George W. Bush, America’s No. 43, is still No. 1 in art.
“Well, I’m not sure that’s so great,” Bush replied at a celebration Monday night at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
“Amazon didn’t exist when van Gogh painted.”
Modest, friendly, compassionate and funny at 70, Bush is a welcome contrast to another president he avoids naming.
But on KTCK/1310 AM “The Ticket” Monday, he mocked the idea that this president is having a tough time: “Look at Lincoln.”
Bush’s noble combination of his retirement hobby — painting — with his fondness for the service members who served him has turned into “Portraits of Courage,” a book (Crown, 193 pages, $35) and a Bush Center exhibit.
“My goal is to remind people that our military is awesome,” Bush told a sold-out reception crowd that included injured service members who were featured in the book or guests for his Warrior Open golf tournament.
Purple Heart recipient Johnnie Yellock, a retired Air Force staff sergeant and Keller High School graduate, shared the stage with Bush.
Yellock, 33, talked about his 31 leg surgeries after a roadside bomb destroyed his truck in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.
You can only ride a mountain bike so much and shoot mediocre golf so much.
Former President George W. Bush, explaining why he took up art
Bush’s portrait of him “got my blue eyes,” he said proudly, then kidding Bush: “But you got the hairline a little far back.”
He praised Bush: “For you to invest your time and your resources into building us up, and lifting us up … is just incredibly remarkable, so I thank you for that, sir.”
Bush has often told how he took up art after reading an essay by World War II-era British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
‘Portraits of Courage’ continues through Oct. 1 at the Bush Center.
He told KTCK listeners, “You can only ride a mountain bike so much and shoot mediocre golf so much before you get a little anxious.”
“When you’re over 70 and you’re sitting around talking with your pals,” he said, “there are only two topics of conversation — one, what medicines do you take — and two, how are your grandkids.”
Bush came up with a topic No. 3. It’s kept him No. 1.