Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Featured Artwork: For the Love of Three Orange Cats

pastel portrait of three orange cats
“The Love of Three Oranges”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

Nearly all the feline artwork I’ve offered has included paintings, sketches, photos and other creative works inspired by my cats. But I also have a large body of work in my animal portraiture and have always wanted to offer those works as prints as well.

I got on that project and checked with the humans behind these portraits. Technically, the art belongs to me, and I don’t hesitate to share the images whenever I get the chance. But selling prints of those images, adding them to keepsake boxes and mousepads and garden flags and all the other things I make, is quite another thing. I also know that those animals’ families loved them dearly enough to commission a portrait, and to have the story told, as I did in Great Rescues Day Book and here on The Creative Cat, but maybe not to walk into a gift shop and see their beloved companions on a keepsake or drive down a street and see them on a garden flag. I would never use someone else’s portrait in this way without checking to see if it was okay. So I did, and “A Portrait of Three Oranges” is one of those I offer. Here is their story

About this portrait

DO YOU KNOW your veterinarian’s pets? I do, and early in my career had the honor of painting portraits of her cats and her dogs, all rescues. Each had their story, and it was wonderful to know that my veterinarian felt the same abut rescuing animals as I did. This portrait was from 1995. She is still my veterinarian, and she is still rescuing cats and dogs.

. . . . . . .

Veterinarians tend to be serial rescuers and begin rescuing animals long before they begin their practice. The luxurious Amaretto was adopted as a kitten from the Massachusetts Humane Society when his mom was a senior in college and he grew up in the dorm. While his mom was attending Penn Vet, she found 10-week-old polydactyl Merlin in the stray ward—returned? dumped? abandoned?—suffering from “incurable” giardia, took him home and cleaned him up with no further sign of the infection. Early in her career employed at a veterinary clinic, shy Simon was brought in as a stray who’d been in a major disagreement with a raccoon; the veterinarian who owned the clinic often treated and found homes for strays and abandoned cats, and in caring for Simon she developed an attachment and became his forever home.

. . . . . . .

Another portrait from back in my beginnings, and one of my favorites for both the cats and the composition. They are also a favorite of others—orange cats are a big favorite—and their person long ago gave permission for me to offer this as a print to brighten up a cat lover’s day.

Often I’m asked to pose groups of animals in a portrait, but not too close to each other, they don’t really get along…but these three did. One reference photo showed them all sleeping in curled balls cuddling together on a rumpled comforter and I decided that was the composition I wanted, just with different poses. I chose the poses from a pile of reference photos so you could see all their faces, but I also chose characteristic poses for each including their interactions together, and used the composition to show important physical features about each one, like Amaretto’s tail and Merlin’s paws.

pastel portrait of long-haired orange cat
Detail of Amaretto

I also chose to make the blanket a solid blue which would complement their fur and coordinate with the walls in my customer’s house, and to give it lots of folds so it looked as if they were tucked into the bedding just awakening from a nap. I admit, I went overboard with the folds in the blanket, I love to draw drapery and find it mesmerizing to paint. About to tone it down a bit thinking it was distracting, I decided it actually looked as much like a background pattern as it did a rumpled blanket and left it as it was.

pastel portrait of orange cat
Detail of Simon’s face.

Simon and Merlin both had a habit of pointing the tips of their striped tails upward, so each of them had to show this even though timid Simon had to be behind the two, sort of tucked in between somehow. It’s not really a logical positioning to be able to see as much of him as is here, but that’s the magic of artwork.

pastel portrait of orange and white cat
Detail of Merlin’s face and many toes.

Merlin was named Merlin because he was dangerously wise and capable, especially with all those extra toes. And, yes, she is still rescuing cats and dogs, plenty of them through the years.

Purchase print or card

You can purchase prints and greeting cards of this painting on Portraits of Animals—visit The Love of Three Oranges.

And another portrait for my veterinarian

I painted a second portrait for my veterinarian at the same time, and I’ll be offering this one as well.

Below is the other portrait I painted for her at the same time, featuring her two rescue dogs Cassie and Tyler, who were trained search and rescue dogs; I’ve also discussed these two rescue dogs for my weekly portrait feature. We did both portraits together to hang as a set, framed with shades of blue mats and a wide oak frame.

pastel portrait of two labs
“Cassie and Tyler”, pastel, 23″ x 15″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .

Here is Amaretto, Simon and Merlin’s page in Great Rescues Day Book

cat portrait
Amaretto, Simon and Merlin in Great Rescues Day Book

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for July:

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~ Anatole France

. . . . . . .

My original version of “Great Rescues” was Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, a sixteen-month calendar, so sixteen portraits are included in that original version. When I changed it to a day book with only 12 months I couldn’t figure out what to do with the extra four portraits, so I placed them all in the middle of the book to be sure that you would flip past them as you used the book. I don’t want any of the subjects or the stories to be forgotten! You can find more information at the end of this post.

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!




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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