My wife Janine and I are dedicated supporters of, and Volunteer with the 'Ronald McDonald' House Charity of Central Florida. (RMHCCF)
The RMH houses provide a place to stay for families with children undergoing treatment and in Orlando are located within the campuses of
Arnold Palmer, Advent Health and Nemours.
Each chapter is for the most part self sufficient, and as a result are constantly raising money to cover the operating costs of the houses.
Last year, thanks to a generous donation, the Orlando Chapter was able to perform some much needed upgrades on it' three properties. They redecorated all 84 of the guest rooms and common areas and even replaced some of the aging fixtures and furniture.
Local businesses had the opportunity to contribute to this major overhaul by sponsoring individual rooms. Part of which involved pairing them with a local artist to provide a piece of original 'themed' art.
I was asked to submit a portfolio for consideration at the end of last Summer. To my delight shortly thereafter I was notified I had been selected by the Orlando Magic Basketball Club to produce a piece for their room at Advent Health. This is particularly sweet as my wife volunteers there at least once a week, and I help out with routine handyman type maintenance as and when it's needed.
I was given a completely free hand to choose the subject, the only stipulation, it must be 'family friendly' and if at all possible bright and positive, given where it's being hung and who's going to be seeing it.
Rather than focus on the team, or a handful of players, I thought a more vibrant subject might be the venue, the relatively new 'Amway Arena'
After a bit of research I found several images I could work with set about creating a painting to capture the excitement of a game.
"Let's go Magic!" is 24" x 36", acrylic on canvas. It was completed in just under one week, and was graciously framed by Windemere Art and Framing.
Prior to finishing this painting, I received another call from the RMH office asking if I would be willing to do a second piece as I had also been selected by 'Southeast Toyota' to provide an original for their room at the Arnold Palmer House.
To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I get to combine two of my passions, Art and cars.
Once again, and to my surprise, they too gave me a free hand to create something.
My initial thought was to render a Land Cruiser kitted out for an African safari, or perhaps a tough rally stage plowing through a mud hole, something dynamic and messy, but showcasing the strength of this marque. I did some image research on 'Google' using 'Toyota' and 'Motorsport' as keywords.
That's when I saw it....
I'm not a follower of NASCAR, so I know nothing about the cars or teams. Who knew Toyota's compete in this series, Huh. (I am however, a big 'Formula One' fan)
Given that the RMH houses are exclusively for the benefit of children undergoing treatment and their families, something that would appeal to them is paramount, and what better than bright colors and candy....enter Kyle Busch's 'M&M' adorned Toyota Camry. I know it's not the road legal Camry you or I might buy, but it bears the Toyota emblem, is brightly colored, features sweeties, everyone should be happy I hope.
I painted this, a composite of various images I found of Mr. Busch doing celebratory donuts after winning last year.
Again it's acrylic on canvas, this time 16" x 40" and once again framed by Windemere Art and Framing.
I'm thankful to have the opportunity and ability to produce this work, it has helped keep me sane during the early part of our recent confinement, and has allowed me to continue to donate to a cause close to our hearts while as volunteers were otherwise physically separated from it.
If these brighten two of the RMH rooms, and hopefully stir some thought, conversation and emotions among the occupants, then what I set out to do has been achieved.
If they do anything for you, that's an additional bonus. I hope you enjoy them.