When F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “There are no second acts in American lives,” he obviously had not contemplated George W. Bush.
As you may know, W. has taken up painting. What you may not know is how good he has allegedly become, or how quickly.
Just ask his painting teacher, Bonnie Flood. WAGA-TV in Atlanta tracked her down, and she positively gushed about her most famous pupil.
“He has such a passion for painting, it’s amazing,” Flood told the Atlanta Fox affiliate. “He’s going to go down in the history books as a great artist.”
“He started off painting dogs. I think he said he painted 50 dogs,” Flood added. “He pulled out this canvas and started painting dogs and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t paint dogs!”
Flood said she was eventually able to convince the former leader of the free world to try his hand at a landscape painting, says the Washington Post.
Bush has managed to stay mostly out of the news since he left the Oval Office in 2009, though his painting hobby has been in the news before. As CBS News notes, some of Bush’s artwork has seen the light of day including a portrait of Barney, the former First Dog (a Scottish Terrier) who passed away earlier this year.
According to WAGA-TV, Bush heard about Flood because she sometimes runs painting workshops. He arranged for her to spend a month teaching him how to paint in Boca Grande, a small southwest Florida residential community.
Flood and former President Bush (and Bush’s sister in law, Maggie) spent some six hours together each day, Flood explained. She taught him the right way to make brush strokes. She instructed him in the mixing of colors.
The current art teacher said she didn’t feel intimidated by the former president. At the same time, she wasn’t sure how to address him. She finally decided to call him “43,” because he uses that number to sign his artwork.
“When I really wanted him to do something, I would say, ‘Mr. President, you know that you don’t do it that way,'” Flood told the station.