Monday, April 7, 2014

"Artist" George W. Bush - Amateur? or Contemporary Genius! - His art can be viewed on many levels! + His favorite food: Cheeseburger Pizza

The art exhibition and display of gifts and photos 
at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Former President 
George W. Bush, 


Painted Portraits by former President George W. Bush.
Former President George W. Bush has taken up painting, inspired to some degree, by the writings and artworks of Winston Churchill. A major exhibition of his work opened on April 5, 2014 at the one-year-old George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, on the SMU campus. There his Library and Museum provide access to presidential materials, the archives and the artifacts of the George W. Bush Administration (including 80 terabytes of digital information, more than 200 million e-mails and more than 43,000 artifacts).

(Above) The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
is the 13th such resource in the nation operated by 
the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency. 
The George W. Bush Presidential Center is comprised of his library, institute and foundation. It occupies a 226,565-square-foot-building on the SMU campus, surrounded by Texas prairie landscaping.  

The George W. Bush Institute (pictured) is an independent public policy organization,
reporting to the Bush Foundation.  

The museum's art exhibiton is titled "The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy". It features more than two dozen never-before-exhibited portraits of world leaders whom George W. Bush met on the world stage, during his tenure as the 43rd President of the United States, plus a self-portrait and a portrait of his father.

 A painted portrait of the artist's father, 
the 41st President of the United States, 
George H. W. Bush

Helping to make this exhibition more interesting to visitors who are not interested in art, each painting is surrounded by photographs of President Bush's encounters with that leader and below the artwork are "objets d'art" (personal gifts and other memorabilia) associated with that specific leader or country.

Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Hamid Karzai, The Dalai Lama and Jiang Zemin are some of the paintings of presidents, prime ministers and other world leaders currently on the walls of the G.W.B. Presidential Center. 

Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Tony Blair of Britain.

George W.Bush started painting only two years ago, after reading "Panting as a Pastime", an essay by WWII English Prime Minister and painter Winston Churchill. 

Winston Churchill's studio and paintings.
At first George W. Bush experimented with his iPad sketch application, then he got serious and turned to private instructors, artists Bonny Flood and Gail Norfleet, to teach him the craft of painting.

The first of his artworks seen by the public were somehow gathered through social media and leaked onto the internet. They included a portrait of his Scottish terrier Barney and his self-portraits (one in a bath tub and the other in the shower).

Bush's Scottish terrier "Barney."

George W. Bush, self-portrait in a bath.

George W. Bush, self-portrait in a shower.

A painted portrait was presented to Jay Leno, the talk show host, by former President Bush on national television before Leno's job with "Tonight" show ended.

Jay Leno's Portrait by G.W.B.

Bush and Leno looking at the former President's art gift.

Other U.S. Presidents who took up painting include Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter. As former President Bush puts it, he is trying to bring out his inner Rembrandt. 

Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

If Rembrandt's style is his goal, his current primitive and amateurish works need practice. On the other hand, if a Chelsea gallerist or museum curator were to view his painting as an unknown emerging contemporary artist, his work would catch their eye and compete very well when compared to current art stars like Elizabeth Peyton and Billy Sullivan. To President G.W. Bush's credit, there is also a consistency of technique throughout this entire exhibition, which is admirable for an artist.

A painting by current art star Elizabeth Peyton.

The detail of a painting by the 
contemporary artist Billy Sullivan.

Former President George W. Bush is receiving tremendous press coverage over his new career and has received a 99.9% positive rating for what he is creating. Everyone seems to be wishing him well on this new frontier - The Art World!

Self-portrait by former President George W. Bush.

The ticketed exhibition is open to the public at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, SMU campus, Dallas, Texas, during normal business hours until June 3rd, 2014. For more photos of the exhibition go to:

Collectibles for sale at the Presidential Center gift shop:
Dog Painting buttons.

The Art of Leadership
Special Exhibit
Gallery Booklet, $20
A full-color, 36-page gallery booklet catalogues the exhibit and features 30 portraits of world leaders painted by President George W. Bush, including a self-portrait and painting of his father.

Exhibition post card. $1.98

(Source, The George W. Bush Presidential Center + Google, Wikipedia + information gleaned from various news organizations covering this subject.)

Cheeseburger Pizza

In July of 2007, then White House chef Cristeta Comerford revealed that, for dinner, President George W. Bush most enjoyed what they called his "cheeseburger pizzas." Just as it sounds, every ingredient of a cheeseburger is included in or piled on top of a Margarita pizza.


Cornmeal, for the baking sheet
Flour, for shaping 1 pound(s) pizza dough, thawed, if frozen
5 Tbs marinara, tomato sauce 4 oz. mozzarella cheese
8 ounce(s) lean ground beef
1.5 ounce(s) extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1/4 cup)
3 fresh basil leaves, rolled and cut into strips
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each of Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 14- to 16-inch oval, circle, or rectangle and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the marinara sauce.
  3. Spoon the beef mixture over the dough and sprinkle with basil and the Mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses. Bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomato, red onion, oil, a 1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Arrange this salad over the hot pizza and serve immediately.
 (Source: original recipe modified from:

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, is an online publication dedicated to "The Pursuit of Happiness through the Arts and Food." ™ All rights reserved for all content. Concept, Original Art, Original Text & "Original or Assigned Photography" are © Copyright 2014 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All photographs were taken and/or used with permission. Artworks © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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