Rachel (10), Madelyn (6), Yates (5 weeks), Hope and Faith (3.5) Lindsey
34″ x 30″
This painting was presented to Tara and Dirk Lindsey on November 6th, 2008 on The Today Show on NBC. Unfortunately, The nationally televised segment is no longer available to view.
I very rarely use text in a portrait. But in this case it is an important part of the concept. The painting depicts an impossible meeting, at least in this life, of these five beautiful children. Faith and Hope are much more than the names of the twins. Faith and Hope are a life choice by the brave and inspiring parents and a theme for their incredible journey, having lost Rachel, Madelyn and Yates to a drunk driver. We have Faith, Hope and the greatest of these is love, the love these children will share with one another forever.
This is the story that was the impetus for the portrait:
“Our long journey to our precious children began in 2004. My husband and I decided to adopt after we lost our three beautiful children to a drunk driver in 2004 in Seminole, Texas, when we were struck on the driver’s side of our extended cab pickup. All our children were correctly restrained in their car seats and seat belts. My husband and I did not know until many hours later that our children were all killed, the medical staff did not want us to know because we were still in critical condition, they were afraid that this would make it worse. I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt, in my heart I knew something really bad had happened, but no one could tell me. I just stared at the ceiling and kept praying to God that my children were ok. Our children Rachel 10, Madelyn 6 and Yates 5 weeks old were our life; we never thought what it would be like without them. The woman that hit our vehicle is serving three life sentences, and will be up for parole in 27 years now. They were great children and we could never replace them, but we felt that we still had a lot of love to give and an empty heart to fill again so we chose to adopt from China. I will have to say this “pregnancy” has been the worst – a lot longer than 9 months. Our paperwork went to China in July 2005, and then we waited, and waited, and waited! We hoped for twins, not knowing if it would happen but after all “you can always try”. Our hopes, wishes, and most of all prayers were answered and October 10, 2006 we were united with our two precious little girls from Fuzhou, in Jiangxi Province. It was our Faith and Hope in God that we would survive this tragedy. So we named the girls Hope and Faith. They have been such a blessing to our entire family, and we thank God everyday for giving us a chance to be a family again. The vehicle that we were in now is a mobile exhibit for MADD and travels around Texas sharing our tragedy. This is our story of thinking life can not go on, yet God had another plan for us.”
Thank you so much for the the portrait it is absolutely beautiful. We love the way you put Rachel’s arm around Faith, and that you took the images off of the girls clothes. I was always sad that this was the only photo I had with all three of our children, due to it was such a casual photo. You made it so special now, as if they were all here. I will definitely put the photo on the blog, I have so many people wanting to come to my home and see it. I too put a link to your website. You do such beautiful work. It has been a blessing to have met you. Thank you again, Tara Lindsey
Dear Robert, I have certainly had a good cry this morning! What a wonderful gift you gave that family. I think they were so overwhelmed by the entire “scene” of being on television, telling their story etc, that they probably weren’t able to appreciate the full impact of your portrait gift until they returned home and put it in their chosen spot in their house. You, your talent will forever be an important part of their lives because you have captured, no, RESCUED their lost children, as they were, so realistically that the entire family and everyone who knew those three children will be able to see them forever as they were, now encircled with love from the twins they chose to adopt. Bravo, Robert. You did it. What a wonderful gift! Sincerely, Vangie C. Rich
Dear Robert, Just an exquisite work of art Robert. It was obvious how moved these courageous parents were at seeing it, not to mention for everyone in the room and in the audience. Having two kids of your own, it was clear by your heartfelt approach how much of your own heart and soul went into the painting, as well as, the sensitivity with which you presented it to them. Clearly, The Today Show recognized your impeccable talent Robert, for there surely couldn’t have been a better artist for the work then you on this one. What an honor for you to be able to bring some artful beauty, heart and light into such an overwhelming tragedy, thus helping to transform in some small measure their pain. Much congratulations to you Robert on your continued success with all your “labor’s of love.” Thank you for sharing this, as I too had wanted to tune in that day, but was unable to. Kathryn
Dear Rob, I was so impressed with your portrait “Faith and Hope”. Moreover, the fact that you followed through with the urge to give of yourself to this remarkable couple in their grief was heart warming. As artists, we can pull on heaven’s rope through our imagination. Thank you for sharing this story. Sincerely, Betsy