November 14th, 2016

George W. Bush, portraitist

I find George Bush’s continuing dedication to painting to be quite fascinating. I like his paintings and think he’s improved since he began. Now he seems to be concentrating on portraiture; this is what an art critic has to say:

They are (Chaim) Soutine-like portraits, thickly painted in what I would call “high-amateur” mode by someone who has clearly studied a little art history and worked with an art teacher…

Beyond Soutine, they also remind me of (paintings done by) a number of emerging artists in New York like Erik Hanson. His portraits are remarkably similar (to these). If I walked into some Chelsea gallery and saw this as a precocious 24-year-old Yale graduate (and saw these paintings), I’d say: “Oh, this is an interesting take on portraiture in 2014. Nothing wrong with that at all.”

Here are a few examples of Bush’s portraits of world leaders, as well as some paintings of his from a new book he’s put out to benefit veterans: Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

bush-olmert

bush-bush

bush-threesome

bush-bush-ii

bush-veterans

14 Responses to “George W. Bush, portraitist”

  1. Esther Says:

    He’s actually authentically, bravely and generously moving the paint around, despite clearly struggling. Not easy. The paintings are good.

  2. duo Says:

    Looks the invasion of Iraq inspired some for painting
    Is it coincident? Is it inspiration of land had 5000 years of history who give the world how to write and read also First ever Rule of law.

    Let see who other also were with GW Bush came forward and being Painting:
    Welcome to my books and paintings and
    The sad paintings

  3. Oldflyer Says:

    Agree Esther. I am sure that there will be critics in abundance, and more than a few harsh ones. It is brave to put yourself out there; and fitting that he is doing it to benefit veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    His self portrait seems to be more reflective and a bit poignant.

  4. CV Says:

    I like the portraits and think he has genuine talent. The one that moved me the most is the portrait of his father, but he’s had a lifetime to observe him.

    One of the things I have long admired about George W. is his gracious demeanor and confident leadership in the face of public derision, during his presidency and after. Surely he knew, after all of the mocking he has endured for years, that he was opening himself up to ridicule by sharing his paintings with the world. He rises above it and never responds in kind.

    I really hope Trump learns to follow Bush’s example in this regard, because everything directed toward Bush by the press, comedians, leftists on social media, etc. will look tame in comparison to the scorn to be heaped on the new president for the next four years. And staying classy and letting the insults roll off has never been The Donald’s strong suit.

  5. Oldflyer Says:

    Well said, CV.

  6. Frog Says:

    I prefer W’s earlier paintings. Some of these are almost caricatures, tending to the grotesque. See the lead-off painting. They are too heavy-handed.

  7. miklos000rosza Says:

    Painting on canvas puts one in a very different mental space than writing, or speaking, or anything else connected with words. It’s different from playing music, also, because music has its own language you inevitably adhere to and stay within. Music requires endless repetition, although this repetition leads to change. Painting is a craft, a job with a beginning middle and end. It’s a meditation.

  8. Frog Says:

    miklos, you sound like a painter, and not like a musician, especially not one who plays classical music. All forms of art have beginnings, middles and ends.
    I meditate to Mozart especially K.563. And Beethoven’s Archduke Trio. Try them!

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    There’s often a dispute over how intelligent Bush is. The Left says a village idiot. Others say Bush is smarter than Kerry and Hussein combined.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    Oh sorry, forgot to include that one of the practical tests for intelligence and talent isn’t the IQ test, it’s seeing how many fields you can learn/master in a few years.

    Music, mathematics, language, art. If you can get specialization, prodigy, genius, savant, or proficient levels in all of them, that is often taken as a testament to intelligence.

  11. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar:
    “one of the practical tests for intelligence and talent isn’t the IQ test, it’s seeing how many fields you can learn/master in a few years”

    I wonder how fighter pilot skills compare to portraiture skills.

  12. Esther Says:

    Art is an ancient practice. What did gifted fighter pilots do with themselves until airplanes were invented?

  13. GRA Says:

    This actually makes me feel sorry for GWB. A very much maligned politician.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    I wonder how fighter pilot skills compare to portraiture skills.

    Perhaps the same ratio as Miyamoto Musashi’s dual sword method vs Musashi’s focus on calligraphy.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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