Sunday, March 28, 2010

Catholic High, Brother Edward, and the Art Scholarship

George Rodrigue, known as ‘Big Rod’ to his teenage peers, graduated from Catholic High School in New Iberia, Louisiana in 1962, along with thirty-two classmates. They have an annual reunion in someone’s backyard (BYObeer), women not permitted. This is a group of guys that remembers a time when “if you could drive, you could drink,” and so their stories from age fourteen and fifteen sound like most people’s college reminiscences today.

They parked their ’57 Chevys, ’48 Fords, and ’56 Plymouth Station Wagons on the Bayou Teche in City Park across the water from the Christian Brother’s Home (also called St. Peter’s College, pictured below in an early photograph and a Rodrigue painting/poster). There they hooked up (necked? made out?) with their girlfriends in the backseats, as the Brothers spied on them from across the water, delivering reprimands the following Monday to the owners of any recognized cars with fogged up windows.

George meanwhile painted in the attic of his family’s St. Peter’s Street home. He decided in the third grade (while bed-ridden with polio and occupied with paint-by-number sets) that he wanted to be an artist, and high school was just something he had to endure in order to reach art school. (pictured, Untitled Imaginary Lady with White Hair, 1960)

Yet his friends made it fun, and he becomes a kid again when reminded of shooting BB guns with Dickie or the inappropriate (and confusing) sexual questions posed in class by ex-seminary student Wilton David. George even spent six months at age eighteen meticulously removing the black stain from the grooves of his Catholic High class ring, purchased in 1961 for $24, so that it would appear solid gold (a ring he wears daily, even now).

He painted monsters on t-shirts, selling them for ten dollars each to earn money for gas,

And he took commissions, such as this portrait of the local funeral director, George Burgess, which hangs in George’s studio today, because the Burgess Funeral Home refused to pay the agreed-upon price of fifty dollars.

About twelve years ago Brother Cecil and Brother Edward began showing up at George’s book signings, dressed in their robes and anxious to share stories with the crowd, usually about George and his “juvenile delinquent” friends. They marveled (in fun) that George ever graduated.

I also marvel at this; his English teacher should have been fired, bein’s he passed George, a man who’s nearly convinced me (an English major) that there’s no acceptable substitute for the non-word ‘bein’s.’

And then there’s the religious angle, completely foreign to me. George was a member of the Sodalist Organization. Confused? I was too. From Catholic High School’s paper, The Panther, February 1961, courtesy of Dickie Hebert:

“Brother Isidore reminded all members of their duties as Sodalists --- to always carry their rosaries, to attend Mass on Tuesday and to use their Book of Meditations daily.” (Anyone who knows George personally is laughing at this mental picture).

And yet…

(pictured above, The Immaculate Dog, 1992, oil on canvas, 36x24 inches)

George’s favorite teacher, Brother Edward, known in high school as Brother Isidore, never missed an opportunity to tell an audience that he threw George out of class for drawing:

“I told him, ‘If you keep that up, you’ll never amount to anything!’”

He convinced George in the mid-1970s to donate a painting of Evangeline to the Christian Brothers Foundation as a gift for jazz musician Pete Fountain, a great supporter of the Christian Brothers School (pictured below, from left Brother Edward Scanlan, Pete Fountain, George Rodrigue). This began a friendship between George and Pete that continues to this day, including George’s Jazz Fest poster from 1996 of the great clarinetist.

When George first appeared in New Orleans with the Blue Dog around 1990, Brother Edward contacted him for money for the Christian Brothers Foundation. George gave him ten Blue Dog silkscreens, and he replied,

“What should I do with these? Who’s going to want this?”

After he sold them at a school event, raising enough money to support the elderly brothers for a year, he showed up the following spring with, according to George,

“...money that looked so old, that I’m sure he dug it up from some back yard.”

George refused the cash and again handed over the prints. Thus began an annual tradition (moldy money, refusal, free prints, big bucks), continuing until Brother Edward, the last living of George’s teachers, died in 2006.

I knew Brother Edward for ten years, and George tells me that he was exactly the same in looks and temperament since New Iberia in the 1950s (pictured below as Brother Isidore, age thirty-six, from the Catholic High 1956 yearbook).

George loved visiting with Brother Edward in recent years. Occasionally we stopped by the Christian Brothers School (CBS) in New Orleans’ City Park and spent the afternoon with him in the elegant 1900 sitting room. At his request we held a special lunch with some of his former students at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in the spring of 2004. The small gathering turned out to be a Who’s Who of Louisiana (... and me).

(back row: Joey Scaffidi (President of CBS), George and Wendy Rodrigue, Pete Fountain, Raymond Blanco (know as ‘Coach Blanco’ to his former students), Benny Harrell (Pete Fountain’s nephew and manager), Brother Gale Condit (from St. Paul’s School in Covington, Louisiana); front row: Chef Paul Prudhomme, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, Brother Edward Scanlan)

Since losing Brother Edward, George continues supporting education in Louisiana, especially with the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA). Established just one year ago, the foundation advocates the importance of the visual arts in childhood education. Although the foundation offers art supplies, education manuals, lectures, and other opportunities, its main project is a scholarship contest open to seniors throughout the state.

We just completed our trial run and were thrilled with over three hundred entries. Several prestigious volunteer judges narrowed the finalists down to sixteen, and we honored that group with $35,000 in scholarship money this past weekend in New Orleans. (pictured, winners Sean Hicks from Hackberry High School in Hackberry, Louisiana, and Brandon Cross from Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana; view their works and more on the GRFA website)

More than half of the students, including their parents and art teachers, visited New Orleans for their first time ever this past Saturday. Every family and art teacher had a winner, because each of the sixteen received $250 in art supplies, plus a Rodrigue Super Bowl print dedicated to them personally, plus additional scholarship money, ranging from $500 to $5000 depending on their placement (determined by our judges, made up of artists, musicians, reporters, museum directors, and other prominent members of Louisiana’s cultural community, all of whom donated their time for this project).

In addition, we’re holding a three-week exhibition of the artwork from all sixteen finalists at the new Rodrigue Gallery at 730 Royal Street, followed by a show at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches and the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.

For our first try, the scholarship program was a resounding success, and there was hardly a dry eye in the house as these talented young people received awards and acknowledgment for their efforts. (I also saw a number of them doodling throughout the presentation, reminding me of George ‘thrown out of class for drawing.’)

George spoke to these students about his own experience with competition, and even more important, he shared the advice that influenced him on his life's journey as an artist, specifically the words of architect A. Hays Town:

“Treat every painting like a jewel, because if it’s precious to you, it will be precious to others as well,”

…and of a professor from The Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles:

“Art is like a yard stick. The Renaissance is on one end, and an abstract painting of black paint on a black canvas is on the other. You have to find your spot on that stick and go up.”

We decorated the tables for this event with papier maché dogs created recently by a local third grade class during George’s visit to their school.

The little dogs are now on tour! They appeared first at our client event weekend this past March 19-21 and afterwards as table decorations for the scholarship banquet. Next stop: Lakeside Mall in Metairie, Louisiana, across from the Blue Dog Sculpture.

(pictured above, GRFA Education Director Marney Robinson, GRFA Director Wayne Fernandez, GRFA President Jacques Rodrigue (above), George and Wendy Rodrigue, GRFA Co-Director Gus Anderson)

As if this week, after the Rodrigue’s New Orleans client weekend, the GRFA Scholarship Banquet, and the beautiful spring weather, couldn’t get any better, we hosted fifty students in the gallery from Choctawhatchee High School on Thursday morning, visiting from Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Those of you who follow this blog know that Fort Walton is my hometown. And although I attended the rival high school, this was the next best thing to home.

I’m excited about my twenty-fifth class reunion this June at the Ramada Inn on the beaches of Okaloosa Island, just down the street from where I lived with my mother and sister. Heather Parker (my sister, who manages the Rodrigue Gallery website) is attending with me in George’s place, because she knows so many people from my class, and because it’s hard to think about high school (or any part of my life) without her.

Happy Birthday, Heather! March 29th

High School memories resound for all of us, but I couldn’t help but think this weekend as I looked out among those 17-year-old faces, how bright our future seems in the eyes of these inspired ‘Big Rod’s.’ I didn’t see my tainted Vietnam War and 9/11 pessimism in their eyes. I didn’t see George’s imminent draft notice or limited market for his paintings. Rather, I saw an intelligent, computer-savvy generation; I saw proud (oh so proud) parents; I saw driven, determined young people; and most important, I saw the goodness in their hearts and the joy they felt for each other as they came that much closer to achieving that next important step: a college education.

Wendy

*GRFA Scholarship Awards photos by Glen Clark, Lafayette, Louisiana

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Client

Unlike most artists at his level, George Rodrigue operates (since 1998) without an agent. There’s no middleman and no discounted arrangements to galleries, decorators, or corporate art buyers. In an extension of his early days of selling on the road from the trunk of his car, he sells from his own galleries, his own business, and although he can’t physically handle the sales himself, his gallery staff remains in close contact.

When you purchase a Rodrigue, although you may not meet the man himself, you can be sure that the person you’re working with has known him for years. Because of that relationship, their approach hopefully comes off less like a canned pitch and more like a genuine sharing of their feelings for the work (along with the facts they know from George). Should you have a question they can’t answer, they simply call him up and ask.

The gallery sales staff is small --- Sandra and Mary in Carmel, Dickie in Lafayette, and Rhonda and Lawrence in New Orleans. George sells his artwork in only three galleries in the country, and he counts his staff among his closest friends. (pictured, Sandra Crake from Rodrigue Studio, Carmel, at The Blue Room in New Orleans with George Rodrigue, March 20, 2010)

Years ago when I worked in the Carmel and New Orleans galleries on a daily basis, I appreciated that working with the public is an interesting study of human nature. I can’t tell you how many times people asked me if I’d ever met George, all while he’s standing on a ladder just behind us shifting a canvas or changing a light bulb. Other times, even since we’ve been married, people tell me that they’re George’s closest friend or a cousin or (my personal favorite) that they had dinner with him and his wife just last week! Usually these boasts precede some even bolder request for a discount. I guess because I’m humored by the whole thing, even as I deny their request, I generally resist bursting their bubble and introducing myself as George’s wife.

I remember a day in 1992 when a couple came into the Carmel Gallery, interested in the large scale and complex piece, Louisiana Cowboys (1988, 95x65, oil on canvas, pictured below and currently on view at Rodrigue Gallery, New Orleans). At the time, at $125,000 it was the most expensive painting in the gallery. (We pulled it off the market just last year, in fact, then listed at $500,000).

The gentleman pulled me aside (by my elbow, as I recall) and offered $60,000. I explained the price, with my apologies. He replied,

“I know how you people are. You’re like used car salesmen. You will take this price. And if you don’t, I will speak with the gallery manager and have you fired.”

I declined again (along with a silent prayer for his wife, as well as maligned car salesmen everywhere), and asked him to wait while I contacted my boss.

After a minute or so, I returned from the backroom and, at twenty-five years old, with a wild mop of hair, a hot pink skort suit and black go-go boots, reintroduced myself as the gallery manager. Despite the fact that $60,000 would have been the biggest sale in the history of Galerie Blue Dog to date, as well as the fact that I had some discretion in those days regarding price (not to mention, the commission would have resulted in the biggest paycheck I’d ever known), I reminded him again of the price of the painting and that if he was not prepared to pay it, I’d prefer he left immediately.

He did leave, threatening and cursing and (an irresistible exaggeration here) dragging his wife by her hair, all the way out the door. When I repeated the story to George’s agent (my boss) at the time, I nearly was fired. When I repeated it to George, however, he said,

“I wouldn’t have come off a dollar for a jerk like that. You did the right thing.”

So did I need to cut my hair, change my wardrobe, and tone down my lipstick to be taken seriously by the art buyers? No! I resented that notion. I didn’t work in a bank. I worked in a gallery, surrounded by the contemporary, bold, and unique expressions of a man who listens to no one, who for forty years has painted exactly what he wants despite controversy, criticism, and popular trends. Surely my persona (and that of our current staff) should reflect no less.

George last had an agent in 1997, and he bristles at the idea of another. He knows that the people selling his art represent him well, and not only should they represent him with knowledge and integrity, but also with kindness, regardless of a person’s ability to buy, and regardless of any misinformed utterances.

Unfortunately, however, we’re human; we have bad days; something or someone rubs us the wrong way; or we just plain misinterpret a situation. It happens to all of us with the gallery, and perhaps even some of you reading this blog have known offense from me, George, or a member of our staff. For this, I apologize.

And I make restitution with an example-

There was a woman in Shreveport, Louisiana several years ago who did not appreciate my tone when I explained to her at a book signing that George could not sign the page she’d cut out and framed from a calendar. Such an item is a derivative work and a violation of George’s copyright. She wrote a scathing letter about my rude behavior without, unfortunately, leaving a phone number, so that I had no way of calling her with an apology (although I did send a rambling, rather pitiful letter). It was city number twenty-five on a lengthy book tour, and I’d grown impatient with these types of requests --- too often found the following day on e-bay, where unsuspecting fans paid hundreds of dollars for a note card or a page cut from a book, thinking they were buying an original print.

I regret my behavior to this day, because her request probably was innocent. She may have been well intentioned and not known the copyright issues. Perhaps she wanted the picture for the nightstand of her five-year old grandson or to auction off for her favorite charity. In those seemingly harmless cases, however, George still cannot sign, because one day down the road that book page could wind up miss-represented on the secondary market. Nevertheless, she deserved a kind explanation, as opposed to my impatient dismissal.

That incident (and others…), however small it might seem, haunts me today and helps to keep my behavior in better check. (Although I’ve certainly digressed at times; I recall with horror literally sweeping a woman out of the Carmel gallery with a broom one day).

People have a hard time grasping that there is real customer service today (or maybe they’re afraid of the broom!). It’s easy to hit a button on paypal and make a purchase without realizing that someone is on the other end (in our case JD, at our warehouse, carefully packing your print for shipment).

We generally avoid on-line sales, because it’s important to George that his staff get to know his clients. And when possible, it’s important to him that we (he and I) do the same.

Every two years we hold a Rodrigue Event weekend (detailed in the blog Lectures, Painting Demos, and Events). This past weekend in New Orleans we visited with clients from around the country for three days of parades, parties, lectures, and art.

It gives these fans a chance to visit with George and ask questions about his work. It gives us an opportunity to thank his patrons, many of whom have collected his work for years, supporting his various artistic whims with curiosity and encouragement, something he knew little of in the 1970s and 1980s, when his fans and especially his agents expected Cajun art, dismissing new directions such as the Blue Dog.

The least we can do for these supportive collectors is show them a good time in our favorite city. This year's event weekend included themed parties such as 'A Blue Evening' in the Roosevelt Hotel's famous Blue Room

A 1940s party at the National World War II Museum

And painting demos with lectures at both the new Rodrigue Gallery at 730 Royal Street (where we'll open in two weeks), as well as during a jazz brunch overlooking the city of New Orleans at the Sheraton Hotel.

Since breaking free of his agent, George has explored not only unpredictable and dramatic changes within the Blue Dog Series (see the Blue Dog links listed under 'Popular Musings' to the right of this post), but also Hurricanes, Bodies, Portraits, and more, all with the support of a solid fan base, one that appreciates not only his diverse and creative whims, but also his accessibility through these events.

George does not hide behind an agent or a computer. However, he does hide for several months a year on a mountain in central California, where he spends twelve to fifteen hours a day at his easel, pressured by no one’s expectations but his own. Meanwhile the rest of us stand by, awaiting the surprise, anxious to share these new works, maybe even a new direction, with his fans and collectors.

Wendy

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Saga of the Acadians

Between 1985 and 1989, George Rodrigue painted the Saga of the Acadians, a series of fifteen paintings chronicling the Acadian journey from France to Nova Scotia in the 17th century, from Nova Scotia to Louisiana during the Grand Dérangement of 1755, and finally the first official return visit from Southwest Louisiana to Grand Pré in the 1930s.

I’ve written about this series so often over the years that I’m struggling to find something ‘fresh’ for a blog. And yet maybe there’s no reason to approach the works in a new way. They are George’s graphic interpretation of the story of his ancestors, and perhaps the less analyzation the better.

However, just for fun, before laying out each painting’s history I’ll provide here a few interesting tidbits:

In 1984, the year before he began the Saga, George painted his first Blue Dog. Over the next five years he painted not only the loup-garou, but also a number of important Cajun works and portraits, including paintings of Hank Williams and President Ronald Reagan, as well as the Saga of the Acadians. Many people don’t realize that there was a long crossover period of both Blue Dog and Cajun works.

George narrowed the Acadian story down to fifteen paintings. He’s said many times that had he wanted to, the expansive saga could have been two hundred paintings.

These works are painted in oil, completed just prior to George’s struggle with hepatitis, resulting in his switch to acrylic paint. He’s often mentioned the marathon pace of painting both this series and the forty canvases for the book Bayou as having brought on his illness.

The paintings typify George’s style, established years before with works such as the Aioli Dinner. The figures appear to be cut out and pasted onto the landscape, just as the Cajuns were cut out of Canada and pasted onto South Louisiana, where they started life again, making a home for themselves in the swamps and prairies. The oak trees are cut off at the top so that light shines from underneath, representing the small sky of Louisiana (as opposed to the big sky of neighboring Texas), as well as a distant hope for these transplanted people. Rather than shadowed beneath the trees, the people shine in white, glowing with their culture.

The Saga of the Acadians was originally in the collection of the Landry and Defez Families in Henderson, Louisiana. They donated the works to the Acadian Village Museum in Lafayette, Louisiana, where for ten years the museum housed a George Rodrigue annex, focusing on the Saga, with supplemental paintings loaned by the artist.

Eventually the Anne and Wendell Gauthier Family of New Orleans (by way of Southwest Louisiana) acquired the collection. Through their generosity the paintings tour museums throughout the state of Louisiana, focusing on small venues in Cajun communities. For a list of 2011 tour dates and locations, visit here.

The Saga of the Acadians by George Rodrigue, 1985-1989

All paintings are oil on canvas, 36x24 inches

(Descriptions researched and written with the help of Dana Holland-Beickert for the New Orleans Museum of Art)

The Sailing of the Jonah depicts the beginning of a journey in 1604 from Normandy, France, to what is now Nova Scotia. This journey launched the beginning of an ethnic group destined to fascinate the world.

Pilgrims. Frenchmen were the first settlers of the North American continent. Arriving just north of Plymouth Rock in 1604, they lived a family-oriented lifestyle in the harsh Nova Scotia wilderness.

The First Planting. These imaginative settlers (now Acadians) developed fertile farmland in their marsh-like territory. So successful were their efforts, many historians feel the Acadians were deported in order to make room for British settlers who coveted these productive grounds.

The Fight for an Empire. French soldiers board a ship just ahead of advancing British troops. Caught between two military giants, the Acadian settlers were soon to have their tranquil lifestyle destroyed forever.

The Church at Grand Pré was the first Catholic Church built in Nova Scotia. The British troops used it as a prison for the soon-to-be-exiled Acadians.

Leave Our Homes? Hell No! The British used harsh tactics to subdue these stubborn settlers. Permanent guards were posted at each home, forcing its inhabitants to live for an extended period in the unsheltered wilderness.

With No Country to Call Home, the Pilgrims originally settled in Nova Scotia to satisfy the expansion needs of Motherland France. Following British victory, they were required to forsake the Catholic religion and swear allegiance to the British king. Refusing on both issues, they were deported to many lands, and often refused entry. Even in France, they were considered “no longer French.”

Final Insult. Deported Acadians were forced to endure the harsh winter in open vessels in the North Atlantic. This controversial painting shows a soldier of the Crown offering a diseased blanket as cover for a child.

A Final Look at Acadie. Forcibly driven from their homes and separated from those they loved, the stage was set in 1755 for the odyssey to begin and for Longfellow to immortalize this epic journey.

The First Cajuns. After many years without a homeland, these steadfast Acadians reached their long sought “Land of the Oaks” and became Cajuns.

The Last Novena for Gabriel. Evangeline, symbol of forced separation of families, friends and those in love, offers one final prayer for her Gabriel.

Macque Choux. Native Indians assisted the Cajuns in understanding the indigenous ingredients available to them for cooking. (Macque Choux is a corn dish of South Louisiana)

He-bert, Yes – A Bear, No. In 1912 Louisiana Governor Hall issued a special edict that French could no longer be spoken in school. (See the post, Jimmy Domengeaux, George Rodrigue, and a Few Other Louisiana Characters)

Evangeline – A Silent Classic. The oak is revisited by Hollywood in 1929 in its rendition of Longfellow’s Evangeline, starring Dolores del Rio. (As a side note, I found this movie and surprised George with it not long after we were married. Later that evening George, his two boys, his mother, our neighbors and I could all be found in the den, snoozing in front of the quiet film. It knocked out every one of us.)

Return to Acadie. Dudley LeBlanc became the first Cajun on record to revisit his roots: the historic Church of Grand Pré in Nova Scotia. At the time, LeBlanc’s Hadacol was second in America for advertising expenses behind Coca-Cola. (I will write a post on Dudley LeBlanc down the road. He’s certainly a Louisiana character, and his famous elixir and traveling medicine show, the Hadacol Caravan, are legendary.)

I leave you with a photograph (1960s) of former Louisiana State Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc with his 'Evangelines' at the White House (note President John F. Kennedy in the bottom photo), on their way to the Church at Grand Pré in Nova Scotia.

For more on Rodrigue’s Saga of the Acadians, see the following stories: Early Oak Trees, The Aioli Dinner, Evangeline, Jimmy Domengeaux

Wendy

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flowers (Eyes, Swirls, and Hearts)

Anyone who knows George Rodrigue describes him as ‘manly.’ He has a deep voice and a large John Wayne-type rib cage; he wears alligator boots and drives a truck; he never misses a football game, and it pains him to attend the ballet or symphony; his favorite movies are The Searchers and High Noon, and his favorite meals are chili dogs and chocolate doughnuts. In short, it would be easy to mistake him for ‘macho,’ for someone devoid of a feminine side.

And yet, he paints flowers, hundreds of them, appearing in probably at least one out of every twenty paintings over the past fifteen years.

George first painted flowers in his Cajun works. These include Evangeline on the Azalea Trail, Jolie Blonde picking roses, or decorative elements in festival posters and portraits, such as his painting of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.

However, he wasn’t as fond of painting flowers in those days as he is today. In the Cajun works, the flowers referred to something in nature, something in South Louisiana, and George struggled with the native plants, especially azalea bushes, which easily shifted to an indistinguishable mass of color on canvas.

It was in the Blue Dog Series, particularly beginning in the mid-1990s with the silkscreens and later in the more abstract original paintings, that flowers became an important and frequent design element. (pictured, Inner Joy, acrylic on canvas, 2000)

At first George mimicked the dog’s eyes, implying flowers or stars in his designs. (I See You, You See Me, silkscreen, 1993)

“I repeated this pattern so that the dog floated with a bunch of eyes looking at it, looking at us. From that design, I shifted to flowers. The middle of the flower is the eye of the dog, and the petals can be any color.”
(pictured, She's Got Me Waiting with the Wallflowers, acrylic on canvas, 1994)

The flowers are simple and strong, in an effort to avoid motel kitsch. This grating reference goes back years for George, to an art contest in the early 1970s in Morgan City, Louisiana, when his oak trees were disqualified in favor of local paintings of magnolia blossoms. (The judges thought George was passing off antique paintings as his own; for more on this see the post The Art Contest)

(pictured, Our Love Blooms Forever, acrylic on canvas, 60x48, 2001)

“People ask me what kind of flowers they are, but I have no idea. They’re just petals with eyes in them to me.”
(Peep-eye With the Poppies, acrylic on canvas, 36x24, 2000)

Today Rodrigue paints flowers in the same way he paints swirls. The two are interchangeable in many cases, both simple elements that combine well with the strong Blue Dog shape. (Sock It To Me, 2009, 48x72; Earrings Look Good on Her, 2008, 36x48)

Whereas the flowers reference the eyes and seeing, the swirl is even more abstract in its concept, relating to the cosmos, the universe, or even a hurricane.

George often combines the two elements. (pictured, Alice in Wonderland, 2009, 48x60)

As further evidence of his feminine side (on canvas), he paints the flowers with hearts. Although appalled by motel kitsch, George embraces common symbols, such as stars and stripes for America, and especially hearts for love --- a design element often combined with flowers. (Love Me, Watch Me Grow; and Love's Sneakin' Up On Me, both acrylic on canvas, 2001)

George amplifies these romantic references to love and the universe with his color palette. He ignores nature entirely, embracing pink and purple even when a landscape to the rest of us might call for green or brown. (Springtime in Louisiana, 2005)

As we all know, George Rodrigue loves color. Without a doubt, there is something endearing about this otherwise masculine and burly guy filling his canvas with flowers, hearts, and the color pink.

Wendy

pictured above: Pretty Things Follow Me, 2001, 16x20, acrylic on canvas

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