"Being Very Good", pastel, 12 x 18, 2007 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Being Very Good, Pastel

“Being Very Good” was a commissioned pastel portrait, 18″ x 12″. The original, of course, is with Sophie and Ellie’s family, but prints are also available on canvas and paper.

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Sophie and Ellie were indeed being very good—they lived right next to a busy walking trail and they were not permitted to bark at the passersby, and they did not make a sound. This portrait of two best friends is very autumnal in tone, and I always think of it as being an autumn portrait for all the fallen leaves around Sophie, a border collie, and Ellie, a bichon frisé.

You can also find other things such as greeting cards and gift items with this image by using the search box at the bottom of the page to search for the title of this painting.

See other Canine Artwork.

Read more about Sophie and Ellie and their family, below.


I am happy to sell the framed painting, or just the original painting if you’d like to choose your own mat and frame. Shipping charges are included in the prices listed above.


Shipping is included in the cost of each print.

Prints up to 16″ x 20″ are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Larger prints are shipped rolled in a mailing tube unless otherwise requested; flat shipping is an extra cost because it’s oversized.


The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.

I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.

I offer giclees of this painting in two different sizes: the full size of 25″ x 22″ and a half-size of 12.5″ x 11″ and an 8″ x 10″ that crops a portion of the image top and bottom.


Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original. Digital prints are only available up to 11″ x 17″ so I trim a bit off each end to fit, and also offer the half-size 12.5″ x 11″.

The giclees have 2″ of white around the outside edges, while the digital print has 1/2″ around the edges. All are countersigned by me.


Because the standard size canvas prints are not proportional to the original painting, canvas prints of this painting will have a portion cropped off of each side.

I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas mirrors the edges of the image around the sides.


"Being Very Good", pastel, 12 x 18, 2007 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Being Very Good”, pastel, 12 x 18, 2007 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This portrait of two best friends is very autumnal in tone, and I always think of it as being an autumn portrait for all the fallen leaves around Sophie, a border collie, and Ellie, a bichon frisé.

I never know how or from where a portrait will come to me. This portrait was commissioned as a gift for a man to give to his wife for her birthday. I know the man’s mother (actually the woman who brought Peaches and Cream to me), and she is familiar with my portraits and other artwork and work in general. She suggested this to her son as a gift and put us in touch, yet through the entire process I didn’t have the chance to meet him or his wife or Sophie and Ellie since they all live near Denver. I completed the entire portrait by communicating electronically, a little disconcerting but with good communication it works just as well.

photo of two dogs
The photo I really liked.

First, he had no shortage of photos so I could browse through a folder of images to get to know their physical characteristics and their personality and habits. They always cuddled together and he first had the idea of the two of them together inside somewhere, on a chair perhaps.

Nearly always when I browse photos for portraits I’ll begin to visualize, and sometimes one particular photo will leap out at me as “the one” and I’ll then begin to actually build the portrait in my mind, even seeing the pastels or paints, the paper, the finished portrait coming to life. The inspiration isn’t just the image, but after reviewing the photos and hearing about them the visualization also includes what suits their personality. I may need other photos to support it for detail or background, but it all comes together.

In one of the groups of photos was included the photo at left, absolutely too cute, and that was it. Their faces were alert with playful interest, their fur in natural light was rich—light fur is just as difficult to express fully as dark fur, it included details of Sophie’s ears and Ellie’s tail that I didn’t see in other photos, and there were many photos of them on this patio and the colors were wonderful.

photo of two dogs
One of the others in that series.

I told him how much I liked this photo and that I thought this would be a good portrait, though it had a few issues. For one thing, the space he had for the portrait was horizontal, and you can’t see all of Sophie. He liked the photo as well and told me they lived right by a walking and biking trail and Sophie and Ellie loved to watch the people but they were not allowed to bark. And they were not barking. The were being very good. That did it for me.

He sent me a few others from this series of photos, like the one at right, and we discussed it a little further. Ellie was darned cute leaning crouching with her butt in the air, and the outdoors with all the leaves and plants was wonderful as they all spent a good bit of time out there, but we didn’t want all that extra concrete, and we’d have to make the two dogs smaller in order to fit them into the size he wanted.
 I put together a composite using all the features we liked and began the portrait.

detail of portrait

I really liked Sophie’s tipped ear, her spots and the multitude of other colors in her fur, pink in her ears, light brown eyes, and she looks as if she’s just about to say something, she’s really working hard to hold it in.

detail of portrait

A bichon frisé has so many different types of fur in its coat, all curly to some extent but each a different texture, and reflecting light different. I used layer upon layer of different colors of pastel ending with the white  highlights to create the fluff from Ellie’s face to her toes.

I would love to show off the details in the background, from the patterns in the concrete just to make it more interesting than a gray area, the layered tiny locust leaves, each a different shade of yellow, and the Japanese barberry with its bright red berries, but my camera at that time wasn’t quite up to par for photographing portraits, and I hadn’t yet begun photographing individual areas of detail.

The gift was a success and I received a thank you from Sophie and Ellie’s human mom.

I like this portrait so much and so do many others—that’s why I use it as a clickable icon for my dog portaits because they are just hard to resist. I hung a print of it to display in a veterinarian’s office as both wall art and a sample of my portraiture and someone wanted to buy it. Sophie and Ellie’s people were very happy to give me permission to sell prints of this portrait of their two beloved dogs.

Purchase a print

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You can also find other things such as greeting cards and gift items with this image by using the search box at the bottom of the page to search for the title of this painting.

See other Canine Artwork.

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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