Dirk Kempthorne is an impressive guy in every way. Serving as Governor of Idaho, US Senator from Idaho, Secretary of the Interior under President George W. Bush, and now CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.I was so honored to paint his official portrait for the Department of the Interior in Washington DC.
We began in a slightly unusual place…on board his boat docked near the Washington Monument in DC! The Secretary has had a houseboat there for years and it was his home away from home while serving in both the Senate and as Secretary of Interior. He described it as the best rent in the city and an incredible location!
Not only did we do the photoshoot and sketch session there, he gave me what had to be the coolest tour of Washington I have ever had from the Potomac River.
We designed the portrait to embrace his love of the outdoors, his comfortable and approachable nature, and a relaxed confidence that I think is such a part of his personality.
The Secretary then traveled to Nashville where we enjoyed a couple of days of painting in my studio. I even took him for lunch at a “meat and three” so he could experience a taste of hardy southern cooking.
The unveiling was an awesome event. In the beautiful Interior Building constructed in the 1930’s, the presentation was filled with family and friends including former Bush secretaries, members of Congress, and career staff of the department.
I hope the Secretary will serve our nation again in the future at the highest levels of government. He is a great American, with great talent and ideas for our future.