President George W Bush Visits Abqiuiu

The 43rd President of the United States, a painter in his own right, joins area artists and residents for reflections on art, life and the Northern New Mexico influence on both.Courtesy image

President George W Bush Visits Abqiuiu

Republished here with permission of the Abiquiu News. Check out the Abiquiu News at for more stories related to Abiquiu.

By Dan Burrier

ABIQUIU – Former President George W Bush recently visited the high mesa home of his painting instructor, artist and Abiquiu resident, Jim Woodson. Also in attendance were Woodson’s wife, Barbara Moore, and Abiquiu residents Lauri and Dan Burrier, and Judith and Steve Wolf.

Throughout the informal morning-into-afternoon affair, conversation ranged freely from discussions of painting to landscaping, ranching, music, business, fitness, Laura Bush’s current efforts to restore native grasses on Texas ranch land, and, of course, art, New Mexico and the connection between our land, sky, culture and creativity.

Bush and Lauri Burrier, Abiquiu artist and shaman, discuss one of his first paintings.

At one point, Bush described a new series of water lily paintings he is working on, and told of spending time watching and painting the lilies every morning as they open at 9:45 am, a meditation of sorts, working to capture the soul of the moment. He also described trying to capture the true character of Putin by painting his eyes, an endeavor informed by 28 meetings between the two men during two terms as President.

Student Bush and teacher Woodson then retired to Woodson’s studio to dive into work.

The two men first met in 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas, when Bush asked Woodson to help him develop further as a painter. “He’s really quite good,” says Woodson. “I was surprised at first, at the intensity of his paint, his confidence in his work, the way he just goes at it. And he just keeps getting better.” 

Jim Woodson, a longtime Fort Worth resident, is also an officially designated Texas State Artist. Inspired by the light, land and spirit of Northern New Mexico, he and his wife Barbara moved to Abiquiu part time in 2007, and Jim’s work now reflects the power and spirit of the land, sky and light that keeps calling him back. His work is on display in many public and private art collections as well as at

Student and teacher in front of a Woodson New Mexico land and spirit-scape.

As President Bush’s Abiquiu day ended, he remarked to host Moore, “Nobody asked about the cuts on my face! Why didn’t anybody ask?” “You’re a President,” Moore replied. “Who’s going to ask that?” Bush revealed he had simply cut himself shaving, the result of a razor malfunction.

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