Bush Puts Art for Sale on Christmas Ornament

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 12:59 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Former President George W. Bush is putting his artwork up for sale on a Christmas ornament.

He took up painting as a hobby after leaving the White House, and now he's selling a limited edition ornament that features a reproduction of his painting of a cardinal, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The historic Christmas gift is available for $29.98 at the George W. Bush Presidential Center shop on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, which ordered a large number of the items in expectation that they would fly off the shelves.

Bush painted the original picture of the cardinal for his friend Warren Tichenor, a Texas media executive who was an ambassador in his administration.

The ex-president revealed that his wife Laura loved the red and green colors on his work so much that she picked the "Untitled" piece for their Christmas cards and as an official holiday ornament for the center named in his honor.

Bush says he first became interested in picking up a paintbrush after reading Painting as a Pastime by another former world leader and amateur artist, Winston Churchill. He now puts paint to canvas nearly every day and has weekly art lessons from SMU graduate and Dallas artist Gail Norfleet.

Since word slipped out that he was a keen artist, many people, especially Republicans, have been looking to buy a piece of art by the 43rd president of the United States. But this is the first time they will have an opportunity.

Bush appeared on The Tonight Show this week and told the show's host Jay Leno about his new love of art and even showed him his portraits of his dog Barney and his cat Bob.

Story continues below video.

"I can't even see where you painted over the number," Leno said about the Barney portrait, making a joke reference to people who paint by numbers.

Bush also informed Leno what he told Norfleet when he asked her if she'd give him art lessons. "There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body," he told her. "Your job is to find it."

The former president also surprised Leno with a portrait that he had done of the comedian himself with, by a strange coincidence, the host wearing a very similar shirt and tie in the painting to the one he was wearing that night.

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