Artist Michele Rushworth paints Gov. Chris Gregoire’s official portrait

February 5, 2013

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

The scene as a workman climbed atop a desk to hang the official portrait of Gov. Chris Gregoire in the Capitol seemed surreal to the outgoing executive.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire unveils official portrait by local artist

January 15, 2013

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled her official portrait — a 44-inch by 30-inch piece by a local artist — Jan. 11, days before she hands the reigns to Gov.-elect Jay Inslee.

Joined by family and friends at the state Capitol in Olympia, Gregoire unveiled the portrait by Michele Rushworth, a Sammamish artist known for creating portraits of leaders in government, academia, business and sports.

“To have my portrait displayed among our state’s past governors is a tremendous honor,” Gregoire said in a statement. “If only my Mom could have been here to see this today. Here I am, the daughter of a short order cook from Auburn, and the first in my family to go to college. And now my portrait will be hanging in the office of the governor of Washington, alongside those who came before. I am truly humbled.”

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Sammamish portrait artist paints powerful, political

November 23, 2010

Sammamish artist Michele Rushworth recently completed a commissioned portrait of Melissa Essary, dean of the Campbell University Law School in Raleigh, N.C. By Christopher Huber

Upon entering Michele Rushworth’s humble second-story, in-home art studio near Discovery Elementary School, one might not gather that she paints portraits of the rich and famous.

You might gather that she has a steady flow of work to do by the empty golden frames dangling from large hooks on the wall. Or by the small sketch paintings lying on the table. But for Rushworth, business is booming. She has an up to two-year waiting list of well-to-do families, heads of state and pro athletes to have their lifelike portraits painted. She also paints landscapes and portraits of children.

Rushworth was recently chosen to paint outgoing Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons’ official portrait. The work, scheduled to be delivered by Dec. 17, will hang in the state’s capitol along with her portrait of former Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Rushworth will be paid $17,500 for the painting and the frame, and $2,500 for travel expenses. She was chosen after a monthslong selection process, involving 43 other artists from across the country, said Teresa Moiola, public information officer with the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. Read more

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Sammamish artist picked to paint official portrait of Nevada governor

August 16, 2010

NEW — 6:45 p.m. Aug. 16, 2010

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has selected a Sammamish artist to paint his official portrait.

The governor picked artist Michele Rushworth — the artist behind official portraits of former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, former Wyoming Sen. Clifford Hansen, former U.S. Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Michael J. Sullivan.

Rushworth outlasted finalists Ned Bittinger — a Santa Fe, N.M., portraitist — and Yardley, Pa., artist John Ennis. The state Arts Council picked the finalists from 44 applicants; Gibbons had the option to pick from any of the 44.

Rushworth has another portrait on display at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City: She painted the official portrait of former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn.

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