February 25th, 2014
10:36 AM ET
6 months ago

George W. Bush to feature paintings in gallery showing

(CNN) – Former President-turned-painter George W. Bush will feature his work in an art exhibit starting this April, unveiling more than two dozen portraits that have never been made public.

The exhibit, "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy," will feature his paintings, as well as artifacts, photographs, and personal reflections about his relationships made on the world stage, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, which is hosting the exhibit.

After leaving office in 2009, the 43rd President took up painting as a hobby and hired an instructor, telling his teacher: "There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it."

In November, he unveiled one of his portraits–a large painting of comedian Jay Leno–during an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

"I do take painting seriously, it's changed my life," he said.

Bush likes to paint landscapes, dogs, and the classic fruit-in-a-bowl, as revealed when the Bush family's email accounts were hacked last year.

At Bush's presidential library opening last April, former President Bill Clinton teased his successor about paintings found in the emails that appear to have been created in the bathroom.

"Those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age, I think I should keep my suit," Clinton joked.

Bush told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the hobby helps him relax and see colors in a new light.

"I am, I guess, tapping a part of the brain that, you know, certainly never used when I was a teenager. And I get the satisfaction out of completing a project," he said, adding that he loves to paint people's pets and give the paintings as gifts.

"And I readily concede the signature is more valuable than the painting," he joked.

The Lead: Art critic's take on former President George W. Bush's paintings

Opinion: Bush paints, but is he any good?


Filed under: George W. Bush
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    He can draw fairly well. He's getting a late start on cranking stuff out, but I think he has a future.

    February 25, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. navaJohn

    We all would have been better off if he became a painter rather than politician. Then we wouldn't have had to buy any of it!

    February 25, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Dead Bear

    First off, I'm surprised they're not finger paintings. Second, it is unfortunate he did not tap into any parts of his brain while he was president. And finally, I wouldn't pay a dime for his signature let alone his "art" which is no more impressive than anything else I've seen painted by your typical nursing home occupant during arts and crafts.

    February 25, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Chris in VA

    The exhibit should have been called "Paint By Numbers for Traitors".

    February 25, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "In November, he unveiled one of his portraits–a large painting of comedian Jay Leno–during an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

    Not bad at all. Great to see he has a new outlook in his life. Great also that he's gotten out of politics. Sort of.

    February 25, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. wendel

    He is pretty good and I appreciate that he has not been involved with the GOP in bashing the president. He has more class than I gave him credit for. Even though I don't agree with his politics I will not make remarks about the guy, I will leave that to the GOP trolls .

    February 25, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Ol' Yeller

    "I am, I guess, tapping a part of the brain that, you know, certainly never used when I was a teenager. And I get the satisfaction out of completing a project," he said, adding that he loves to paint people's pets and give the paintings as gifts."

    I am, I guess (all I ever did), tapping the brain that, you know, certainly never got used when I was President. And I get the satisfaction of finally completing a project I started and not leaving it in the lap of Obama," he said, adding that he loves to paint people's pets and then throw them through their window before they get dry. I once painted my neighbor's dalmation green and let it loose while she was hanging laundry. Hysterical."
    FIFY.

    February 25, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Darlene

    There are many better artists than George Bush who will not get a showing. Hitler's art is better than Bush's. Sadly neither Bush nor Hitler developed their talent enough to keep from being mass murderers.

    February 25, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Ken

    WHAT???

    No paintings of Dick Cheney's YELLOW CAKES or Condoleeza Rice's MUSHROOM CLOUDS?

    February 25, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. yolanda

    Well spoken @Wendel. He lacked a lot as president but is showing good form by being supportive of the office of the presidency. It is telling to see the comments of the usual trolls such as @Dead Bear and @ Ol' Yeller....probably reside under the same bridge, as I have yet to see anything constructive from either of them.

    February 25, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    "Not bad at all. Great to see he has a new outlook in his life. Great also that he's gotten out of politics. Sort of."
    ---------------------–
    His dog paintings are even more impressive. I think human faces is something he's still learning. He has dogs down pat.

    February 25, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. We miss you George!

    wendel
    He is pretty good and I appreciate that he has not been involved with the GOP in bashing the president. He has more class than I gave him credit for
    --

    Yeah, he isn't like the Democrats and Bill Clinton. Running around shooting their mouth off about everything even though he had every right to given the endless attacks and blame leveled at him even 4-5 years after he left office. It is sad that all the Democrats know how to do is endlesslly attack and blame others for their failures. It is a sign of immaturity and deceit.

    February 25, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Thomas

    Imagine the world today if only GW's high school carer counselor had suggested Art school instead of politics .

    February 25, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. emskadittle

    and you really think his brother in the white house is a good idea? If you think republicans hate obama, you haven't seen anything yet, democrats will lose their minds if jeb is nominated

    February 25, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Rudy NYC
    "Not bad at all. Great to see he has a new outlook in his life. Great also that he's gotten out of politics. Sort of."
    -------–
    His dog paintings are even more impressive. I think human faces is something he's still learning. He has dogs down pat.
    --------

    I agree, Rudy. It will be interesting seeing what else he's painted when this art exhibit of his becomes public.

    February 25, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Yeah, he isn't like the Democrats and Bill Clinton. Running around shooting their mouth off about everything even though he had every right to given the endless attacks and blame leveled at him even 4-5 years after he left office. It is sad that all the Democrats know how to do is endlesslly attack and blame others for their failures. It is a sign of immaturity and deceit.
    ----------------------------–
    You confuse Democratic politicians with liberal bloggers. I do not recall hearing any elected Democrats bad mouth Bush except to criticize the tax cuts themselves, not the man. We've heard many elected Republicans in the Congress say all sorts of bad things about the man, Pres. Obama. From Michelle Bachman calling him a "gangsta president" to countless Repubilcans calling him a liar over Obamacare.

    February 25, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Toot your own horn much Dubya? Go Away!!!!

    February 25, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. O'drama ya Mama

    Bob Ross: And if you dont like this Bush you could just turn that Bush into a nice tree.

    February 25, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Country Above the Parties

    If only the "W" Bush had stick to painting and not politics, we would have saved 4000 of our brave men, Iraq would have saved 100,000 plus citizens and trillions on unnecessary war expenses. And the country would be still the way Clinton left it with–budget surplus with no deficit.

    February 25, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    yolanda

    Well spoken @Wendel. He lacked a lot as president but is showing good form by being supportive of the office of the presidency. It is telling to see the comments of the usual trolls such as @Dead Bear and @ Ol' Yeller....probably reside under the same bridge, as I have yet to see anything constructive from either of them.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You really should look in a mirror before you accuse others of unconstructive postings.

    February 25, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Lynda wrote:

    "I agree, Rudy. It will be interesting seeing what else he's painted when this art exhibit of his becomes public."
    --------------------------
    Take a look at the link in the article, where it says this: "Bush likes to paint landscapes, dogs, and the classic fruit-in-a-bowl, as revealed when the Bush family's email accounts were hacked last year. " You can see a portrait of the family dog.

    February 25, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Rudy NYC
    to countless Repubilcans calling him a liar over Obamacare.
    --

    Well after Obama was selected Liar of the Year it isn't name calling if it is true. Ot are you now claiming Obama didn't lie to the country repeatedly for several years?

    February 25, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    The man actually has talent. His paintings are pretty good.

    February 25, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    I am glad he has this kind of artistic outlet. It healthy for everyone to explore that side of themselves.

    February 25, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    What "methodology"? Public facilities are under no obligation to promote corporations or their products.
    -
    Oh, I don't know... how about leaving it up to the PARENTS?

    What metrics do they have that proves out the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this approach? How will they know whether or not they've achieved their goal? This is just another "throw something against the wall and see what sticks". And I would be saying this no matter who proposed it – again, the goal is admirable.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If junk food isn't being promoted and offered in schools, kids aren't going to learn poor nutritional habits in schools – it's that simple. What parents choose to feed their kids outside school or pack in their school lunches is on them, and if they choose to continue to send their kids to school with bad food once it's no longer available for purchase at school, at least they won't be able to blame "government schools" when their seven year-old develops type-2 diabetes.

    February 25, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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