Where’s Dubya? Laying Low and Learning How to Paint

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George W. Bush at the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 29, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.

No matter how nostalgic some conservatives might be about the George W. Bush presidency, there’s a reason why he’s largely shied away from the spotlight since the day he left the White House: he’s still very unpopular.  

The former President chose not to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa earlier this year, and he’s refrained from acting as a Mitt Romney surrogate as Bill Clinton has recently for the President’s campaign. So what’s the ex-decider been up to recently? Well, painting.

In a new profile of the Bush family, mainly centering around the presidential aspirations of Dubya’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New York magazine writer Joe Hagan gleans some insight into what’s been occupying George’s W. Bush’s time since he rode back to Texas:

[He] has spent the past few years living as invisibly as possible, working diligently on his golf game at the Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, showing up at a Rangers baseball game, or being spotted eating a steak in one of his favorite restaurants. While the rest of the world judges his years in office, he’s taken up painting, making portraits of dogs and arid Texas landscapes. “I find it stunning that he has the patience to sit and take instruction and paint,” says a former aide.

Backhanded compliment aside, painting does appear like a nice way to pass the time while the 24-hour news cycle eats away at the Obama and Romney campaigns. And speaking of the Republican nominee, the Romney campaign might not be pleased with this bit of additional reporting done by Hagan:

[George W. Bush] gets a regular drip feed of political news from Karl Rove and others—he’s been critical of Romney’s campaign and skeptical of his chances.

Bush “skeptical” of Romney? That seems to be in line with Bush’s remarkably brief elevator-door-closing endorsement that the ex-decider gave to the Republican earlier this year.

MORE: Resurrecting W.: Why George Bush Still Matters in 2012