Since leaving office in 2009, not much has been heard from George W. Bush. In 2013, thanks in part to a hacker, we learned why: he’s been busy painting.
It turns out that Bush was searching for a hobby after Barack Obama took his job so he decided to learn to paint. Bush worked with an instructor and when his early paintings were leaked on the internet, they were…not great. His depictions of dogs and world leaders looked like the “art” adorning the wall of a middle school painting class, but he was clearly enjoying himself and his hobby endeared him to a generation who grew up not particularly happy with his policies as POTUS.
Since the initial leak, Bush has been more open with sharing his paintings and there is no denying that his skills have progressed. Sure, he’s still no Andrew Wyeth or Grant Wood but his portraits have become much kinder to the subjects, especially his recent portraits of veterans.
Over the past several months, I've painted the portraits of 98 wounded warriors I've gotten to know – remarkable men and women who were injured carrying out my orders. I think about them on #VeteransDay and every day. Their paintings and stories will be featured in PORTRAITS OF COURAGE – a book and special exhibit – next spring, and I am donating all my proceeds to @thebushcenter and our Military Service Initiative's work to honor and support them. Click link in bio for more info.
Bush spent much of 2016 painting 98 portraits of wounded warriors. Now 66 of the oil paintings and a mural painted by the former president have been collected in a hardcover entitled Portraits of Courage A Commander in Chiefs Tribute to Americas Warriors.
The hardcover is available now for preorder for just $35 and will be shipped beginning February 28. Bush’s profits from the book will be donated to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non profit organization whose Military Service Initiative is focused on helping post September 11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life.
In addition, the paintings will be on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU Campus in Dallas, Texas from March 2 through October 1.