Initially, in my mind's eye, I pictured a traditional family portrait — the mom, dad and children all dressed up and sitting together. I wanted a picture of our family. After I saw some of José's work though, the concept began to expand. It became evident that he could combine the two most important aspects of our life at the time — our family and Dave's racing.
Sherry MacDonald and José Rodriguez hold one of two painting he created for Sherry. These Christmas gifts for her son Rich and daughter Vici. This painting features daughter Vici standing with her dad.
This painting features Rich standing with his father. Each painiting is different in that each one has a different head shot and differnet standing pose.
In the spring of 2004 my wife, Lilia happened to mention my work as an illustrator to her coworkers. One of the women sharing in the conversation was Sherry MacDonald. Lilia explained my technique and how I worked from photos to make a painting come to life. A phone converstion and an in-person meeting later with Sherry had commissioned me to create a two paintings that she could give to her children as Christmas presents.
With each painting I produce, the process is the same. Soon enough though, I am being led down a unique journey. Good photo references are my most important element. In this case,Sherry armed me with a wealth of photos that gave me a good feeling of who Dave was. As the production evolved, I felt as if his spirit was present and sharing with me his story. I sensed I was movining in the right direction when during my concept sketch phase; I turned the TV on for background noise and discovered that the Indy 500 race was on. Realizing that Dave was killed in this race 40 years ealier gave me an eerie feeling _— enough to make me turn off the TV. The next day moments after turning off theTV, the race commentators had acknowledged the anniversary of Dave's tragic accident.
One of the greatest joys I derive from portraits is the opportunity to capture a moment in time that bears special significance for my clients. Being able to observe their reaction and emotions when they see the finished product is truly worth the blood, sweat and tears I invest in each hour of production.