George W. Bush offered some solid advice to aspiring artists during an interview with CNN over the weekend: “Never paint your wife or mother.” The former U.S. president-cum-painter, whose paintings include self-portraits, family members and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other world leaders, appeared on the program to discuss his new book about his father titled “41: A Portrait of My Father.” The book cover includes a portrait of George H.W. Bush painted by his son.
“I think it’s nice,” George W. Bush said of the portrait. His wife, however, wasn’t too pleased with her depiction, according to the Associated Press. “I may have saved [Laura’s portrait], although they probably think I destroyed it,” he mused.
George W. Bush’s secret talent and post-White House hobby was first revealed to the world in February 2013 after an Internet hacker had broken into the email account of his sister, Dorothy Bush Koch. Pictures of Bush’s paintings were leaked online and included self-portraits of the former president in the bathtub and in the shower. Several other paintings by the 43rd U.S. president subsequently made their way to the Web, including those of dogs, a horse, a watermelon, cats and a golf course, according to People.
Bush said he was inspired to pick up oil painting after reading an essay by former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill on art. In April, Bush’s paintings made their public debut in an exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas. The exhibition, titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” included 30 of the former president’s paintings.
In response to questions about his bathroom self-portraits, which were widely mocked on social media, Bush said not to take them seriously -- he had apparently done them to shock his art teacher, according to the New York Times.