George W. Bush On Paintings: 'People Are Surprised'

04/15/2013 10:58 am ET | Updated Apr 15, 2013

When former President George W. Bush's family emails were hacked earlier this year, the world learned something new about the 43rd president: he's a painter.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News published Sunday, Bush addressed the collections of paintings and self-portraits that surfaced in March.

"People are surprised," Bush said. "Of course, some people are surprised I can even read."

The paintings went viral after Gawker published twelve of the former president's works. The Internet and art world teemed with speculation about the collection of paintings, which includes still life, landscapes and portraits of Bush's late dog Barney Bush. Until now, the paintings have gone unaddressed by the former president.

"It's a way to create," Bush said. "I enjoy creating ... You can express yourself in a way that's unique."

Bush also told the Dallas Morning News that since leaving the Oval Office, he's enjoyed an array of hobbies beyond painting, including mountain biking and golf. Regarding the interesting mix of activities, Bush said he takes "great delight in busting stereotypes."

Bush's brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), addressed Dubbya's now-famous hobby in an interview with CNN last month, saying his brother's interest in the arts was initially surprising.

"He's actually become a pretty good painter," the former governor said. "He's doing it with a vengeance."

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