INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels took time to reflect on his eight-year tenure Tuesday during the unveiling of his official portrait.
He started by jokingly apologizing to his staff for being a royal pain in the backside during the portrait process but finished nearly in tears.
Daniels referred to the hundreds of fine colleagues in his administration that should also be in the portrait, and focused on his effort to leave a lean, clean government.
People have a right to expect that the peoples business is being done with integrity, he said as his voice cracked and tears welled in his eyes.
He quoted a number of famous leaders and said he would like to be remembered as Theodore Roosevelt was by a school child – he was the fulfiller of good intentions.
The new oil painting is the 53rd in the governors portrait collection. Only one man – acting Gov. John Gibson in the 1800s – escaped the ritual.
In Daniels portrait, he is leaning against a chair in a blue shirt and paisley tie, holding a pen. He is not wearing a suit jacket as other governors have. His face has a remarkable likeness, if a bit younger than the governors years.
The portrait was done by Richard Halstead – a Lafayette native – who said that cameras may be more efficient, but portraits speak of an unbroken connection between the past, present and future.
He said he interviewed many people to learn about Daniels personality – engaging, casual, focused with an exceptional intellect. And Halstead also remarked on the governors passion and strong beliefs when he watched him give a talk on democracy to some schoolchildren.
Daniels had only one request: Dont make it artificial or unnatural.
He said later that the tie in the work is actually a figment of Halsteads imagination. Apparently the governor wore ties with geographic patterns in test shots, which Halstead found distracting. So he created a paisley tie that blended better. Ironically, Daniels later found a similar tie in his closet.
According to state guidelines, the portrait is to be about 42 inches by 32 inches in size and an oil or acrylic work. Historically, the portrait of the most immediate past governor is displayed in the lobby of the governors Statehouse office.
Private donations paid for the portrait.