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The Weekly Winston: Painting as a Pastime Edition

Bush in the Bath?

We know that George W. Bush is a Churchill fan who, unlike the current occupant of the White House, both welcomed and was honored by the British offer to have the Churchill bust in the Oval Office.  We now know from the hacks of Bush’s email that he emulates Churchill in other respect—as a painter.  The Free Beacon has the details, but if you think the painting nearby of someone (I assume GWB himself) in a bathtub is odd, recall that Churchill luxuriated in the bathtub and frequently dictated speeches from his suds.  I expect that the still glowing embers of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) will draw out churlish commentary from the Left any moment now.

Hence it is fitting and proper to recall a few of Churchill’s words from “Painting as a Pastime” (found in the essay collection Thoughts and Adventures):

To have reached the age of forty without ever handling a brush or fiddling with a pencil, to have regarded with mature eye the painting of pictures of any kind as a mystery, to have stood agape before the chalk of the pavement artist, and suddenly to find oneself plunged in the middle of a new and intense form of interest and action with paints and palettes and canvases, and not to be discouraged by results, is an astonishing and enriching experience.  I hope it may be shared by others.  I should be glad if these lines induced others to try the experiment which I have tried, and if some at least were to find themselves dowered with an absorbing new amusement delightful to themselves, and at any rate not violently harmful to man or beast. . .

Churchill later described charging in on his first canvas:

So very gingerly I mixed a little blue paint in the palette with a very small brush, and then with infinite precaution made a mark about as big as a bean upon the affronted snow-white shield.  It was a challenge, a deliberate challenge; but so subdued, so halting, indeed so cataleptic, that it deserved no response.  From this chariot there stepped swiftly and lightly none other than the gifted wife of Sir John Lavery.  “Painting!  But what are you hesitating about?  Let me have a brush, the big one.”  Splash into the turpentine, wallop into the blue and the white, frantic flourish on the palette, clean no longer, and then several large, fierce strokes and slashes of blue on the absolutely cowering canvas.  Anyone could see that it could not hit back.  No evil fate avenged the jaunty violence.  The canvas grinned in helplessness before me.  The spell was broker.  The sickly inhibitions rolled away.  I seized the largest brush and fell upon my victim with berserk fury.  I have never felt any awe of a canvas since.

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