Commissioned Portrait: Little Gooney

"Little Gooney", pastel on Hahnemühle velour paper, 8" x 10", 1999 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Little Gooney”, pastel on Hahnemühle velour paper, 8″ x 10″, 1999 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Little Gooney was her name, and yes, she did have an attitude, perhaps because of her name. She was commissioned as a small Hanukkah gift for from wife to husband, as Little Gooney had been his girl before they were married.

Even though this pose is not the most flattering, it was the only full-face photo available, and it was clear and direct. It’s one of my favorites, though, small, simple and honest. LG was on a table, I think, but I decided to add a colored background to complement her rich red-orange fur, and what better than a rich cobalt blue?

She is drawn in pastel on a velour drawing paper made by Hahnemühle art papers. The base is a heavy mold-made watercolor paper, meaning the pulp is dropped into a mold and pressed and dried the old-fashioned way which gives it a little more body as well as a slight texture. The velour is a finish just like velour fabric except that it’s not woven. Short vertical bristles that are pretty stiff are adhered to the surface of the paper and tend to hold the pastel forever once it drops down between the fibers. Because of even just the slight depth of the bristles the painting looks ever-so-slightly dimensional, a very interesting effect, especially around the eyes and in finer details like our girl’s face. The texture also tends to soften lines and shapes, and a truly fine detailed line needs to be planned and executed with a fairly sharp pastel.

I will note that Little Gooney looks especially soft here, softer than her actual portrait, because this was scanned from a photograph and the details just aren’t as sharp as the original.

I had used the paper frequently at the time for portraits of both animals and people because of that softness and dimension. The painting of Cookie “The Little Sunflower” is painted on this paper as well as “Blue Tuna”. The paper came in large sheets and I could cut it down to any size I wanted, and could still use the scraps. I’m sure “Little Gooney” came from the same sheet as “Blue Tuna”.

And partly because of Gooney’s expression and partly that softness and dimension, this portrait almost has the character of a caricature. I had actually used her portrait as a slightly cartoony character in one of my illustration brochures years ago.

I know nothing abut her story than what I’ve noted here, and really barely knew her people, just three conversations at a hurried time just before the holidays that year. But Little Gooney is decidedly unique among my portraits for her attitude and she’s still one of my favorites.

. . . . . . .

Coming Soon: Portrait in Progress…

NOTE: I’m starting a few new portraits this weekend, and two of them I know I’ll be able to share. I always leave that decision up to my customers. I would have shared Paige’s portrait, but she was a surprise gift and that just wouldn’t do! With other portraits my customers wanted me to wait a while before I shared them with the world so I began posting about portraits I’d done in the past. But next Wednesday, and for the next few Wednesdays most likely, I’ll be sharing progress images of portraits I’m working on, one a watercolor and one a pastel. Until then…

Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current and past portraits and paintings and art assignments, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork to see an archive of all these posts, or if you want to see only my portraits choose commissioned portraits.

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

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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 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 my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

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You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.

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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 my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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