The Gipper - A Tribute to Ronald Reagan by David O'Keefe
8"x24" Giclee on Watercolor paper, signed and numbered
I've drawn Ronald Reagan before and he seemed like the perfect Republican to do in time for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. He's riding a huge wave of popularity right now and has been mentioned a lot during the primary season by the Republican candidates. I wanted to honor him as the charismatic, larger-than-life, great communicator that he was. I've set him in a Baroque-type scene. Baroque is my favorite art period and goes well with my exaggerated style. It's reminiscent of the paintings you would see back then of kings and queens. Behind him is a long road, the road of his career, and there are a couple of bridges that he's crossed. The cherubs are another Baroque-art staple and I have them lifting back the curtains in a way of honoring him. It's not drawn from any particular photograph of him, I watched some biographical DVDs of him while I was working on it and tried to capture his broad shoulders and an expression of accomplishment on his face. He's got a half-smile, kind of Mona Lisa-ish. And I have a reference to one of Reagan's habits that made him seem like such a normal guy, someone you'd like to hang out with - look behind him by the tree - that's a jar of jelly beans.