George W. Bush says painting has changed his life

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 3:14am


Former US president George W. Bush says his new painting hobby has changed his life.

Bush, 66, said that he wanted to keep learning even in retirement, to follow the example of his father, ex-president George H.W. Bush.

"You know what the interesting lesson is, though, that you can keep learning in life," Bush told ABC News in an interview to mark the opening of his presidential library yesterday.

"I don't want to rest. I want to follow the example of president 41 and, you know, sprint into the grave."

Bush senior, 88, has had an active retirement, despite recent illnesses and increasing frailty, and even marked his 85th birthday with a parachute jump.

His son said that he took up painting after learning how the hobby had absorbed wartime former British prime minister Winston Churchill.

"I look at colours differently and I see shadow," said Bush, while making clear he knew the limitations of his work.

I look at colours differently and I see shadow ... The signature is more valuable than the painting

"The signature is more valuable than the painting," he said.

The former president said he paints daily and has help from a "patient" instructor. His work consists largely of paintings of dogs, as well as some still-lifes and landscapes.

"I love to paint," he said. "Painting has changed my life in an unbelievably positive way."

Bush's hobby was first revealed in February, when a hacker accessed Bush family emails and leaked images of the paintings online.

Among the paintings Bush apparently emailed to his sister Dorothy Bush Koch was a painting of his bare feet in a bathtub and a semi-nude portrait that seemed to show Bush himself taking a shower.