There's an infamous connotation that accompanies the nominal impact of George Bush. Who is he exactly? Without delving too far into his past, we know that he isn't the brightest of presidents. "They misunderestimated me." is an excellent example of his verbal gaffes. Actions, however, speak louder than words and Bush is a man of many actions. Some of his most notable taking place in the Middle East after 9/11. It's been six years since he's been President, ample time to reestablish himself as a person. Part of the reinvention includes painting. Bush's early encounters with art were of the digital sort as he drew pictures on his iPad to send to his wife and daughters. In 2012, he decided to learn what he was destined to be good at. Upon meeting his painting instructor, Bonnie Flood, he'd stated, "There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body, it's your job to unleash him." What's shocking is that Bush even knows who Rembrandt is. This is the man who got down and boogied at an event for malaria awareness in Africa. This is the man who gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel an uninvited neck rub. But George Bush is artistically aware, none the less. He'd been inspired by Winston Churchill and his essay on Painting as a Pastime, showing it's possible to be involved in politics and still have hobby. So for an entire month, Bush painted 6 hours a day with his instructor. It makes you wonder if he could have shown that kind of dedication during his presidency. Time has passed, paintings have been leaked, and now we've come to the essential question that people have been asking and answering left and right: Is Bush any good?

He definitely looks like an artist

Bush's paintings don't tell us anything about Afghanistan or the state of the union. His presidency is mostly detached apart from portraits of world leaders and occasional landscapes of his travels around the globe. In his man-cave turned studio, Bush is able to escape the harsh realities of ex-presidency, being now a man of simple pleasures that reside in his pets, family, and golf. It might be difficult to adjust from a world of constant attention to one of minimal interest, so much so that you might do something out of the ordinary to bring all eyes on you once again. This seems to be exactly what George Bush has done but one can't help to feel a sort of contentment for a once lost man's newfound identity. Painting does for Bush what crocheting does for a grandmother; it's nothing profound but it's comforting to picture a graying man with spectacles on the bridge of his nose, gazing onto his passion. This feeling doesn't, however, prevent impeding criticism or opinion, a natural byproduct of the human race and it's freedom of speech. People have been partisan, unsurprisingly, and there seems to be some moral speculation in the criticism. Bush says that he knows he's not the best artist but he takes his work seriously, painting sometimes hours a day in his permanent leisurely clothing every morning. But is dedication enough to look at the painting's with respect?


The most famous Bush paintings were leaked mysteriously via email to a blood-thirsty public. We were satisfied with two self portraits in the bathroom, shocked but satisfied. People might think it demeaning to have one of the US presidents portray himself dangerously and scantily clad in his own painting, but Bush found it relieving. It was the release of his true self onto the world to show how different his perspectives could be and his originality in subject. The paintings are surprisingly human, seen as the deepest cut into the mind of George Bush. Bush paints his two-dimensional subject matter with spatial ambiguity and a combination of cropping and composition, showing that he' not afraid to put himself on the far edge of the canvas. You can also see why he calls himself a realist because the representation is truthful without artificiality and he avoids artistic conventions. Bush paints to paint, not to follow some formerly established style. But if you actually put the paintings next to Manet’s or Courbet’s, you can see how George Bush was actually attempting realism but deterred along the way towards a more "it-seems-good-to-me" result.

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What a nice gift to Jay Leno!

Like most of the bloggers on the internet, let’s take a moment to examine George Bush’s artwork as an amateur art critique. As a whole, painting seems to be something that Mr. President has not been able to fully comprehend. There’s a specific word used to describe this genre of painting, outsider art, not intended for open discussion. Most of the dog portraits look like digital snapshots, almost a painterly impressionism. He’s hasty, wanting to get to the end product of a painting and see it done instead of working tediously on each and every detail. The paint is caked on, impasto almost, with little control. He reflects Monet by producing paintings that look fine from far away but a closer view reveals the true nature of his work, rushed and simple. Monet's reflects pointillism from up close, and Bush reflects fields of color. Apart from the amateurs, professional artists have had views on completely opposite ends of the pole. Some have begged Bush to continue painting for the sake of art-enthusiasts everywhere. The renowned Brian Tolle voices his opinions from a more personal perspective. Tolle sees art as a profession, not a leisure. It’s something he’s known to be challenging and endlessly demanding. Bush painting is something to be encouraged but is he allowed to call himself a painter? It might seem a bit premature at this stage to call him anything but a man who happened to make very big decisions at an earlier day and age.

Taking a closer look at the paintings, Bush is not giving us any subliminal messages. His portrait in the shower probably isn't a reference to his inner turmoil with hurricane Katrina. There isn’t a strategic placement of his dogs to have the frame seem to be collapsing in on itself, much like his own life is collapsing in on himself. George Bush isn't painting to actually give us a slice of his life, he just wants to show the world that he isn't restricted to being the so-
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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
cial diplomat we all know him to be. Bush can be deep when he wants to and he’s allowed to enjoy activities without the media monitoring and critiquing every little thing he does. So plain and simple, it might be time to stop talking about George Bush altogether, as a politician, an artist, even as an amateur cyclist. He’s had the limelight more than enough times.

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