Texan George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States and one of the architects of the War on Terror, has become quite the impressionist since leaving office. First, he started with renditions of flowers, landscapes, and even semi-nude images of himself in the bathtub (released thanks(?) to Guccifer).
Then Bush moved on to world leaders, including Tony Blair, the Dalai Lama, Angela Merkel, former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and even Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Of Putin, Bush claimed, “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”
During one of Jay Leno’s final broadcasts, Bush even presented a portrait to the outgoing late night icon.
The paintings of world leaders were part of an exhibit entitled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy.” It featured 30 oil-on-board paintings of world leaders Bush spent time with during his time in office.
Now the ex-president has moved on to more controversial subjects: depictions of fallen soldiers from the war in Iraq. In his later years, Bush has turned his artistic lens on drawing the young servicemen whose deaths many would claim he caused.
Bush himself wrote of the work: “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.”
In his upcoming book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, Bush showcases 66 portraits of military personnel who have served since 9/11, some of whom were injured fighting to secure weapons of mass destruction that were never found and likely never existed.
Of his recent work, Bush wrote:
“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.”
Asked about incoming president Donald Trump, Bush said:
“Laura and I wish the president-elect, Melania, and the entire Trump family all our very best as they take on an awesome responsibility and begin an exciting new chapter in their lives. We pray for the success of our country and the success of our new president.”
George W. Bush, a man whose twilight years have brought him peace.