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Former president calls painting his life’s passion

FILE - This Sept. 12, 2013 file photo shows President George W. Bush speaking during an energy conference at the Bush Institute in Dallas. Bush will talk with daughter Jenna Bush Hager about his first-ever art exhibit on NBC's "Today" show Friday, April 4, 2014. His portraits of 24 world leaders include Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama. The paintings will be shared with the "Today" audience. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
FILE - This Sept. 12, 2013 file photo shows President George W. Bush speaking during an energy conference at the Bush Institute in Dallas. Bush will talk with daughter Jenna Bush Hager about his first-ever art exhibit on NBC's "Today" show Friday, April 4, 2014. His portraits of 24 world leaders include Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama. The paintings will be shared with the "Today" audience. (AP Photo/LM Otero)AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President George W. Bush has found painting as his new passion to fill the void in his life after he left the White House.

In an interview on NBC’s ‘‘Today’’ show, Bush tells his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, ‘‘I paint a lot because, as you know, I’m a driven person.’’

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The occasion was to highlight his portraits of world leaders, which he displays at his library in Texas.

One is of a grim-looking President Vladimir Putin.

Bush says ‘‘I got to know him very well. It became more intense as time went on.’’

He didn’t comment on Russia’s annexation of the Crimea Peninsula, but did say, ‘‘Vladimir is a person who in many ways viewed America as an enemy. I tried, of course, to dispel him of that notion.’’

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