California Bishop Marc Andrus’ official portrait, by acclaimed San Francisco artist Daniel Bayless, now on display

Episcopal Diocese of California
Posted Jan 2, 2024

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Eighth Bishop of California, by Daniel Bayless

Story by Stephanie Martin Taylor, Diocesan Canon for Communications, with additional information about the gallery provided by Davey Gerhard, Canon for Stewardship

The portrait is part of a newly restored gallery at the Diocesan House in San Francisco

The official portrait of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Andrus, the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, is now on permanent display at Diocesan House, the Episcopal Diocese of California’s headquarters at 1055 Taylor Street in San Francisco. The portrait, created by renowned San Francisco-based artist Daniel Bayless, is a vibrant and soulful tribute to Andrus, who is retiring in July 2024.

Bayless is a longtime friend of Bishop Marc and Dr. Sheila Andrus, whom he met while serving as a trustee at Grace Cathedral. Over the years, the Andrus’ have collected several of his paintings, including one that currently hangs over the mantel in the bishop’s office. At Bishop Andrus’ request, Bayless was commissioned to paint his official portrait, a longstanding tradition in the diocese.

“The phenomenal artist, Daniel Bayless has done two things for which I’m incredibly grateful: First, he took all the portraits of the Bishops of California who came before me, from Bishop Kip in 1849 until today, reframed them, and rehung them in Diocesan House,” said Bishop Andrus shortly after the painting’s unveiling Thursday, December 14. “Daniel also painted my portrait,” Andrus continued. “While I’m uncomfortable with being the subject of portraiture, I see the creation of this portrait as continuing the lineage of Episcopal leadership in our diocese,” he said.

Planning the new portrait gallery 

Rather than hanging the seven previous bishops’ portraits in chronological order, Andrus and Bayless decided to rehang them in a way that put each in its best aesthetic light. “The outcome of the reframing and rehanging is positively transformative – these amazing people, in whose lineage I gratefully and humbly stand, now cast light upon each other and outwards, collectively on us.” Andrus said.

Bayless studied the existing portrait collection before deciding how to approach his rendering of Bishop Andrus. “They’re all lovely, for the time,” Bayless said, “But Marc is a modern fellow, right? I don’t like the word progressive. He’s forward-thinking.” To reflect the dignity of the bishop’s position, Bayless chose to paint Bishop Andrus wearing his clerical collar and sitting in a chair in his office. But, for the most part, Bayless chose to depart from tradition, “So I didn’t want him in his vestments, and I wanted it to be somewhat casual rather than with a bible, or a staff, or the mitre.”

Then there was the question of how to capture Bishop Andrus’ climate justice work – a defining ministry of his episcopate. To do this, Bayless chose to surround the bishop’s figure with vibrant colors that range from deep indigo to grassy green to lemon yellow. “They remind me of what you see when you see a picture of the earth taken from space,” Bayless said, adding that the colors are what come to mind when he envisions a healthy planet.

Finally, to imbue the painting with even deeper meaning, Bayless painted lines of text, in Koine Greek, above and behind Andrus’ figure. “I asked him, in his darkest times. when he’s experiencing the most despair at the unfolding climate catastrophe, what sustains him?” The answer, Bayless said, was a Bible passage emphasizing the value of each individual (Matthew 10:29-31):

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Bayless said Andrus gave him “free rein” to paint the portrait however he wanted, and he kept it under wraps until the official unveiling, Thursday, December 14. After seeing the portrait for the first time, Andrus said he felt deeply honored to have sat as a subject for Bayless and to help bring the artist’s “brilliant and heartfelt” work to a wider audience, although “he’s quite famous as is,” Andrus said.

“So much thought, so much feeling went into this portrait,” Andrus continued. “Every detail of this beautiful work of art has meaning, and all of it coheres into a whole that is far more than the sum of its parts.”

Bayless’ work on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of California, including his reframing and rehanging of the seven previous bishops’ portraits, was funded by a group of generous donors. “I am so grateful that these faithful people, dear friends of ours, were able to support a great living artist,” Andrus said.

Further additions to the gallery

Throughout its history, the Episcopal Church in the Bay Area has been blessed by a diversity of voices and leaders as we preach and teach the Good News across our part of the world. To recognize this leadership, the gallery will be expanded in the coming weeks to include the portraits of four prophetic women:

  • Nancy Granfield, a parishioner at Epiphany, San Carlos whose lifetime of service and work with Episcopal Church Women (ECW) has brought strength and gifts to the diocese and to the whole Episcopal Church
  • The Ven. Carolyn Bolton, Archdeacon and leader of African American women in the deaconate
  • The Rev. Fran Toy, the first Asian-American woman priest ordained in the Diocese of California who has faithfully served many of the diocese’s communities of faith.
  • The Rev. Madre Anna Lange Soto, who has ministered to monolingual and bilingual communities throughout the church, empowering Latinx voices of faith and spirit.

Framed in the same style as the bishops’ portraits, the portraits will showcase an inclusive, cohesive story of leadership and Gospel values in the Bay Area.

About Daniel Bayless

“The art of San Francisco artist Daniel Bayless captures the drama of the light, those fleeting moments when the delicate hand of nature caresses a bouquet, or gently twirls a body of water, creating a sparkling sea . . . His collectors include such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor and the late Leonard Bernstein. His corporate collectors include The Disney Corporation, Omni Hotels, The Breakers, and MCrowd Dallas.”  Click here to learn more.

About Bishop Marc Andrus

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus is the Eighth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Episcopal Church in the Bay Area. A renowned climate advocate, he leads the annual Episcopal Church delegation to the UN Climate Conference (COP). After serving as Bishop of California since 2006, Andrus is scheduled to retire in July 2024