PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The U.S. Postal Service recently unveiled commemorative stamp honoring former President Ronald Reagan. But a Plano artist says it was an honor for him to design it.
“Oh, it’s exciting,” Bart Forbes said.
Forbes had the artistic challenge of taking Reagan, someone considered larger than life, and depicting him on a stamp.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Ronald Reagan. I’ve always admired him,” Forbes said.
Forbes, who works out of a studio in Plano, usually paints landscapes and sports figures. He was the official artist for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Capturing the soul of Ronald Reagan would be another challenge. “The whole process took nine to ten months,” Forbes said.
A 2005 stamp honoring President Reagan shows him in a coat and tie. Forbes’ stamp would show the casual Ronald Reagan on his beloved ranch, the Rancho Del Cielo or Ranch of the Sky near Santa Barbara, California.
“Open collar shirt with a California background, which is what his ranch was,” Forbes said.
But, the photograph Forbes had to work from was yet another challenge.
“In the photograph, his hand is covering his mouth. He’s laughing or chuckling at something,” Forbes said.
Forbes had to move Reagan’s hand down to the chin and add the smile.
“That’s a little harder on the surface than it would seem of someone everyone knows what he looks like. So it took a little while to get that right.” Forbes said.
After the sketch was set, Forbes said it took only a day to paint what the U. S. Postal Service will issue as a Forever Stamp.
Forbes says former First Lady Nancy Reagan was involved in the whole process, offering suggestions along the way. He was happy when she was happy with the results.