President George W. Bush will “go down in the history books as a great artist.”
Or so says his painting teacher, Bonnie Flood. A Georgia-based artist, Flood recently spent a month with the former president in Florida tutoring him on how to mix paints and use proper brushstrokes.
“He started off painting dogs. I think he said he painted 50 dogs,” Flood told Fox 5 Atlanta. “He pulled out this canvas and started painting dogs and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t paint dogs!’”
The former president posted this portrait of his beloved Scottish terrier Barney on his Facebook page in February. He’s also branched out into landscapes.
Americans got a rare glimpse into the mind (or more accurately, eye) of the 43rd president when his sister’s email was hacked last month, revealing two of the president’s more introspective works—a pair of self-portraits in the shower and bathtub.
New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz—no fan of the president while he was in office—nevertheless had high praise for his paintings.
“These are pictures of someone dissembling without knowing it, unprotected and on display, but split between the promptings of his own inner drives and limited by his abilities,” he wrote. “They reflect the pleasures of disinterestedness. A floater. Inert. The images of a man who saw the entire world from the inside but who finds the smallest, most private place in a private home to imagine his universe.”