One of my newest portraits is Georgie, decidedly the princess of her household!
This is the result of my first session, and I just love the energy of these early portraits with loose details and big strokes; it’s also my first session with my new Sennelier pastels and I largely attribute my satisfaction with this proof compared to past portraits at this point to the colors, texture and quality of my new pastels—more on those in another article.
But at this point I can tell if the portrait is on its way if I can see the finished work my customer and I discussed and, more importantly, feel the subject in it at this early stage, and I definitely feel Georgie here. So did her mom when she saw this proof. I have a number of things to adjust, like her eye color, details in her face and the rest of her fur, and ultimately add the all-important whiskers and ear hair, but I’ll work those out as I go along.
Georgie is 19 years old, and though she was adopted from a shelter all those years ago she is apparently either fully or predominantly of Maine Coon cat breed with those extra large features and lush tabby fur.
And her personality is just as big with lots of conversation and direction for her human, and very particular requirements for her toys.
Georgie is situated on “her” chair, on “her” blanket and with “her” favorite toys. Using photos I took of Georgie along with photos my customer gave me, I layered this in PhotoShop, her in the chair as the base, then adding from other photos her crossed front paws, torso, tail, and each of the toys. We’ll leave out the pattern on the chair, just using the olive tones that work well with Georgie’s fur.
This portrait is fairly large with the final image size to be about 20″ x 24″.
“As soon as I got this chair,” her person tells me, “Georgie claimed it, so I just put a cover on the seat and she has all her toys here, she’s really like the queen on her throne.”
We chose to include Georgie’s favorite toys in the portrait, and while I do have some work to bring them out their colors looked a little unbalanced to me until her mom explained that Georgie only likes pink toys. “We couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t playing with some toys until we realized she only liked the pink ones,” she explained. “After a while, she got used to red and she likes the stocking, and she has an orange one that she tolerates, but these are her most favorite toys, ever,” she continued, with a perfectly straight face. “She really is like the princess cat with her thing for pink.” So, pink and red it is!
And to further reinforce her role as total princess, when Georgie began to have some difficulty getting up onto the beds, her mom had splendid bed steps made for each bed in the house.
But Georgie is not a kitty to settle into her throne and wait for her audience. Rather, she keeps up a commentary of all she does and announces her activities to her mom. “I work at home frequently, and it’s a little embarrassing when I’m on a conference call and she’s squawking at me for attention—everybody on the call knows her—and I’ll have to shut the door but I can see her outside, just her mouth moving as she keeps squawking,” she says. “And then when she goes ten steps out the front door, she lets me know how brave she is and tells me to come and see her.”
Georgie shares her home with Cleo, a 20-year-old calico who had lived across the street but was often outdoors and decided she’d rather live in Georgie’s home. Who wouldn’t?!
I’ll post updates on Georgie’s portrait as I work along.
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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.