George W. Bush’s painting teacher on his artistic potential

“He has such a passion for painting. It’s amazing. He’s going to go down in the history books as a great artist.”

– Bonnie Flood, a Cumming, Ga., art instructor who spent a month teaching George W. Bush how to paint. Flood told Atlanta’s Fox 5 that she worked for six hours a day with the former president and one of his sisters-in-law, and that while his original focus was canine art (“I think he said he’s painted 50 dogs”), she convinced him to give landscape painting a try. “He picked it up so quick. It just was amazing, really. His whole heart is in it.” He signs his paintings “43.”

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Bush’s new hobby came to light last month after the death of longtime family dog Barney, when the Bush family released a painting the former president made of the terrier; more of his work came out after a hacker circulated images he’d found in Bush family email accounts. Our critic colleague Philip Kennicott assessed the work and found “the president grappling with strong perspectival challenges” and doing not a bad job at all, really.

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Amy Argetsinger is a staff writer for the Style section.
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Amy Argetsinger · March 8, 2013