Commissioned Portraits and a Video

The Johnson family, all the animals they ever lived with.

The Johnson family, all the animals they ever lived with, one of my most populous commissioned portraits.

Here’s the short video I created about my commissioned portraits.

Our companion animals give us so much…my cats gave me my career as an artist. Back in the late 1980s my household of rescued cats inspired me to find my muse and I’ve been developing my skills and talent since then, painting them and many other subjects in through the years.

Working from your photographs, your custom portrait can include one or more pets and even family members (I do people, too), in pastel, pencil, pen and ink, watercolor or colored pencil. ­Portraits can be any size or shape (within limitations, of course), and you don’t need to have the perfect picture to get the pose you really want; I usually work from several photographs to create one portrait. I can compose a portrait of animals who would never pose together as well as a grouping of companion animals whose lives did not overlap.


Commissioned Portraits and Artwork

"Stained Glass Feline Family", pastel, 12" x 28", Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Stained Glass Feline Family”, pastel, 12″ x 28″, Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Commissioned portraits can be detailed and photorealistic, as in “The Johnson Family” at the top of this article. They can also be somewhat abstract and imaginative as in “Stained Glass Feline Family,” above, in which the commissioner saw my sketch “Stained Glass Cats” and wanted a portrait to look like a stained glass window that included five of her most recent cats, but the effect would abstract them enough to have them stand for the many cats she’d rescued and fostered and lived with.

Pet portraits can include their people too, as in the Fathers’ Day portrait, below.

Keith, Seuss and Munchkin

Portrait of Keith, Seuss and Munchkin

A pet portrait can also be a nice interior or even landscape that happens to have a beloved pet in it as in Tibbie and Buddy’s portraits.

And thinking a little less conventionally, consider a piece of custom art that also includes an animal. For “Veronica’s Tulips”, right, this pet mom wanted both flowers and, after a lifetime of rescued Schnauzers also wanted a Schnauzer in her painting, though not to represent any individual she had lived with. This was the very natural solution.

watercolor still life of tulips and photo of schnauzer

Veronica’s Tulips, watercolor, 16″ x 23″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

And there’s even the possibility of a collage of images to make one portrait.


You can also commission me to paint non-animal subjects. I’ve been commissioned to paint some very special places: the view from a friend’s vacation home, a special place in Paris, a beloved back yard that welcomes you home, your childhood home as a gift to your parents.


A Gallery of Samples

On this post on The Creative Cat you can click through a gallery of 25 samples of portraits over the years to see composition, arrangement, medium, size and more. You don’t need to have the exact photo for your portrait—in fact, I’ve created the custom image for nearly every portrait I’ve painted out of multiple photos. You can also choose the category “Commissioned Portraits” on The Creative Cat to see even more art and photos, especially featuring cats!

Commissioned Portrait and Artwork Cost and Information

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

How much does a portrait cost?

Visit this page for details and a demonstration.

How do I put a portrait together?

Visit this page to see how I work with photos and create the final image that I’ll paint.

Purchase a certificate

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.

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

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

Purchase a Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificate

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.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

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.

See daily photos as I post them on Today.

Read poetry, short stories, essays and more on Paths I Have Walked.

. . . . . . .

© 2022 | | 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.

Leave a Reply