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LaGrange native gives former president painting lessons


You never know where your passions will take you.

For LaGrange County native Bonnie Flood, her passion for colors led her to take up painting years ago after a career in clothing design, jewelry design, interior design, and other artistic endeavors. “When I retired from all that, I needed something with color,” Flood said. “I started studying art and became fascinated with that. I regret I hadn’t started sooner.” Flood made up for lost time by studying painting around the world.

Flood, a 1958 LaGrange High School graduate, now works out of Cumming, Ga., and teaches a painting class every year for two weeks in Boca Grande, Fla. It was on the recommendation of one of her students that got Flood an offer to teach a very unique student – former President George W. Bush.

“He had looked at my website and at what I did and then asked me to come teach him painting for a month,” Flood said. “It was very exciting. Every day we started at 9 a.m. and painted until the afternoon.” Flood would have lunch with President Bush each day, as well. “I got to know him quite well,” she added.

Flood said that Pres. Bush was very eager to learn, which made teaching him very enjoyable. “He was very casual. Very relaxed. He was personable and funny. He has a great sense of humor,” Flood recalled.

Flood had no idea what to expect when she was asked to teach him. “He did send me some e-mails of his paintings he had done. They looked promising, even though he had been painting for less than a year,” she noted.

The former president enjoyed painting dogs and landscapes. Flood also had him working on painting scenes from where they were in Florida, painting outside, or Plein Air. She added that she is going to Maine later this year to teach. “I’ll let him know I’ll be there,” she said.

“It was quite an experience,” Flood said. “I loved him before, but now I have some really good memories. I still can’t believe I did that.”