In the years since he left the oval office, former President George W. Bush has showcased his softer side. Far away from the political rhetoric of Washington, he’s slipped into an easy existence here in Preston Hollow based around golf, bicycling, painting and grand-babies.
“After many adventures, we are happy to be back in Texas,” former First Lady Laura Bush said during a June speech at Edgemere senior living. “George has really gotten good at painting portraits.”
His portraits of famous family members of dignitaries have been exhibited at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Bush’s newly discovered passion inspired his next venture, a book that will support wounded veterans and showcase the former leader of the free world’s artistry.
Bush has traveled the country, visiting with wounded and disabled soldiers, hearing their stories and painting their portraits for a project he plans to turn into a book. Each flip of the page will reveal a different face and short story, which will be released in coming months, Laura Bush said in her speech, adding that proceeds will benefit veterans.
After sending troops into Iraq, Bush has spent much of his post-presidency charitable hours on veterans. But he has not always been painted in a positive light for his efforts. Last year, the veterans’ nonprofit Helping a Hero confirmed that it paid $170,000 to George and Laura Bush to speak at a fundraiser, which included $100,000 for the president’s speaking fee, $50,000 for the First Lady’s fee and $20,000 for a private plane to transport the pair.
“For him to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don’t think that’s right,” former Marine Eddie Wright told ABC at the time.