The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy is an exhibit of 30 portraits of world leaders painted by President George W. Bush. The paintings are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, from April 5 to June 3, 2014.
I place a high priority on personal diplomacy. Getting to know a fellow world leader’s personality, character, and concerns made it easier to find common ground and deal with contentious issues. That was a lesson I had picked up from Dad, who was one of the great practitioners of personal diplomacy.” – President George W. Bush
George W. Bush, the man who told Jay Leno that he named his cat Bob, “So I can remember how to spell it when I get older,” has been very busy.
Between rounds of golf, organizing and riding in 100K mountain bike rides with America’s wounded warriors, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas, and personally refurbishing health clinics in Africa, through the Bush Center’s partnership with Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon, whose mission is to screen women, in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, for cervical and breast cancer, the 43rd President of the United States has also become an accomplished portrait painter.
President Bush charged his painting instructor, Gail Norfleet, with a task. “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it.”
While a guest on the The Tonight Show on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, President Bush presented a portrait he had painted of Jay Leno to the late night television host.
President Bush has plans to paint portraits of 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers with whom he worked during his tenure at the White House. He has already provided the artwork for a Christmas ornament, which may be purchased through the Bush Center web site (which, incidentally, works).
As Bush Settles Into Dallas, Golf Tees and Family Time Now Trump Politics [New York Times; Nov 2, 2013]
George Bush Shows Off Painting Hobby, Shares Jay Leno Portrait [US Weekly; Nov 20, 2013]
Barney, the Scottish Terrier that lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, passed away on February 1, 2013. Born on September 30, 2000, Barney died at age 12 after battling lymphoma.
Since retiring and moving back to Texas, President Bush has been painting landscapes and dog portraits. This portrait of Barney is one of the President’s paintings. It is signed “43.”
President Bush issued the following statement:
Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.
Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.
Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent. He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends. He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.
Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.