By DARLA MCCAMMON
Lakeland Arts Association
In February 2013 a hacker created a small sensation when former President George W. Bush was notified that his sister Dorothy’s email account was compromised. No, it was not a national security issue, but rather, the world was to learn that the former President of the United States at over 60 years of age had taken up painting and had sent two modest works through email for his sister’s critique.
Little by little, now that the avocation has been revealed, attention has been given to the art of G.W. Bush. Soon works by the former President were leaked out and discovered. In the beginning, as he took up the paint brush, the work was somewhat primitive—even amateurish, but it has developed and improved considerably. Think what you will of his Presidency, it is impossible not to appreciate his giftedness in and love for art. How many of us even knew the guy could paint? It seems there was a sensitive side to him that remains mostly hidden to this day.
He found an instructor and began by painting dogs—at least fifty of them were his training ground. He writes a witty account of how he first took up painting, on leaving the White House. “For the first time in my sixty-six years, I picked up a paintbrush that wasn’t meant for drywall,” he wrote. “I selected a tube of white paint and another labeled Burnt Umber. While I wasn’t aware at the time that it was a color, I liked the name, which reminded me of Mother’s cooking.” Some of his early dogs were not yet professional quality but take a look at his portrait of Barney. Barney was a Scottish Terrier—his White House dog and has become a beloved painting. It is now listed as a favorite for many who have had an opportunity to view his work.
Bill Arning is an expert art critic and after viewing a recent display of thirty oil paintings on board or Masonite of famous world leaders done by ex-President G.W. Bush, he had this to say: “They are Chaim Soutine-like portraits, thickly painted in what I would call “High-amateur” mode.” He goes on to say that beyond reminding him of Soutine they also were paintings that if he saw them in some Chelsea gallery he would be prompted to say, “Oh this is an interesting take on portraiture…Nothing wrong with that at all.”
Scottish Terriers, like Picasso’s dog, Lump the Dachshund, were bred to hunt foxes and badgers. Badgers are known to be fierce fighters and for these two small dogs to have a chance they had to be agile, quick, and smart. This dog is small and one of the most popular dog breeds requested. They are confident, independent and spirited dogs. With their short but sturdy legs and thick, but low shedding coat and thick body, a lot of power is present in this package. Scotties weight between 18 to 22 pounds and stand about ten inches at the shoulder with a life span of about 13 years.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery. A smattering of work by Darla McCammon is now on display. Award-winning artist continues to develop in new directions. Can you tell what is most recent?. Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Her web site: www.darlamc.com. Email contact: [email protected] or (574) 527-4044.