- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It has golden undertones, and there’s a definite twinkle in the blue eyes. The very first formal oil portrait of President-elect Donald Trump was made public Wednesday by C-SPAN — “the first portrait created since he was elected,” the public affairs channel noted.

It will join 44 other presidential portraits as part of C-SPAN’s “American Presidents: Life Portraits” exhibit, which has been touring the United States for the past 17 years.

The Trump portrait was produced by veteran North Carolina painter and sculptor Chas Fagan, the artist behind the Ronald Reagan statue at Reagan National Airport and the official canonization oil portrait of Mother Teresa. He also painted the rest of the portraits in the collection itself.

“One of the more challenging aspects of this specific portrait was President-elect Trump’s eyes,” Mr. Fagan told C-SPAN. “In most photos, his eyes are in shadow and difficult to see, in part due to his distinctive brow line. But eyes are such a recognizable feature, and necessary to give a portrait warmth and personality, so I worked to give them a bit more prominence. I think the result is that we have a softer look into his face than we often get from public media photography.”

Mr. Fagan said he used campaign photographs as a reference for the work. But there were challenges.

“You’d imagine that there should be countless images out there, but the reality is that public media photographs of candidates show frozen action moments,” he said. “Whereas traditional portraits attempt to capture contemplative, relaxed moments.”

“There are innumerable images of candidates seemingly contorted in expression or gesture,” the artist said. “In an online advertisement for an upcoming interview with Mr. Trump I came across a small still image from video. It did not have much detail, but it happened to reveal a more relaxed expression. And that was the foundation for the painting.”

The traveling exhibit will debut the Trump portrait at the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio, in late February.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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