Friday, September 22, 2023
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Commissioned Portrait: Minnie

"Minnie", 8 x 10, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Minnie”, 8 x 10, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Almost 20 years ago some little girls holding a basket of kittens knocked on the door. They said their father was going to drown the kittens so they wanted to find them all homes! The woman who answered the door decided she could adopt one and chose the little calico. She had considered another kitten, possibly one of the little orange ones, so the calico would have a feline buddy, but she already had a little dog and decided that was enough, and the kitten could be friends with the dog.

She named the calico kitten Minnie, and she was friends with the dog and everyone else. She was the queen of the house for almost 20 years.

Minnie is a recent portrait, from this spring. Her portrait was given as a birthday gift commissioned by the woman’s friend. Being able to create a portrait of a beloved companion for someone is my pleasure, and knowing that portrait is a gift for another is truly an honor.

The portrait is 8″ x 10″, and one of the rare portraits I’ve painted from just one photo—but it was a really good photo. It was cropped very closely and her toes were trimmed off in front, and there was a bit of foreshortening from the angle. Sometimes I’ll sketch these out, make the adjustments, and just get a start but with all her markings, but taking it easy on my vision, I scanned and adjusted it in Photoshop, then printed it out to size. I’ve been using the technique that works best for detailed realistic portraits and illustrations: a light pencil then watercolor sketch on heavy lightly textured illustration board done from the enlargement to block out the areas of color at which time I added the background, just gentle waves of light and shadow adapted from the bits around her in the photo in colors and shapes that would compliment our  subject. When that was ready I could finish with shading and detail with two layers of pastel so that I could blend them for the smooth finish in rich colors of fur, the soft pastel sticks then details in pastel pencils. And just looking at her face, she had quite a lot of detail—and fantastic whiskers!

Detail of Minnie's face.
Detail of Minnie’s face.

In the original photo she was looking upward at an angle that would be above a human’s head. I decided she should be looking at her person so adjusted her pupils for that expression.

Also, be certain that I am supurrvised as I work. Mimi sits on my lap and watches my every move as I apply the first rough pastel.

Mimi watching from my lap.

I am sadly losing the fine detail of my vision, even with glasses, but these guides help keep me in line, and I work as much as possible during daylight so that I have all the natural daylight from my studio window along with my table lights. But you can be sure some feline will point out that I’ve made a bad mark of some sort, as Mr. Sunshine observes the second layer of pastel for detail.

Sunshine observing the final details.
Sunshine observing the final details.

Mother’s and Father’s Day Commissioned Portrait Special

I’m offering 25% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and June 30, 2018, whether it’s for mother, father, grandparents or any of those special persons who encouraged your love of animals, even for yourself. Use the coupon code MOTHERSFATHERSDAY25. Read more here.

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 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 $50.00, which is the basic cost of a small monochromatic portrait.

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.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from Portraits of Animals 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 we’d probably have a conversation and I can set up a custom certificate for your purchase.

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.


Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork

Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book

day book with cat portraits
Great Rescues Day Book

Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.

Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.

The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.

Read more and order.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.

Subscribe to my e-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.

© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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!



Friendship Friday.
Friendship Friday.


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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