George W. Bush to feature paintings in gallery showing

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:06am

Former President-turned-painter George W. Bush will host an art exhibit starting this April, showing off more than two dozen portraits that have never been made public.

The exhibit, "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy," will feature his paintings, as well as artifacts, photographs, and personal reflections about his relationships made on the world stage, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, which is hosting the exhibit.

After leaving office in 2009, the 43rd President took up painting as a hobby and hired an instructor, telling his teacher: "There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it."

In November, he unveiled one of his portraits--a large painting of comedian Jay Leno--during an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

"I do take painting seriously, it's changed my life," he said.

Bush likes to paint landscapes, dogs, and the classic fruit-in-a-bowl, as revealed when the Bush family's email accounts were hacked last year.

At Bush's presidential library opening last April, former President Bill Clinton teased his successor about paintings found in the emails that appear to have been created in the bathroom.

"Those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age, I think I should keep my suit," Clinton joked.

Bush told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the hobby helps him relax and see colors in a new light.

"I am, I guess, tapping a part of the brain that, you know, certainly never used when I was a teenager. And I get the satisfaction out of completing a project," he said, adding that he loves to paint people's pets and give the paintings as gifts.

"And I readily concede the signature is more valuable than the painting," he joked.


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