Georgie’s Portrait: Final

portrait of maine coon cat

Georgie, final version, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Catching up on portraits I completed late last year, here is Georgie with her big tail and long, long whiskers, on her chair and all of her favorite toys around her. Below is a view of just her lovely face.

maine coon cat face

Close up of Georgie.

After all the color changes with Georgie’s portrait I am very pleased with her final image: her eyes are the right shade of soft seafoam green, no tan in her ruff, no patina on her curly belly, and her paws crossed in the right way. I have to thank Georgie’s mom for her patience and for sending more photos as I was working.

In Georgie’s portrait I also had the chance to work a style that focuses on the subject and leaves the background loose and undetailed, more impressionistic and colorful. For some reason, I think it was the finish on the drawing paper I used, I couldn’t get the level of photographic detail I usually want with a portrait, one of the things that really slowed me down. But at a point it was either to start over or live with it, and though she wasn’t as “smooth” as I wanted I still loved the way she looked at me.

I’ve written so much about Georgie’s portrait as I was working there isn’t much left to say here, as is always the case when a portrait is finished, but at the end of this post I’ve included a slideshow of all the images I posted of Georgie’s portrait so you can see the development (if the slideshow presents them in my numerical order…sometimes this depends on your browser), and links to the other three articles about her portrait so you can read about Georgie, the 20-year-old Maine Coon cat adopted from a shelter.


I’m sad to report that Georgie died just before Christmas, 2011, unexpected since she was not suffering from any condition, but at 20 we know how quickly that can change. She is missed not only by her person but by the entire family; I remember hearing frequently how her father bought Georgie toys and visited her and took care of her when her person was away. She had always described Georgie as being very innocent and gentle, something we tried to capture in her eyes. Her person said of Georgie:

She touched so many lives in such a gentle and loving way—and had such an impact with my family, me and so many others because she had such a big heart, in addition to her big eyes and tail.  We all learned a lot from her gentle soul.  That’s why it was so difficult to lose her—everyone wanted to take care of her and be generous with her in kind.

I was honored to be able to in some small way prepare for Georgie’s passing, and to refer her to the comforting services of Deb Chebatoris of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation.

And because it had made me feel that my cats will always be remembered when I use their images on greeting cards or tote bags or some other merchandise bearing their portraits, I asked if we could share Georgie that way too. She agreed, so we will have Georgie’s big, gentle presence in the portfolio of felines sending greetings to your friends or becoming a gift for someone special.

Read the articles about Georgie.

Georgie’s Portrait and Another: Color Corrections

Update on Georgie’s Portrait

Meet Georgie

And enjoy the slideshow!

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

Georgie’s Portrait and Another: Color Corrections

detail of portrait

The latest on Georgie.

Here is the latest view of Georgie’s lovely face. Since the last update I posted I’ve been working on the detailed areas, tightening up the patterns on her face especially, and working out the rest of her shape.

full portrait

Latest full version of portrait.

I actually sent an interim version of updates to the customer as I was working out the details in her face, and she pointed out something I had missed, and something that’s a common hazard of working from photos—even when you get to meet the subject.

Read the rest of this entry »

Update on Georgie’s Portrait

detail of portrait

Detail of "Georgie"

detail of portrait

Portrait of Georgie, detail of her face.

I’ve been working on tightening up the details in Georgie’s portrait, especially around her face, which will be the most detailed area of the finished portrait. I’ve included the first update at right for reference for where I left off the last time.

We’re planning this portrait to focus on her face and then the rest of her, but for the toys and the background not to be as detailed as her. I will continue to work her face in greater detail, even from this point.

Several things were obvious the last time, most notably her eye color. I like to underlay areas of portraits with either complimentary colors or more vivid shades of the native color to give more depth and dimension to a portrait. However, I’m not accustomed to the intensity of these new pastels and while I loved the color I had layered too much in place and had a dickens of a time using it as an underlay. Each time I added the cooler softer greens to her eyes I’d be pleased with what I saw, walk away to refresh my perceptions, come back and find they were still too bright! It just took a little longer to get them to resemble Georgie’s soft sea-green color, though, and the little bits of actual Nile green you can see add to the dimensional quality of her eyes while what’s under the top layer of color helps to brighten it.

I also tightened up the details of her ears to finalize the shape and larger areas of color and shadow, though much of the ear detail with come at the end because she has such deluxe ear hair.

I’m building the fur on her face, the short fur around the eyes and nose with no underfur where the agouti is most apparent in layers of color areas, then working in the details of individual areas. She has a very distinctive “M” on her forehead which needed to be made more clear. From there it’s working in the transition between the short fur on her face and the areas where it begins to grow longer but still doesn’t have too much of an undercoat as there is on her torso, around her muzzle and chin, the sides of her face below her ears, and the top of her head. I picture running my fingers through that fur, remembering what it feels like, and it helps me to work the texture correctly.

update on portrait

The full portrait.

I’ve also worked in the rest of her torso, adding the stripes in her side and on her tail that are mixed in with her long fur. I plumed out her tail a little more, though I still don’t think it’s quite long enough. Seeing her in person it looks a little shorter, but that’s only because it’s a little thinner with her age. I have photos from younger years for the full effect of her big tail.

Her big ruff is still a little too colorful, but I want to work the rest of her torso before I finalize the color and mix of highlight and shadow in that area.

Those pink and red toys are working in okay and look balanced now that the rest of her is more detailed. Sometimes it just works out that way.

But in the process of all this I undid her paws—well, that’s for the next round.

See the first draft of the portrait and read about Georgie.

Meet Georgie


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Meet Georgie

pastel portrait of cat

Portrait of Georgie, first proof

One of my newest portraits is Georgie, decidedly the princess of her household!

This is the result of my first session, and I just love the energy of these early portraits with loose details and big strokes; it’s also my first session with my new Sennelier pastels and I largely attribute my satisfaction with this proof compared to past portraits at this point to the colors, texture and quality of my new pastels—more on those in another article.

detail of portrait

Portrait of Georgie, detail of her face.

But at this point I can tell if the portrait is on its way if I can see the finished work my customer and I discussed and, more importantly, feel the subject in it at this early stage, and I definitely feel Georgie here. So did her mom when she saw this proof. I have a number of things to adjust, like her eye color, details in her face and the rest of her fur, and ultimately add the all-important whiskers and ear hair, but I’ll work those out as I go along.

portrait on easel

Georgie on the Easel, ready for her closeup.

Georgie is 19 years old, and though she was adopted from a shelter all those years ago she is apparently either fully or predominantly of Maine Coon cat breed with those extra large features and lush tabby fur.

And her personality is just as big with lots of conversation and direction for her human, and very particular requirements for her toys.

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