Back in 2013, some very sensitive information relating to a former president of the United States was leaked by hackers. They had gotten hold of emails sent to Dorothy Bush, George W. Bush's younger sister and George H.W. Bush's daughter.
The hackers released 2 very unusual photos from the emails which quickly went viral: they were a pair of paintings by the younger Bush. One showed him soaking in the bath tub, while the other showed him taking a shower.
Of course people didn't know what to make of these paintings, but president Bush set the record straight soon after. Since leaving the White House, painting had become a hobby of his, and these silly self portraits were just some practice for him.
Bush says that he took up painting to pass the time after his retirement. He started from scratch, with absolutely no artistic experience, and jokes that he had to learn that Burnt Umber was the name of a color and not a brand of paint.
Over the years he's done portraits of his pets, his family, world leaders and even Jay Leno. But a few more recently Bush started a much more meaningful project with his art.
Bush has painted more than 100 portraits of service members who fought in the military since 9/11, and he's using his art to help them recover here at home.
Click the next page to learn more about the project!
Bush says that he started making art based on photos of veterans who had served while he was in office and soon became "consumed" with painting their portraits.
Since leaving the White House he's completed more than 100 of these portraits, 66 of which were featured in a book published earlier this year called Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to American Warriors.
Many of the soldiers painted by Bush have struggled with physical injuries or psychological disabilities suffered during their careers. Highlighting the pain they felt was important for the former president.
“My message is that it’s courageous to talk about your injuries—those you can see and those you can’t see," he said. Bush has also put his money where his mouth is, using the book to raise funds for his Presidential Center, which helps veterans find jobs and healthcare.
“These are men and women who I’ve gotten to know and really like," Bush says about his subjects. "We just share a bond that is hard for people to understand,”
Hopefully we'll see more work from President Bush in the future. He's already improved so much in just a few years!
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