Let’s Be Perfectly Honest…George W. Bush Is Just Not A Very Good Painter

Starting on April 5th and ending in early June, the George W. Bush Presidential Center is running an exhibit titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy.” The main focal point of the exhibit is on the former President’s oil paintings of world leaders that he had encounters with during his time in office. After leaving office, Bush took up oil painting and has spent much of his spare time working on his craft.

Let’s take a look at some of his paintings that will be on display for the next eight weeks. These pictures are all courtesy of the Bush Center’s Flickr page.

Here is a portrait of Afghanistan’s leader, Hamid Karzai:


george w bush karzai



Below, we see a wall full of portraits of leaders of a number of different countries:


george w bush wall



Take a look at President Bush’s rendition of Vladimir Putin:


george w bush putin



Bush paid tribute to his friend, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with this painting:


george w bush blair


Finally, this exhibit wouldn’t be complete without a self-portrait. To make it even more complete, Bush paired it with a portrait of his father, former President George H. W. Bush. Here you go:


george w bush father


You know, looking at these paintings, I was struck by how similar in style they looked to another painter’s work. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I racked my brain until it finally occurred to me where I had seen paintings like Bush’s before.


boogie nights dirk diggler



If you don’t know who Jessie St. Vincent is, that is completely understandable. She is a fictional character from the movie Boogie Nights.  In the film, Jessie St. Vincent is a porn star who loves oil painting. While she is extremely passionate and one day wants to be known solely for her painting, she obviously lacks any true artistic talent. This appears to be the case with George W. Bush. He has been quite prolific with his painting, as he has painted dozens of pieces, if not more. However, being passionate and dedicated doesn’t necessarily make him good.



41 Replies to “Let’s Be Perfectly Honest…George W. Bush Is Just Not A Very Good Painter”

  1. I have virtually no respect for the former president, but I thought the paintings were quite good. He captures the essence of several leaders, at least from my point of view.

  2. I taught art 20 years ago, I’ve seen better talent in many of my students. But just like in literature, it’s often not how much talent you have but if you’re a name or not.

    George Bush is an ex president. This means that people will be fighting over his bad art 200 years from now.

    Still I try very hard not to hate the man. I think he was an earnest man, but a supreme boob who If he hadn’t been born into the family he was born into would have been a mid level Texas politician. He was easily led by malevolent personalities. Cheney ran him.
    His father ran him. He never had the chance to be truly independent. He was always his father’s son and was used to complete the job the old man couldn’t complete.

    Who knows how much all the partying he did affected his reason centres?

  3. Wow, he and Hitler have something else in common!!! And that piece by Jessie is the PERFECT equivalent!

  4. I don’t like anything Bush ever did, but I do find some charm in his paintings. There’s a certain boldness and primitive energy there.

  5. So if intelligent, thoughtful presidents do great work for the world after they leave office like Carter, Clinton, and even some from poppy Bush then what does that say about painter boy? I see this guy on the news and I’m like “this guy was president?” Jeeezzus.

  6. I agree but at least he’s given it a shot, hell even his own mother didn’t think that the painting of his father was recognizable but bless her heart she skirted the un-easy feeling diplomatically. And yes he is a better artist than he was a POTUS but we all know that it was Dick Cheney that was the real POTUS and that GW was the face of the office.

  7. George Bush understands that. He said this in an interview on the Today Show. Transcripts are probably available there, but the quote was also posted at NPR in their article. He said: “I was a little reluctant to put them out [publicly], because I’m not a great artist. I don’t want people to think I’m a great artist. 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.”

  8. Putin has no nose, and George HW looks positively awful. Too bad George is still the self-centered spoiled brat. He never cared about people while in office, and he still doesn’t. Thank goodness for Democratic ex-Presidents, who are elected to serve, and take that call very seriously.

  9. He was a terrible president, he is a terrible painter. Only thing he was good at was being the puppet of Cheney& company.

    Could he just ride off into the sunset already? I know, I know – in my dreams, huh? He’s not done rewriting that certain period of history in his favor, yet.

  10. Definitely shouldn’t make a career of that but I have to admit that I recognized the people he painted. LOL!!!

  11. Boy Bush sucks as a painter, almost as bad as his presidency. He gets famous because he was “president” but I struggle, THAT’S FAIR! GEORGE BUSH SHOULD BE IN JAIL!

  12. George Bush ran us into debt and now the IDIOTS want to blame Obama. If they look he has reduced the national debt. Bush is a drug addled drunken scum bag and if anyone checks it out they would wonder what they were thinking if they voted for him. Seems to be a matter of the Christian Right being the Christian WRONG! I actually stood in line to vote with 2 women who were carrying the list of people that their minister told them to vote for.

  13. You said it correctly! I don’t know if he rally is that crooked or just extremely stupid but either way he screwed this country in a very bad way.

  14. He paints a lot better than I do, so I’m not going to complain. It’s a tacky distraction to whine about his painting. His painting’s aren’t bad. His administration was an unmitigated disaster. I think that’s what you ought to complain about.

  15. I agree. While I wasn’t a fan of his presidency at all, I think as an amateur he shows some talent in his paintings. At least he’s brave enough to pick up the paint brush and try. For those that want to criticize his paintings, let’s see you pick up a paintbrush and see what can come up with.

  16. His work reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh.
    Van Gogh only had one ear, ‘W’ had two but didn’t use either one.

  17. GW’s most famous works to date:
    – Dogs planning invasions of the neighbor’s garden
    – Dogs searching for WMDs in the back yard
    – Dogs water-boarding cats

  18. I agree with you!

    I am not a big defender of former President Bush either … but, the paintings are just fine. I would be happy with myself if I could paint that well.

    It is kind of mean (ok, just ‘mean’) to attack a man for being creative and putting his work out for others to see. He didn’t claim to think he was a great painter at all. I think it was brave of him.

  19. I remember an art critic saying on the Colbert Report “this is Kraaaaahhhhfft. Not aahhhrt.”

    That’s how I feel about Bush’s paintings. They are good from a craft perspective but they’re not art. They don’t express anything.

  20. The only comment I will make is that “Thank goodness this person is painting, rather than “leading” the country into another disaster” I wonder how the families of fallen servicepeople and civilians feel about little Georgie’s art?

  21. Looking at the work entirely objectively and as an art instructor of 25 years- Considering how long he’s been painting, his work is passable, with the caveat that there is one unknown. Did he have outside instruction? If so, the work is poor. If not, one can see progress in his work. That doesn’t make it “good” or “bad”. It just means he is using the medium to create more effective likenesses.

    If he is still painting in 5 years, then you can begin to judge whether he has “talent” or not.

  22. Something to take his mind off all the kids he was responsible for murdering is now called art. BS

  23. Were these works an attempt to copy pictures exchanged at official meetings?

    They appear to be inept attempts at reproductions.

  24. You need to check out your point of view. The paintings are AWFUL. I’ve seen paint by numbers done better. Or maybe these are …

  25. I disagree. These paintings are perfectly wonderful. W is an incurious buffoon. These are exactly, and I mean EXACTLY what paintings done by him should look like.

    If he painted works with exceptional beauty or emotion or meaning, I think the planet might explode.

  26. “I don’t want people to think I’m a great artist.”

    No danger of that!

    “We view ourselves as a place where people can learn.”

    Learn what?!

    Thank you for that quote ZorekRichards.

  27. Quite frankly, as an Artist myself, I found the author’s opinions useless. He is obviously NOT an Artist. The paintings were not any I would put in the Louvre, but they actually demonstrated some level of artistic skill, and captured the essence of many of the people he depicted.

    As is often the case, people want to conflate their opinions of people into disdain for everything they do. George W. Bush was a horrible president, without doubt. He really was more a shadow to Dick Cheney than a functional president. However, this has nothing to do with any artistic skills he may or may not have. The paintings were quite intriguing, and I resent that the author took such liberties in critiquing them as to compare them to the work of another Artist. Honestly, that is something immature children do, and was demonstrative of a lack of understanding of the nature and purpose of Art. Peace.

  28. I’m sorry I can’t stomach Bush or Cheney and I have a son who is a graphic designer and he can draw and paint much better than Bush.They are both war criminals as far as I’m concerned.

  29. He said he would never paint his wife, I wish he had that respect to his dad, or anyone he so called “Painted”. I just hope they give out free pencils as you go in to see this, so you get a chance to poke your eyes out. idiot savant, not sure about the savant bit.

    “Now watch this drive”

  30. Check out the NYT review of the paintings. I love how his art talent is “unsettling” to the reviewer. The paintings are very good for someone with a few years of training.

  31. I am just happy he found something to get him away from Cheney and Rumsfeld. May the screams of the dead that I hope are in his mind constantly be seen in his painting

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