Happy Father's Day, Ray!

Published on 19 May 2023 at 20:26

Medium: Graphite

Date: 2002

My dear friend Tonia, who has a keen sense of art, hired me to create a family portrait as a surprise for Ray. She provided me with multiple pictures of each family member, which I used to assemble the portrait. I invented hand positions and relationships between family members using various photos.

At the center of the portrait is their four-year-old daughter Jennifer, an extremely sparkling and brilliant person. I placed her hand together with her father’s, even though there were no photos like that. I also moved the family closer together and put Ray’s hand around Tonia’s shoulder.

When I asked Tonia if she wanted to keep her difficult-to-draw hairdo or opt for a simpler style, she insisted on keeping it. “Yes,” she said, “I love this hair. Please do it.”

I completed the portrait by adding a hand-drawn mat and used graphite on smooth vellum as my materials. Tonia was so pleased with the drawing that she paid me 25% more than I had asked for - the only client who has ever done that for me.

Sadly, Ray passed away from COVID in the spring of 2020

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