Victorian Sock Monkey

I just received an interesting portrait commission that I am very eager to begin.  A lovely customer from my Etsy shop Curious Portraits, contacted me about painting a portrait for her nephew of his beloved sock monkey but in full victorian dress!  She loved my original sock monkey portrait whose model was my dear friend Keith's vintage childhood toy. She also loved my Cat Dandy portrait and wants me to take my inspiration from the two paintings.  I love doing portraits that will be given as gifts because I always feel so much love behind them.  It will be a surprise Christmas gift so I have plenty of time to finish it!

Revisting The Well Bred Dog & The Well Bred Cat

I've been busy working on the new website and today realized that I neglected to include my two books, The Well Bred Dog and The Well Bred Cat! I pulled them out to scan and arrange them for presentation and was reminded of that wonderful year when my dear friend James Waller and I were working on them together. It was such an exciting project. Sometimes I would do the painting first and he would come up with a clever biography for the dog or cat and sometimes he would have an idea for a story and I would then compose a portrait to accompany it. It was a truly wonderful experience to be collaborating with someone I felt so connected to both personally and creatively.

Some of the subjects were dogs and cats who belonged to friends or who lived in my neighborhood and some were eagerly waiting to be adopted at the Humane Society of NY. Here are a few of my favorite portraits:

Dog-Dandy-Lisa -Zador

Copies of the The Well Bred Dog can be purchased here and The Well Bred Cat here.


Of course I had to include the portrait I did of my two dogs at the time, Toby and Bingo. Bingo was less than a year old at the time!

Vintage-Themed Wedding features my Victorian Cat Portraits

Matching Victorian Cat Portraits I just received photos from a beautiful, vintage themed wedding in which I participated in a very small way! Nearly a year ago I was commissioned by the bride to paint a female version of my Victorian Cat Portrait that she wanted to feature in her up-coming California wedding. It was a very fun project and she was so delightful to work with. As you can see the wedding is absolutely gorgeous. So much care and thought went into every detail of creating this vintage, country atmosphere which of course is right up my alley. Here are a few samples of the beautiful photographs that were taken by  Matthew Morgan Photography.

The beautiful Vintage table with the portraits.

Victorian Cat Portraits table

Victorian Cat Brooch as part of the Groom's boutonnière

They even used the Victorian Cat Brooch as part of the Groom's boutonnière!

The dessert table

I love how all the delicate colors work together from the dessert table above to the Bridesmaid's dresses and the bouquet below...

Wedding Pary


Desk and Chalkboard

The vintage furniture and cameras and chalkboard are such a perfect contrast to the Instagram Photobooth!

Victorian Cat Portrait

Victorian Lady Cat Portrait

Old Fashioned Cat Dandy

Now what can this dapper cat be up to? He is certainly a gentleman and seems to befriend mice. He must be a cat that marches to the beat of his own drum. I was so happy with my Headless Skeleton portrait done in sepia tones that I decided to go the same route with this portrait. I believe it  gives the impression of being a vintage photograph for those who appreciate a good old fashioned cat portrait from yesteryear. Prints of him are available in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits.

A very nice post from the Pet Museum

Andree from the Pet Museum wrote this lovely post about my animal portraits and I thought I would share it:


lisa zador and a magical cat

image copyright and by kindest permission of Lisa Zador
You knew it. You knew there was a reason why your cat keeps examining you with that analytical look in her eyes. Why she always lands on her feet. How she can leap up and do a triple lindy in midair after that pesky fly and never miss a step. Well, Manhattan artist Lisa Zador has painted it all for you. Here's her "Portrait of a Mathematical Cat," just one of a world full of clever creatures. You can meet them all at her perfectly named Etsy shop, Curious Portraits.
Of this particular portrait Lisa writes, "This is a portrait of Atticus, a genius among cats. Always obsessed with mathematical logic as a youngster he went on to become one of the leading cats in his field."*
Lisa herself is an artist and animal lover living and working as an illustrator / textile designer in New York for over 20 years. Originally from Philadelphia, she now shares her home in Manhattan’s West Village with her dog Bingo. Her first dog Toby was the inspiration for her portraits of dogs and cats. He became the subject of many Christmas cards over the years, which eventually led to having 2 books of animal portraits published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang in 2001: The Well Bred Dog and The Well Bred Cat.

also copyright and kindest permission of lisa zador

This is Lisa's portrait of Rosie, the unexpected Chihuahua, who came to live with Lisa and Bingo after her "mom" passed away. Though she has some health challenges and is now pretty much blind, she's still alive and kicking! Animals are great that way. Bless you, Rosie!
More on Lisa: she's nothing if not nostalgic, and you can feel her fondness for good things and days gone by in her work. "I feel that everyday objects close to our hearts have their own noble beauty just because they mean so much to us," Lisa says. "I try to bring out their unique qualities and a little of the personalities I see in their faces. Seeing them come to life on the canvas is always a magical moment for me! I work in oil on either canvas or wood panel in a traditional technique called grisaille. This just means that I begin with an under-painting using sepia and white and then build the color up through a series of subsequent glazes. I believe this technique gives the paintings a special inner glow and depth."
And it certainly does. You'll find something to love both at her Etsy shop and at her website Lisa Zador. She does a particularly fine squirrel, I'll tell you.
*He's also featured in The Well Bred Cat (available at, written by James Waller.
Posted by curator at 7:21 PM