If you weren’t aware, our past president George W. Bush took up painting as a hobby after he left the presidency… and people sure did love to make fun of his dog paintings…
Well that was then and this is now… And now George’s book of portraiture, Portraits of Courage, is being released. The book features 66 of George Bush’s portraits of veterans injured after 9/11 and their stories as told by George.
I’d just like to say that you do not need to agree with every single thing that George W. Bush did while President to find value in this book. The fact of the matter is that the past is in the past… and George Bush has made the decision to move forward and try his best to do good.
I would hope that you can see and understand that…
Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors
While I personally found the introduction from Laura a little strange…
“Painting, even as a pastime, is serious business. Like any skill, it takes practice and discipline, which makes it well-suited for George”
I mean… well… yeah that is true?
The second you start getting into George’s paintings and the stories things begin to pick up… or go down… I don’t know. It’s a bit of a roller coaster of emotions.
I can say right off that not all of the stories and paintings are going to resonate with you… art is a personal thing and while these are real people and real stories your personal sense of aesthetics still applies. For example, I found myself gravitating towards the portraits with strong / thick colors… the symbolism of strong colors in his paintings (intentional or not) really tickles the brain.
You will be touched though… your big ol’ heart might not be able to contain itself… so be prepared for that.
Ultimately I don’t want to retell any of the stories that you’ll find in the book… so I’ll just end this by saying that Portraits of Courage is definitely worthy of your attention.
Like I mentioned earlier, you do not have to like or agree with George Bush to find value here. This is not about George, it’s about George and others trying to help people.
You can order Portraits of Courage here: https://www.amazon.com/Portraits-Courage-Commander-Americas-Warriors/dp/0804189765/
The Inevitable Reviews
You and I both know that when people get a hold of his book tomorrow they’re going to be rude as hell about George’s painting…
Thank god he chose to do impasto in the sort of raw emotional / colorful style that he did. If he had done portraiture in the standard semi realism with itty bitty thin layers of color people would spend all day insulting his technique. No need to add wood to the fire in other words…
But ultimately, I guess that’s one of the downsides of being President.
People forget that you’re just another human being.
For the Photographers…
The photographers who took the reference photographs for George Bush are Laura Crawford, Eric Draper, Grant Miller, Paul Morse, and Layne Murdoch.
Digitization of George Bush’s paintings was done by Grant Miller Photography.
George Bush’s Art Supplies
Our former President uses Winsor & Newton Winton oil colors… I think that’s interesting. If you aren’t familiar, Winton is for students and high volume paint users… like impasto painters which is what George is doing in his paintings.
But you’ve got to wonder whether or not he’s also experienced the artists’ conundrum. You know that feeling… the “I want to do impasto, but I don’t want to use up a $45 tube of paint in like 5 minutes, so I’ll use student paints I guess”.
I mean… it’s odd to think about. While George Bush isn’t exactly the wealthiest of men by modern standards he certainly is wealthy enough to be slathering Old Holland oil paints on there if he’d like…
Also who bought the paints??? Did Laura Bush walk into a Dick Blick somewhere unnoticed and just go shopping? Is Dick Blick sending off packages to the president? Does Dick Blick have a special secret service packer at their warehouse or something?
My brain has been tickled… I want answers…
The President’s Art supplies
- Charvin Oil Paints
- Rembrant Ultramarine Deep 40 ml
- Winton Permanent Alizarin Crimson
- Winton Phthalo Blue
- Winton Cadmium Yellow Hue
In the photograph you can also see that he uses Winsor & Newton Artists’ Oil Brushes. They’re fairly nice inexpensive brushes if you’re wondering…
Charvin is a wonderful brand of oil paint if you’ve never encountered it. It’s quite expensive (French, so you saw that coming), comes in two qualities (fine and extra fine), and is ground in poppy oil to prevent yellowing. And when Charvin says their paints feel buttery, they aren’t exaggerating. They are the most consistently “buttery” paint I’ve ever used.