SIMI VALLEY — Ronald Reagan's days on his beloved Santa Barbara County ranch are being remembered in a larger-than-life bronze sculpture at the Reagan library.
The 7-foot, 6-inch sculpture, titled "After the Ride," was installed Tuesday in the library's main courtyard and will be officially unveiled Thursday night after a lecture by Gov. Pete Wilson. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan is scheduled to attend.
Sculptor Glenna Goodacre studied photographs, video and clothing from the library's collection to create the standing image of the former president in his early 70s. Meant to portray Reagan striding off after a horseback ride, the sculpture shows him in boots and denim jacket, with cowboy hat in hand and riding gloves in his back pocket.
"I wanted him to exude the confidence and the friendliness and the openness that I think are part of his personality," Goodacre said Tuesday from her studio in Santa Fe, N.M. "When I was going through the thousands of photographs, the ones where he was solemn and serious looked very stilted and posed."
When she began transferring Reagan's image to clay, Goodacre said her most difficult task was making his smile look sincere.
"I must have done the mouth over a hundred times," she said.
Reagan, now 87 and suffering from Alzheimer's disease, will not attend Thursday's presentation.