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  • Writer's pictureMaya

What color do you see?

Updated: Jan 30, 2019


George W. Bush published “Portraits of Courage” as a tribute to the men and women who volunteered the years after 9/11 had occurred. George W. Bush began painting as a pastime, as Churchill once did, and while he saw it as a challenge, he also found it exhilarating. He says in his opening remarks that “I’m driven to learn as much as I possibly can before I’m no longer able to hold a paintbrush.”

He began to paint the warriors in this book after his world leader’s series, when his art teacher had suggested he paint people he knew but others didn’t. At this time, it is when he thought of the wounded warriors he met at the W100K mountain bike rides and Warrior Open golf outings that were hosted by the Bush Institute. George W. Bush studies the stories and photographs of each member painted in this book, and with this, the care and respect that went into each painting is shown.

Description & Discussion:

George W. Bush started painting because John Lewis Gaddis, a professor at Yale and Pulitzer Prize winner had told him that he made his class read “Painting as a Pastime” by Winston Churchill. He felt like he needed more in his life, and being an “art-agnostic” he felt he wanted to give it a try. With this curiosity, the former President was able to create not only a unique painting series, but a book that pays tribute to know the men and women who served this country honorably. He learned different techniques of painting and learned to look at landscapes and objects differently. He saw that there was more than just the color wheel, but there were different shades in everyday life. You just have to look around you.

Decision, Design & Discipline:

For someone to begin painting, you have to look at your object carefully. Is that sky really just blue? Or is it five different shades of blue, going lighter darker as you get towards the center of the sky? Is the grass really just green? Or are there darker patches along the meadow from the shadows of the trees? You have to be curious and look at everything differently.

Look at the picture above. What are the different colors that you see? Are there certain colors that show the emotions of a person? Do you see a sadness or a glimmer of hope in someone’s eyes? Look at the people around you. Do you see colors in their face differently? Do you see their emotion differently? Do you know their story? If you see the color in people, you may find that you care about and respect that person a little bit more.

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