Critics are surprised by the quality of George W. Bush’s paintings

George W. Bush - Lieutenant Colonel Kent Graham Solheim U.S. Army, 1994 – Present, Oil on stretched canvas, 30″x30″
George W. BushLieutenant Colonel Kent Graham Solheim U.S. Army, 1994 – Present, oil on stretched canvas, 76x76cm

George W. Bush painting the images of service men and women

The former president of United States, George W. Bush is on a new mission – to paint the images of heroic service men and women that served during his tenure at the White House. Since leaving the office, George W. Bush has also written a memoir of his time as president and a book that is dedicated to his father.

George W. Bush - Photo Grant Miller
George W. Bush
Photo: Grant Miller/bushcenter.org

His Book: ‘Portraits of Courage: A Commander In Chief’s Tribute to America’s warriors’

The new book is a significant departure from what people know Bush for. It is a book that contains 192 pages of oil paintings of some sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen of people who got wounded during the wars that he led the USA to fight. In addition to the paintings, he wrote stories of how each of the subjects dealt with setbacks that met him or her on the battlefield and how each mounted a recovery. The book is titled: Portraits of Courage: A Commander In Chief’s Tribute to America’s warriors. The former president gets straightforward on strategies and ways to face challenges.

Reception of the book

His book, which was released at the end of February 2017, is one of the leading books in the non-fictional list of bestsellers. The Publishers Weekly placed it just behind ‘Dr. Seuss – Classic Green Eggs and Ham’. The book follows the same structure as President F. Kennedy’s 1955 book that was titled ‘Profiles of Courage.’ His book featured short biographies of leading senators in his tenure. Along with the book, Bush will be exhibiting the original works that he painted at George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is located in Dallas.

George W. Bush knows everyone whose image he painted

In his interview with NBC, the former president said that he knows everyone whose image he painted. He said that he was thinking of their backgrounds, injuries, service, and recovery. This seems to be a bold statement given the amount of criticism that he has received for leading the country to two costly wars during his tenure.

The reaction of critics

Critics are surprised by the relatively good quality of the Bush paintings where the people he talks about have their faces clearly defined. Moreover, there is a feeling of warmth and innocence from the images. Bush says that this is a great way to honor the servicemen for their ultimate sacrifice in serving their country. The book lets the world know what they went through and inspires others in problems.

Paintings

George W. Bush - Justin Constintine
George W. BushJustin Constintine

George W. Bush - Lance Corporal Timothy John Lang U.S. Marine Corps, 2005-2010, Oil on stretched canvas, 24″x36″
George W. BushLance Corporal Timothy John Lang U.S. Marine Corps, 2005-2010, oil on stretched canvas, 61x91cm

George W. Bush - Master Sergeant Roque Urena
George W. BushMaster Sergeant Roque Urena
Master Sergeant Roque Urena served in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 2008, treating more than 3,500 injuries as a shift leader in the emergency room during his 2004 deployment in Iraq. Here, he’s shown with his wife, Marlene.

George W. Bush - Sergeant Daniel Casara U.S. Army, 1994 – 2008, Oil on gesso board, 14″x18″
George W. BushSergeant Daniel Casara U.S. Army, 1994 – 2008, oil on gesso board, 36x46cm

George W. Bush - Sergeant First Class Michael R. Rodriguez U.S. Army, 1992 – 2013, Oil on stretched canvas, 24″x36″
George W. BushSergeant First Class Michael R. Rodriguez U.S. Army, 1992 – 2013, oil on stretched canvas, 61x91cm

George W. Bush - Sergeant First Class Ramon Padilla U.S. Army, 2000-2009, Oil on gesso board, 14″x16″
George W. BushSergeant First Class Ramon Padilla U.S. Army, 2000-2009, oil on gesso board, 36x46cm

George W. Bush - Sergeant Leslie Zimmerman
George W. BushSergeant Leslie Zimmerman
Sergeant Leslie Zimmerman, a medic, joined the U.S. Army at age 18 and served from 2001 to 2004, with a deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

George W. Bush - Sergeant Michael Joseph Leonard Politowicz
George W. BushSergeant Michael Joseph Leonard Politowicz
Sergeant Michael Politowicz serves in the U.S. Marine Corps today, just as his grandfather did during World War II. Politowicz became a Marine in 2010, after 10 years of training to qualify, and chose to return to active duty instead of medically retiring after he was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan.

All images by George W. Bush/bushcenter.org unless otherwise noted.

Video: George W. Bush & Veteran Richard Casper On Finding Healing In Art

26min 17sec

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