Among the most interesting and enjoyable experiences that Raymond as
the portrait artist and I as the studio director have had are providing
portraits for special occasions. It adds to the pleasure when the
portrait being painted is a surprise for the recipient.
One of our most memorable experiences started with an unusual phone call.
Marc Watkins wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a very unique and romantic
way. He had a favorite photograph of Rene, his girlfriend, and himself on a
recent vacation in Portofino, Italy.
Marc asked if it would be possible for Raymond to use this photograph
as the basis of a portrait of Marc and Rene which Marc would use as
part of his marriage proposal. No problem: This is the kind of project that
utilizes Raymond's skill as a portrait painter as well as his
background as a fine artist, an illustrator and a romance novel cover
On a quiet Sunday night, Marc showed Rene around The Harvard Club
in New York City. He had arranged to have the portrait hung in the corner
of Harvard Hall. As Marc was showing Rene the portraits of generations
of notable figures hanging in the majestic room he pointed across the room
to their portrait. Rene gasped and said "'that's us"! Marc commented -
"It is your Christmas present - look at it closer and read the title plate".
Rene, already excited read the inscription "Rene - Will you marry me?" As she turned around she saw Marc on his
knees -holding the engagement ring in his hand. Overcome with emotion, Rene dissolved into a flood of tears and between sobs,
Raymond and I were fortunate enough to be invited by Marc to be at the
actual proposal (as strangers in the corner until it was time for
introductions and explanations). Being there to share in their joy was
a special treat for us.
Marc's ideas, his love for Rene and his enthusiasm made the design
and painting of this unique portrait a dream project. The bonus for us is
that Marc and Rene are two very special people who have become cherished
parts of our lives.
Marc and Rene have graciously allowed us to share these pictures of
their very special proposal. Enjoy