“Corky”, pastel, 14 x 20 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Portrait: Corky, Hearing Dog

“Corky”, pastel, 14 x 20 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Corky”, pastel, 14 x 20 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This portrait of Corky the service dog was commissioned by a group of friends. Only 3 more days for 25% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait for someone who inspired you with animals that is booked between now and June 30, 2018. Read more below.


The sun-splashed green grass and leaves unfurling this spring reminded me of a special portrait from 2007. Nearly every day I go past the rhododendron in the yard in my neighborhood that I used for this portrait. This past spring the leathery leaves of the rhododendron were refreshed and shiny after being tightly curled for an extra long and cold winter. Each time I passed I looked at it and remembered Corky’s portrait, especially when the real rhododendron scene looked so much like the one I painted with my pastels 11 years ago.

Much of Corky’s information is private, but I can say that Corky was a very special dog. He was not only a service dog, but he was also a hearing dog. He was known and loved not only by his owner but also by her co-workers, family and friends. But he was most special to her because he helped her maintain her full professional life after she had lost her hearing.

Corky's vest.

The portrait was actually a gift from her former co-workers. They had a few photos of Corky, all of them black and white, none terribly good. Because Corky is a mixed breed dog, I couldn’t presume anything about his coloring or body type as I could with a breed, so I had to make a lot of guesses in initial sketches until he looked right to the group. At some point they did send me an updated color photo of him so I could get his body coloring, but that didn’t include his face. So I just worked intuitively as I often do, maintaining the floppy ear and the hopeful expression.

Detail of Corky's face

Detail of Corky’s face

When I asked what they wanted in the background they told me Corky like to be outdoors, but in a yard would be best, and he loved grass. They didn’t want to introduce too many other colors so it would basically be green. My yard has never had much grass, but I knew a few yards I liked that did, and when I thought about the remainder of the background I remembered the rhododendron, walked up the hill and took some photos. To that point I hadn’t done much realistically detailed shrubbery, so the leathery leaves were an exciting challenge to follow.

Detail of leaves and grass.

Detail of leaves and grass.

Painting this portrait was not only fun and fulfilling for the subject himself and the background, but for the wonderful group of friends who came together to commission me for it.

Commissioned Portrait Special

I’m offering 25% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and June 30, 2018, whether it’s for mother, father, grandparents or any of those special persons who encouraged your love of animals. Use the coupon code MOTHERSFATHERSDAY25 and purchase a certificate below, or read more in Commissioned Portrait Specials for Mothers, Fathers and More.

Read about other current 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 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 $50.00, which is the basic cost of a small monochromatic portrait.

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.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from Portraits of Animals if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

I prefer to look over the work and price the portrait according to how much work will go into it, as described above, but you can either set a budget or get started by purchasing a certificate for yourself or as a gift.

How to Order

  • “Certificate A” is for a minimum-size 8 x 10 black and white or monochromatic portrait with one subject.
  • “Certificate B” is for a minimum-size 8 x 10 color portrait with one subject.
  • Choose “A” or “B” depending on whether your portrait is black and white or color.
  • If your portrait will be larger or have more subjects, add $50 or $100 or more to your certificate value with the drop-down below.


  • Size: 8 x 10
  • Subjects: One
  • Color: black and white media such as charcoal, pencil, ink, or monochromatic media such as one color of pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, etc.
  • Background or objects: none but shading or colored paper


  • Size: 8 x 10
  • Subjects: One
  • Color: full color media such as pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, etc.
  • Background or objects: none but a color or colored paper

Add to your certificate purchase

You can use the second drop down to add $50.00 or $100.00. For amounts over this we’d probably have a conversation and I can set up a custom certificate for your purchase.

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

Other items with the same art or design To find all items on this site with the same art or design, use the search box for the name of the artwork and you'll find all that's available.

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For art, photos and writing as I develop it, visit my blogs.

See feline art and photos as they happen on The Creative Cat, along with feline news, health, welfare, rescue stories and more.

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© 2022 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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 to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

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