Where a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Historical Realism
"Mr. Speaker"
30" x 30" Oil on Canvas

Commissioned in May 2012, as a gift to Speaker of the House, John Boehner, I began my research in June, having conversations with members of his staff and looking at many photos provided by the Speaker's staff photographer.

Resourcing other information available online, I started collecting items from various sources and asked for close up photos of items I could see in many of the previously provided photos.

I decided to use the Speaker's desk that looks out to the national mall as I liked the colors
from the bankers lamp and other books and items on his desk. I included his St. Peter's statue, presented to him from Cardinal Wuerl as well as other Catholic books on his desk. The other item that I placed at the top of this classic triangle/pyramid composition was the necktie from Moeller High School, a Catholic College prep high school in Cincinnati. It was here that the Speaker played football for the legendary Coach Gerry Faust, who later also coached at Notre Dame.

It many conversations with his staff, it became apparent that his family and his faith are the cornerstones for how the Speaker lives his life. I placed a family photo up at the top of the painting and to the left of the St Peter statue is a note, "To Every Daddy", that his father wrote and had published in their church bulletin.

Sitting on the desk and the foundation for the painting is the U.S. Constitution, the basis for all law in the United States. I've included the Speaker's personal bible on the left and the "It Can Be Done" placard from Ronald Reagan's desk on the right as the lower corners of the composition with the 112th Congress' plan for proposed legislation to the American people, the "Pledge to America" centered.

Also included is a book of matches from Andy's Cafe, the pub run for years by his father and where the Speaker first started working as an 8 year old boy. A scorecard from his home golf course and a menu from a favorite restaurant from back home in Cincinnati are also included.

The gavel is the oldest in the House collection and belonged to the previous Speaker from Ohio, Nicholas Longworth. The gavel is sitting on a book of speeches given at the memorial of Longworth.

A bottle of wine enjoyed by the Speaker, his reading glasses and history books including Reagan's Diaries with the former President looking out have been included in my painting. The Speaker enjoys reading about history and has a constantly changing assortment of books in his office.

Finally, the note placed center near the bottom, refers back to his Coach from Moeller. 

I learned that the Speaker repeats in many of his speeches, a lesson learned from Coach Faust, that says, "There's nothing in life you can't achieve if you're willing to work hard enough and make the sacrifices necessary to succeed." I contacted Coach Faust, had a wonderful conversation, explained what I was doing and I asked if he could write out this quote for me so I could include it in his own hand.

This note, as well as the framed painting, was presented to Speaker Boehner in January 2013, with many of the 112th and newly elected 113th Republican Congressmen and women present. The painting is currently hanging in the Speaker's conference room in the Capitol in Washington D.C.

With the Speaker in his Conference Room

A conversation with the Speaker in front of his desk