UK & World News

  • 5 April 2014, 0:06

George Bush: My World Leader Portraits Will Wow

Former US President George Bush has said world leaders will be shocked by his artistic skills when they see his portraits of them.

The 67-year-old, who took up painting after leaving the White House five years ago, put his collection on display at the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas.

One of the most striking works is a stern-faced portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which hangs alongside paintings of many other famous faces, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi and the Dalai Lama.

In an interview with NBC's Today show, Mr Bush said: "I think they're going to be (like), 'Wow, George Bush is a painter'.

"I'm sure when they heard I was painting ... they (would have said), 'Wow, I look forward to seeing a stick figure'.

"I hope they take it in the spirit in which these (portraits) were painted in ... the spirit of friendship."

Mr Bush, who once painted himself taking a shower, is reported to have been inspired by one of British wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill's books.

He painted himself and his father George H W Bush for the exhibition, entitled The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy.

But he admits a portrait of his wife, Laura, "needs some work", while his mother, Barbara, has said she will "absolutely not" pose for her son.