Former President George W. Bush said he decided to exhibit his portraits of world leaders to spruce up his presidential library — not to show off, he said Friday.
“I was a little reluctant to put them out, because I’m not a great artist. I don’t want people to think I’m a great artist,” he told his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, a correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show.” “On the other hand, I did want to refresh the Bush Center. I want people to come and visit us. We view ourselves as a place where people can learn.”
He said he was inspired, in part, by Winston Churchill, “who wrote a great essay called ‘Painting Is a Pastime,’” Mr. Bush said.
“You know, I wanted to make sure that the last chapters of my life were full,” he said. “And painting, it turns out, would help occupy not only space, but kind of open my mind.”
His new exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas includes portraits of, among others, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his father, former President George H.W. Bush.