One of the most fun art projects that I did with my 3rd graders a couple of years ago was to learn about George Rodrigue and his "Blue Dog" paintings. Every student was engaged in the activity and took their own spin to create their own "Blue Dog".
Who was George Rodrigue? He was a native Louisianan artist who was born in 1944. He studied art both at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and later at the Art Center College of Design in California. His earlier work depicted much of what he saw in Louisiana with landscapes and various scenes and gatherings of Cajun culture.
His first "Blue Dog" painting was "Watchdog" which was for a book filled with Cajun ghost stories called Bayou by Chris Segura. Rodrigue used for his dog model his deceased terrier/spaniel named Tiffany. Rest assured, Tiffany did not look like this but her image was altered by Rodrigue to make her more scary. The image was based on a Cajun legend called "loup-garou" which translates to "werewolf, a word that Rodrigue had heard growing up. For more information on the legend, click this page about mythical creatures, here.
There is still a Rodrigue Gallery on Royal Street in New Orleans. Once I heard about it, I wanted to check it out.
A large spinning blue dog is in the window of the gallery to greet potential visitors.
I had permission to take some photos of the paintings that were there. They were all a fairly large sized. I loved the use of color on this one.
Here are some more that I liked:
Which artist does this remind you of? If you said, Andy Warhol then you are correct! Love this image.
As a side note, Rodrigue and Warhol were both hired as artists for Absolut Vodka for a campaign marketing ad. This is one of the images that Rodrigue came up with:
George also did a painting called "We Will Rise Again" in an effort to raise money for relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. I had never seen this painting so I thought maybe my readers haven't either.
Sadly, George Rodrigue died in 2013 of Stage 4 lung cancer which he linked to the spray varnish he used in his unventilated studio, It makes me sad to think of the images he didn't create because he died.
I hope you enjoyed this little bio on George Rodrigue. I have a YouTube video for children that I have done based off the lesson I gave on George Rodrigue to my students. It's below:
Thank you for reading. I have some sources I used to create this blog post listed below.