . . . . .

Tomorrow I’ll write about Milan and Felix’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. Here is April with Milan and Felix’s portrait and rescue story in Great Rescues Day Book:

page in day book with cats

April in Great Rescues Day Book.


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Holly is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories. This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years. Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more. Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features: Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME


Commissioned Portraits: Star and Pepe, and Their House

pastel portrait of german shepherd and terrier
“Star and Pepe”, 1994, pastel, 12″ x 16″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Star and Pepe weren’t cuddle buddies and though they were totally different in their relationship with their humans and the way they’d come into their lives, they shared the duties of guarding their home in their own ways.

Star, a papered German Shepherd, was a old farm dog, a guard dog, and sometimes a herding dog. Having started out his life on a farm, this couple had had to sell the small farm after an injury prevented them from working it any more, kept a couple acres of land and built a home. Star came with them to the new home, but while he’d been well-fed and cared for and was very much loved by his people, he’d spent a good bit of his life running the perimeter of the fences, patroling the barns and keeping intruders and wildlife away from the animals in the fields. When they moved to the house he was not interested in sleeping on the couch and though they had acreage letting him to roam as he had on the farm just didn’t work. The compromise was to give him a big sheltered house outside and a long lead on a run so that he had could still run some distance, inspect what was happening at the edge of the woods and keep an eye on his home.

When I met him he was about 15 years old, and in 1994 that was very old for a German Shepherd and it was easy to see he had some arthritis and found it difficult to run, but he greeted his people and me with all the gravity of his lifelong occupation of working dog.

Pepe on the other hand was a coddled little Yorkie who thought of himself just as much the watchdog as his far larger and more muscular fur brother, but what he lacked in strength he made up for  volume. The people had decided they wanted a dog to be in the house with them but didn’t want a large dog, and they wanted a dog that would be happy to accompany them outdoors in all weather and Pepe filled that description. He and Star regularly checked in with each other, touching noses, exchanging glances, sharing canine information all the while I was there, Star pretty much lying or walking in one area near his house, and Pepe running circles around him and us and everything else. The people loved them both, allowing the two dogs to be who they were.

The house portrait

House portrait, 1994, watercolor, 12" x 16" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
House portrait, 1994, watercolor, 12″ x 16″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This couple had decided they wanted two pieces of artwork done at the same time so they could hang them together. They had relatives who had commissioned me to paint their cats and their parents’ house, so this couple wanted both a portrait of their dogs and of their relatively brand new house, which obviously wasn’t complete without their dogs.

At that time I painted houses in watercolor, not pastel, because it was easier to work the fine details and I just preferred the way they turned out in watercolor. The two would be the same size and would be matted and framed the same.

I was so pleased to be able to paint both in autumn for all its colors, but especially the house, since it was largely white. I had a great time with the window reflections and the shadows from those huge maple trees. I photographed both of these pieces through the glass, not necessarily the best way to capture detail.

And I’d unsuccessfully searched for the reference photos I’d taken to create these portraits, then I remembered that way back in the beginning I dedicated one or more rolls of film to a portrait and I charged my customers for it when I had to visit them to photograph my subjects, so I gave them the photos when the art was done.

Star began staying in their garage over that winter, though he demanded to be let out first thing each morning by digging at the door, and Pepe barked until Star was out on his lead. But by early the next summer he was beginning to fail until all they could do was open the garage door for him each day. I was very touched when they called me near the time he died to tell me how he was doing, and then when he’d passed.  Star had a huge spirit that wouldn’t have been contained by a house even if he’d been raised in one, and I could feel all the loyalty and strength that was the essence of the domestic dog that had accompanied the human race for millennia when I was with him.

. . . . . . .

For a couple of other autumn portraits see also Betts, Sophie and Ellie, Being Very Good and Cassie and Tyler, Rescued Rescue Dogs.




Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs
Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates on The Creative Cat, on my main website, or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.normalcy.


Click here to find out how you can help homeless cats this holiday season!

Sophie-HolidayCheerForHomelessPets-300



Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

 


Commissioned Portrait for Autumn: Cassie and Tyler, Rescued Rescue Dogs

portrait of two labrador retrievers
Cassie and Tyler, pastel, 26″ x 19″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

It is finally autumn, and at the beginning of each season I post original art and prints of artwork for sale in yet another e-newsletter from my studio, one that focuses on my fine art rather than only my feline inspirations through The Creative Cat. I will be offering prints of this painting as well as “Sophie and Ellie, Being Very Good” in various sizes because both have autumnal backgrounds. I’m featuring Cassie and Tyler this week to let you know about that e-newsletter. I have a link to the sign-up for it at the end of this post.

This portrait of Cassie and Tyler is the companion portrait to A Portrait in Oranges—these two rescued Labrador retrievers belonged to the same person. She had decided she wanted two portraits, one of her cats and one of her dogs, as much alike as possible so they could hang together, but their individual personalities could also show.

Like the close relationship between Amaretto, Simon and Merlin, Cassie and Tyler were also best friends. Cassie was the lead dog so Tyler could act like a big playful puppy, but the two were very close and had to be playing with or at least touching each other all the time. They were mixed breeds but advertised as retrievers, but the results of bad backyard breeding showed only in some physical features and health—they were Labs through and through. Trained as search and rescue dogs, they were social and outgoing, adored water and any type of play involving carrying something. She gave me photos and I took a couple of rolls when I visited, then I took some of Tyler separately because he was so black that I couldn’t balance the exposure with very light-colored Cassie and kept losing his details.

detaIl of portrait of two labrador retriever dogs
Detail of their faces.

We decided to place them near water since they are Search and Rescue dogs and love to swim, even if it’s only a kiddie pool in the back yard. I could use some of my photos from parks and natural areas I’d visited and along with the dogs paint a landscape with them in it. What could be better? I had also been studying classic dog portraiture and took away a good bit of visual information about poses, backgrounds and color palettes. I used a photo of the lake in Cross Creek Park in Avella, PA, near the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. My photos were from an autumn day when I’d visited, but I also used other photos I’d taken for some of the details. I wanted the tree-covered hills with variable leaf color, but I also wanted a day where big clouds drift across the sky casting huge shadows. I photograph things like that as well and was glad for the images when I went to paint this portrait.

detaIl of portrait of two labrador retriever dogs
Sky, clouds and trees.

I had to go out in the field, literally, not all the way back to Cross Creek but closer to home to see the dry autumn grass in close up, and then to work it around Cassie and Tyler’s paws, including the shadow from Tyler, something I’d never done to that point in any portrait or painting. How do you paint grass without painting every blade? Well, I worked that out in this portrait—just paint the ones you need. And how does the grass overlap their paws or their torso as with Cassie lying on the ground? The photos I’d taken of them were from summer, but I could still study them for clues.

detaIl of portrait of two labrador retriever dogs
Detail of paws and grass.

And to that date, I had not painted such a large and detailed landscape, though I’d been studying the details for decades, noting things I liked for some reason, like the weeds silhouetted against the water, and the reflections on the water that showed both the surrounding landscape and the movement of the water.

detail of portrait of two labrador retriever dogs
Weeds and water.

And like the portrait of Amaretto, Simon and Merlin, this portrait is also a favorite since Labs are such a favorite breed, and seeing them outside in their natural element always makes people smile.

I apologize for the lack of some detail in some of these photos. I’d photographed this through the glass, which was fine for the overall portrait, but it all tends to fall apart when you crop out detailed areas. Still, it’s better to photograph through the glass than to take the whole thing out of the frame and have to put it back together; I am a picture framer, and I will avoid that at all costs.



Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs
Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates on The Creative Cat, on my main website, or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know
image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars on sale!

Commissioned Portrait: Clifford

portrait of black and white dog

“Clifford”, pastel, 11″ x 13″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This simple portrait was a gift from one friend to another of her dog, Clifford. One of the rare portraits done from one photo—because that was all she could find to use for the surprise—I didn’t have too much other information and met with a bit of a block. Clifford’s pose is typical, in context, with paws hanging off the couch, but we would be doing a basic portrait just about 10″ x 12″ with only the subject so we actually wouldn’t have a couch. Normally I can work from just a few photos to completely change the pose but in Clifford’s case, with his black and white spots going in all directions, I didn’t have the photos I needed and couldn’t make it up. So Clifford ended up kind of hanging in air.

However, I worked in a bit of a resting spot for Clifford. In all portraits and especially these small ones I ask for a favorite or preferred color for the background. In this case the the recipient liked purple, so as I worked the background tones in I also worked in a rough indication of a couch or chair for Clifford to hang his paws off of.

Below a closeup of Clifford’s sweet face. I love his big ears falling all over the place and his playful expression.

detail of portrait

Closeup of Clifford’s face

I was working on this portrait in April 2005, and remember enjoying the purple during the early spring, and also the looseness of the background, blending purple, violet and indigo to give the purple background more interest, and even adding touches of pale violet for highlights, using the side of the pastel to cover large areas and not blending. I’d usually not done that in portraits and it felt daring at that time. Now I enjoy loosening up some areas in portraits. Unfortunately I only photographed Clifford with my basic 2MP digital camera, and this is the greatest level of detail I can show.


An Article on My Creative Process

If you enjoy reading about how I create my artwork, you’ll enjoy an article by The Musings of a Crazy Cat Lady author Stephanie Newman, “Cats Gave Artist Bernadette E. Kazmarski Her Calling”. Thank you, Stephanie!


Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs
Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates on The Creative Cat, on my main website, or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know
image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars on sale!

Commissioned Portrait: Veronica’s Tulips, with Schnauzer

watercolor painting of tulips and dog
“Veronica’s Tulips,” watercolor, 16″ x 22″, 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve referenced this painting a few other times in posts about commissioned portraits around Mother’s Day, and while it may simply look like a painting of a vibrant vase of tulips, it was actually her choice of how to combine two things she loved into a custom piece of artwork.

I had painted a watercolor of tulips in in 1996; it was popular as a print, then the original was purchased as well. When the Veronica of the title said she’d like to purchase the original, I had to tell her it had been sold but that I could always paint something custom just for her. We discussed the flowers and the colors it would have, the general tones, indoors by a window or outdoors in a garden.

detail of painting of tulips and dog
The top of the bouquet with the Battenberg lace curtains.

But she had also been wanting an animal portrait, but not of one particular animal, just something to remember her love of schnauzers and the ones she’d lived with. She didn’t want two paintings, though. Well, I said, we could work that out with one painting. Somewhere in the painting we’d also have a schnauzer, not necessarily one of hers, but preferably silver gray and definitely with floppy, unclipped ears. And she was happy to have a piece of customized art that could combine the animal art she’d always wanted with the painting of flowers she’d always wanted.

I collected my photos of flowers and outdoor gardens and took even more (imagine that), found bits and pieces from seed catalogs, department store catalogs and any other place I could find bouquets and vases and curtains and tables and garden benches and so on. I had also recently painted a small portrait of a schnauzer for a friend (someday I’ll review that painting) and asked her if I could use her photos as reference.

detail of painting
Detail of tulips and table.

My first thought was the schnauzer lounging out in the garden but no ideas worked out in that theme. I had the schnauzer on a chair next to the flowers, on a window seat and other possibilities, working them all out in Photoshop so she and I could both see well ahead of time what the painting would look like.

Bbut in the end we wanted to take the emphasis off of one particular schnauzer—and at that size the dog would be recognizable—and put the emphasis on the tulips. Since it would be a fairly large painting I thought about placing the dog inside a picture frame either on the wall or on the tabletop within the painting, and the frame on the tabletop worked perfectly. I added the red pillow and red bow to draw your eye to that area and make sure viewers saw the schnauzer.

detail of painting of tulips and dog
Detail of the schnauzer in the picture frame.

Why don’t I do more of these if they are so popular? It’s a big investment in time—I might work on one tulip for a total of an hour over the course of working the painting, blocking it in, adding detail, then regularizing the light and shadow over the entire painting. But go ahead, make me study and paint flowers for hours on end! I love every single minute of it. For this painting I used a basic bouquet, but added all my favorite colors and types of tulips. If I’m going to spend that much time on them, I might as well paint what I like.

And as I spend the time I think of the illustrators in previous centuries who painted botanicals, those detailed drawings and paintings of flowers that became the color plates in books that even today people collect. Many of these painters were women because this was considered a suitable employment for a woman but they received very little notice for their work, and yet they painted on for the love of it. I have a book entitled Women of Flowers: A Tribute to Victorian Women Illustrators that gives life to all the talented women who made a living but who never saw their names in print. I am nowhere near their level, and my admiration for them is great.

tulips
Just a section of the tulips.

And as I’ve mentioned, this pet mom got the painting for herself for Mother’s Day, and knowing her, this was the perfect solution. She really didn’t want to commemorate one particular dog nor did she want a collage, and even focusing on just one schnauzer, even if it hadn’t been one of her companions, just didn’t feel right for her. The little schnauzer in the picture frame is all of the dogs she knew and the brightness of the flowers and the sunny window echoes the happy memories.


Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs
Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure
My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate
Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates on The Creative Cat, on my main website, or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know
image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars on sale!

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