Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty hired the artist Ross R. Rossin to paint his official portrait, the governor's office announced.
The Bulgarian-born artist who goes by one name -- Rossin -- has done commission works of President George W. Bush and President George H. Bush for the The George. H. Bush Presidential Library, President Theodore Roosevelt for the Theodore Roosevelt Association, U.S. Sens Paul Coverdale and Saxby Chambliss and other power players. See many of those august works here.
But before you leave the official portraitist's site, cruise on over to his "Contemporary Works." There you will find photo-like oil paintings of a bald Britney Spears, a blue-eyed Jesus, a plastic Barbie and yes, Sharee from the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Rossin himself appeared on the reality TV show. You can see his discussions with Sharee about her commissioned portrait here (The scenes with Rossin start around minute six):
The portrait will cost $25,200 and paid for with funds from the Governor's Office budget, according to Bruce Gordon, Pawlenty's spokesman.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura's portrait, painted by a former wrestling tag team partner of the ex-governor's, cost $20,000 and was paid through funds from the state's Department of Administration. Former Gov. Arne Carlson's portrait, which portrays the governor wearing a maroon University of Minnesota letter jacket on the university campus, also cost $20,000 and was paid through a specific appropriation from the Legislature, Gordon said.
Gordon said the artist will work through photos and no decisions had been made on the background of the piece. First Lady Mary Pawlenty is not expected to appear in the piece. Former Gov. Rudy Perpich's wife Lola appears in his official portrait. That portrait was privately financed, including a $25,000 donation from one Mark Dayton, now the Democratic governor-elect. IN 1997, then Gov. Carlson vetoed a $ 20,000 appropriation for the Perpichs' portrait.