George W. Bush’s Painted Atonements.

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During his presidency, I did not like George W. Bush or his policies, even though I always felt that he wasn’t a bad person and that he truly believed that what he was doing was right for America.   I never voted for him, and was disappointed when he won the presidency (for two terms), but I also never experienced the visceral level of fear and dread that I do now with Trump in office.

Eight years ago, I never would have imagined that there’d come a day when I actually would start to like Dubya, at least a little.

But last week, Bush said a few things that indicated he definitely did not approve of Trump’s immigration ban, or his attacks on the legitimate media.

“A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.” — Former President Bush in response to question about Trump travel ban

On the Today Show, he said this to Matt Lauer:

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy.  We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive.”

Source: George W. Bush Throws Shade at Donald Trump

How right he is.

I also found out he was never a Trump supporter, and in fact, he voted for Hillary Clinton!   Imagine my shock.

This week, the New Yorker published an article called George W. Bush’s Painted Atonements.   They are from a new book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.”  The New Yorker article includes a slideshow of several of Bush’s  individual portraits and a group mural which Bush painted, from photographs, of 98 physically and/or mentally wounded Armed Forces veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

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I knew Bush painted, but it never occurred to me he could actually have talent, and yet he does.   These paintings are wonderful and the expressions on the wounded veterans in his portraits capture their pain, despair, and anguish.   The paintings also seem to indicate that Bush has compassion toward these wounded warriors, and may be struggling with a lot of guilt over both the wars he got us into.    Painting may be how he’s trying to redeem himself.

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“Seven Deadly Sins” by Deviantart’s Marta Dahlig

I just love Marta Dahlig’s beautiful and haunting “Seven Deadly Sins” series of paintings, so here they are again.
My worst “sins” are Envy, Sloth, and Vanity (Pride). Envy and Sloth are tied for #1.

Lucky Otters Haven

I used three of these beautiful paintings in my article “My Inner Narcissist.” Marta Dahlig, an artist from Poland, is an incredibly talented painter. Here is her page on Deviantart where you can see more of her work, but here I’m just going to post her haunting and perfectly executed interpretations of all seven “deadly sins.” I just love these!

wrathavarice
gluttonylust
slothpride
envy

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Who was Narcissus?

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Many artists have depicted Narcissus, the legendary Greek hunter who loved to stare at his own image in pools of water, but eventually realized he could never possess just a reflection of himself, and in deep despair, killed himself. Other versions of the legend have him falling into the pool of water while staring at his reflection and drowning. But there’s more to the legend. For those of you who enjoy mythology or just like love stories, here’s the story in its entirety:

Myth Man’s Echo and Narcissus: a Sad Love Story

Narcissus was so beautiful that both men and women alike desired him, but Echo, a beautiful but overly talkative young woman, loved Narcissus most of all. Unfortunately, her adoration and devotion was unrequited because of Narcissus’ love for only himself. This seems so familiar to those of us who have been the victims in a relationship with a narcissist, doesn’t it?

I wonder if Narcissus would have gained narcissistic supply from knowing a well known and “popular” mental disorder was named after him. Probably.

Here are some of my favorite images of Narcissus (and Echo).

narcissus1_caravaggio
Caravaggio’s painting is my favorite, and I have used this image in a few other posts. Narcissus is so beautiful here, I could stare at him forever (just as poor Echo did). I love how lost he looks in his own reflection. He’s looking at it the way a man looks at a woman he’s fallen in love with.

narcissus2_andecho
John William Waterhouse’s 1903 painting of Narcissus and Echo is another of my favorites. Narcissus is completely unaware of Echo’s presence. You can tell she’s in love with him but he doesn’t want her. In fact, he doesn’t even know she exists. In his world, only he exists.

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Narcissus and 2 women. Artist unknown. (Does anyone know who painted this?)

echoandnarcissus
I do not know who painted this either. But notice how completely Echo is engaged, passionately embracing Narcissus, and yet he is not returning her embrace. He seems to be merely tolerating her. Theirs is definitely an unequal relationship.

echo
Another unknown artist. It appears this image may depict Narcissus after his death, or maybe he’s just asleep or pretending to sleep so he doesn’t have to engage with the adoring Echo.

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A modern take: Esstera’s Echo and Narcissus on Deviantart. I love Echo’s almost angry expression and body language in this.

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Another modern take, moved to an urban environment (looks like a NYC subway)–“Narcissus and Echo” by David Revoy. I love this!

narcissusflower
The Narcissus flower, related to the daffodil, according to legend bloomed on the banks of the pond where Narcissus died.

There are many other images and paintings of Narcissus and Echo, but these are the ones that really capture my imagination and I think are the most beautiful.