Sadie, Marley, Cici and Ashes, 2016 family portrait

Sadie, Marley, Cici and Ashes, Settling Into Their Portrait

Sadie, Marley, Cici and Ashes, 2016 family portrait

Sadie, Marley, Cici and Ashes, 2016 family portrait

I’ve been working on this “family portrait” for a while, moving the cats around and resizing it and I think this is finally the best composition to fit these four very different postures. This is the second group portrait I’ve done for this family including all the current cats in the house in one portrait, and I’m keeping it fairly similar to the first portrait.

The four cats in this portrait are all rescues, often considered unadoptable in the shelter this family volunteers with. Clockwise from the left the cats are Sadie, Marlowe, Cici and Ashes. They had a stack of photos for each cat, and a favorite pose they wanted to capture, and I took even more when I went to visit and meet the kitties.



Marlowe’s hind legs stretched out behind him is a memorable pose, as is the very particular curl of Cici’s tail. Sadie is a senior kitty and is mostly blind, and does not like to hold still for photos.



Ashes was adopted as a senior kitty and while she was doing well she developed cancer and died after only months in her new home. She’s the only one in the portrait with a prop, which happens to be her human’s plaid boxer shorts that she loved to steal…in a portrait? Why not!

This composition is actually the third layout, but it really is a winner. Below is the second pencil sketch I started with and really only Ashes was in a different position.

Original pencil layout for this portrait.

Original pencil layout for this portrait.

Then we decided we didn’t want them so close together so we could see all of Marlowe.

First draft of this portrait after we'd decided to move them apart.

First draft of this portrait after we’d decided to move them apart.

That really didn’t work, and it really threw me off when drawing them. I stopped with this draft and started over with the layout I’m working on now. I like that one much better!

The first portrait, a decade ago

At this time, the family had won a certificate I’d donated to a shelter which they won at the shelter’s annual benefit. They wanted to include all the cats in the house at the time plus a cat who’d passed a few years before but who was the childhood cat for one of the family. This was actually another interesting composition because they wanted the kitten, Wally, playing, but it was difficult to fit them all in so we could see more of each of them.

2003 family portrait.

2003 family portrait.

Of these cats, only Wally is still with them. She was a kitten then, and now she’s a teenager.

Now on to finish this portrait and a few others I’ve been holding onto.

Also 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 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 Portraits of Animal 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 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]

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.


Don’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.


© 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.

Leave a Reply