Commissioned Portrait: Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle, 12 x 18, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Rocky and Bullwinkle, 12 x 18, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve had just a few portraits of cats and dogs together and Rocky and Bullwinkle is just about my favorite mostly because of the play of light that we decided to use. The light and shadow and the colors from the brilliant sunlight turned a kind of a typical portrait into one that is really eye-catching, nice to look at, even if you don’t know the two pets, and was inspired by the home they lived in.

Rocky was the dog, and he was pretty gray around the muzzle, kind of stiff an awkward, not at all like his younger self, so we decided right away we’d use a younger photo for his face and ears and ease up his posture. Bullwinkle still looked great, and was very devoted to Rocky, following him around sometimes to make sure he was okay.

Here were the reference photos they sent.

The first idea for the portrait was the two of them on the steps, below, with modifications to Rocky to make him look younger.

Rocky and Bullwinkle on the steps.
Rocky and Bullwinkle on the steps.

I really liked this composition, but the more I looked at the photo of Bullwinkle on the floor with the repeated shadows and highlights, I could visualize Bullwinkle exactly like that and Rocky sitting behind him in a nice happy pose, so I made that the basis of the portrait. We wanted to work some jewel tones into the background because they were predominant in the house, but we couldn’t go too dark since Rocky was mostly black, but that made for a nice balance of warm and cool colors.

And these reference photos are a good example of how I can build a subject with details from more than one photo. Below, a composite of Rocky with his sitting position on the steps and his face from the younger photo.

The composite of Rocky with the sitting position and the younger face.
The composite of Rocky with the sitting position and the younger face.

And I created the composite of Bullwinkle with the lighter of the two photos of him on the floor with the lighter and recognizable shadow of cat ears, but he is looking down so I used the face from the other photo where he is looking up.

I’m so glad they went with my idea. I remember from the time I saw the light on the hardwood floor and the shadow, I could see nothing else. Here are close ups of their faces.

Bullwinkle's face.
Bullwinkle’s face.

I didn’t photograph Rocky’s face very well and didn’t notice until after I’d shipped the portrait, guess it’s okay.

Rocky's face.
Rocky’s face.

I painted the portrait of Rocky and Bullwinkle in 2004 for a wife to give to her husband, and she had provided a lot of photos of her husband with the dog and cat draped over the couch napping together so I could see how close they were.

Then in 2010 he contacted me to paint a portrait of their two new dogs, Bodie and Bear Bear in the pose they see as soon as they come home, sitting on the rug, looking up. I love those expressions. What a wonderful set of circumstances. Read more about Bodie and Bear Bear.

"Bodie and Bear Bear", pastel, 18" X 12", 2010 and 2011 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Bodie and Bear Bear”, pastel, 18″ X 12″, 2010 and 2011 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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.

Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals



Give the gift of art, and a portrait of a beloved pet

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Is there an animal lover on your list who has every cat or dog-themed t-shirt and handbag, and even their pets have every toy they can use for the rest of their natural lives? Consider a Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificate. Whether it’s for someone else or yourself, a custom portrait is different from a professional photograph because we can create the scene that you remember even if you never had the chance to photograph it. Your household of animal companions can be grouped in a natural setting even if their lives didn’t overlap. Purchase a certificate here or on Portraits of Animals.


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.

© 2021 | | 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.


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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: