Commissioned Portrait: “Guy”

    "Guy", pastel, 11 x 14, 2016 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Guy”, pastel, 11 x 14, 2016 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Meet Guy, happy in his pool. I like portraits where the subjects are happy, even if that makes the portrait a little unconventional.

Guy’s portrait was commissioned by members of Hurry Home Hounds greyhound rescue as a wedding gift for a member. Well, yeah, maybe the dog in the pool isn’t elegant, but the sun, the grass, the blue pool, the relaxed Guy made me happy to look at them, and weddings are also about happiness. When I looked at the photos of Guy to visualize a portrait, this one caught me right away, made me smile, and I knew it was likely a good one for them too.

The original reference photo.

The original reference photo.

We didn’t need the hose and the leash though, so I did a composite where I took those out. I also looked at other photos of Guy taken outdoors and the average blue pool and realized it was all darkened a bit the camera’s compensation for bright sunlight, so I lightened the composite a bit.

Detail of Guy's face and chest.

Detail of Guy’s face and chest.

I always joke with dog owners and call their brindles “tortoiseshell dogs” because they often called my tortoiseshell cats “brindle cats”. In either case they both have lots of speckles and spots. I can get lost in the almost random spotting, following it across the animal, and it was very fun to track across Guy’s face and shoulders. I use pastel pencils for portraits where the subject has a lot of spotting or stripes or other patterns, and it’s pretty time-consuming but worth every stroke.

I also enjoyed painting the water in this portrait. The water is shallow and there isn’t much reflection, but just enough to make it exciting. The little bit of “edge” along his chest and the slight back-reflection from the surface is so subtle but just enough to show the change.

Detail of the water.

Detail of the water.

Even the pool itself and the grass were fun. Objects like the pool, which are so familiar, make a portrait interesting because they are familiar where they subject may not be—only a relatively few people know Guy, but everyone recognizes a kiddie pool. You might not believe someone would look at a pool and study the colors and shapes and highlights and shadows just as you might Guy or the trees or anything else that seems like a more exciting painting subject. But the pool was one of the things I looked forward to.

Detail of the pool and grass.

Detail of the pool and grass.

And the grass too—I didn’t want it to look too detailed and heavy, or call attention to itself. It’s more like an abstract pattern, and that leaves Guy and his pool to be the stars of the portrait.

I hope you enjoy reading about my portraits. I certainly enjoy writing about them.

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 or just browse a gallery of images 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 certificateIs there an animal lover on your list who has every cat or dog-themed t-shirt and handbag, and even their pets have every toy they can use for the rest of their natural lives? Consider a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait. Whether it’s for someone else or yourself, a custom portrait is different from a professional photograph because we can create the scene that you remember even if you never had the chance to photograph it. Your household of animal companions can be grouped in a natural setting even if their lives didn’t overlap.

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $50.00, which is the basic cost of an 8″ x 10″ black and white portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over the amount you’ve paid.

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, but I’ll usually honor them whenever they come along. It just makes my accounting easier if it’s within the same year.

Certificate Prices

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.

“Certificate A” and “Certificate B” look the same, but this is for ease of ordering. I will write the amount on the certificate.


  • 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 a color 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 I’m working out the easiest way to give options so it’s not too confusing.

[ss_product id=’ee6d37ec-349a-11e6-a43c-0cc47a075d76′ ]Commissioned Portrait Certificate[/ss_product]

See other feline artwork in My Cats gallery and in Feline Artwork gallery.


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© 2016 |
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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