FORMER President George W. Bush’s book of paintings comes out today. I’m third in line for it at the library.
I was so inspired to read about this book because nobody thinks of him as a painter and now look what he’s done, painted enough for a book.
I have a tortured history with art. And by the word “art,” I’m referring to drawing and painting, not the wider world of creativity. All the art genes from the family gene pool went to my 4 siblings.
My tortured history with art is a lot like my tortured history with dogs, which lasted a long time, until, at 42, I got my first dog – a Maltese puppy, a whopping 3 pounds. I was terrified of it, but it must have been a good step. I’m on my 5th dog now and somewhere along the line, I lost my fear.
My relationship with art is a lot like that.
At some point in my 40s – my 40s must have been my fearless decade – I started carrying a small sketch pad around with me. I’d pull it out every so often when nobody else was around and try to capture some small thing. I guess I was building on my progress with the dog thing. Eventually, I bought some colored pencils, then a set of watercolor paints. I’m no Degas, but I’m doing fewer stick figures now.
Do you have any idea how useful the ability to quickly sketch something is when teaching English as a second language? I had no idea in my 40s I’d be doing this work today.
All to say, go for it. I’m all for defying critics by going ahead and doing a thing, especially if the critics reside in your own head. That’ll show ’em! It’s a very grown-up way of thumbing one’s nose.
Profiles of Courage features 60 paintings of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11. Proceeds go to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit organization whose Military Service Initiative works to ensure that post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.