George Bush the Oil Painter:
More Fun Than Being President

 By Jim Berlin 

George Bush The Younger revealed his newfound passion for oil painting when he presented Jay Leno with a portrait of the comic in November, and next up is an exhibition of his latest works at the presidential library.

Bush started with dogs and cats and has progressed to more sophisticated subjects, but some art critics have predictably called his efforts simplistic and awkward. (Art critics are people who cry “Masterpiece!” over a canvas with nothing more than a single line down the middle. You can take their opinions with a grain of elephant.)

The former president is handling retirement in the manner we all dream about but rarely realize. He left D.C., pulled his Texas ranch over his head and walked into the solitude of an art studio. He is having fun.

Contrast that quiet path with the frantic super-highway driven by Bill Clinton, a man who needs the spotlight like California needs rain. Bill dives into the news daily, weighing in on the world, giving his Secret Service agents fits and fattening the wallets of paparazzi everywhere.

Whether Bush is a good painter or not is purely subjective and of little consequence,

but as a painter myself I can attest to his talent. I have only produced one work over my lifetime, “Boy on a Hay Wagon,” but a neighbor who has COPD said it took his breath away. Others said it took their stomach contents away, but that’s art for you.

Painting is the perfect pursuit for a president or a pauper in retirement. It’s relaxing, inherently colorful, satisfyingly messy – and the quality of the product is right where it belongs: in the eye of the beholder.

Bill Clinton — and maybe even Hillary — should check it out.