Commissioned Portrait: Marley and Boo

pastel portrait of two black cats
“Marley and Boo”, pastel, 13″ x 19″, 1999 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

These two very large black cats were really a challenge partly because black fur is a challenge, and even though they may look alike, black fur color is really all they have in common. Their two purr-sonalities were really quite different.

Both felines were adopted from shelters, Boo first, a gentle, quiet kitty, happy and affectionate but a little on the timid side. His person volunteered for a shelter and saw many adult cats who went without homes and had always loved black cats. It seemed a buddy for Boo might be a good thing to bring him out of his shell.

Marley had been returned for being a little too physical in an adoptive home and may have been considered dangerous, which might have been just because he’s a “scary black cat”. He was very physical, but not at all dangerous, just big and outgoing. He seemed to be perfectly happy as I crawled around on the floor after him trying to get a good close-up of his face and fur, and now to think of it he makes me think of Giuseppe.

Unfortunately, Marley and Boo were not buddies; Boo remained timid and Marley remained pretty physical so most of the time they stayed apart. So, in designing the portrait, we knew we couldn’t position them cuddling or even side by side if we wanted to be true to who they were, and not who we wanted them to be. I looked over my photos of them and the ones their person gave me and found what seemed to be typical poses and arranged them with a little space in between.

The background was just an imaginary space to create interest, and was the first time I did the “wrinkled cloth” texture, which in a large portrait I found far more interesting than just a color in the background. We chose a neutral color where they would contrast well, and I used the idea of a little more light just behind them to create an interesting composition.

This is one of the portraits where I only have a 4” x 6” photo to scan for the image, and I know I didn’t catch the details on the two, so no detail images on this portrait.



Also read about other 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

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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 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 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.

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




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.

3 thoughts on “Commissioned Portrait: Marley and Boo

  • October 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Beautiful! I saw something on facebook about an artist who has Tetrachromatism which means she can see up to 100 million different colours – compared to a normal 1 million! I reckon she would see the different black hues with no problem!

    • October 30, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      I’ve heard of that–I’d probably pass out! But I can say that in this house right now there are seven different hues of black and millions of different shades!


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