Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Family Portrait

Although George Rodrigue admitted to himself only recently that he is an effective portrait artist, he has painted both real and imaginary figures for forty years, accepting commissions for family portraits since the early 1970s.


For the family portrait he feels pressured to please everyone from Great Aunt Marie to Baby Hebert with regards to looks, clothing, and placement. In addition, these works often include family homes, pets, and other complex elements, occasionally incorporating only two or three people and other times a dozen or more. To prevent changes down the line, George begins with a sketch, submitted to the family for approval, as with the Bode girls below, Mathilda and Josie, from 1987.


Oftentimes the client’s instructions include an enormous canvas, as in the Fortino Family Portrait. At nearly eight by ten feet, the painting posed logistical problems from the beginning. I remember visiting George in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1996 as he worked on this canvas in his garage, where he stood, kneeled, and crouched on the floor for weeks, because the painting would not fit through the door of his studio.

(pictured, Dottore Fortino E Familia, painted with their family home on the West Bank of New Orleans)

It is interesting to note that George’s first such portrait was not a commission (or really, a family). He based the Aioli Dinner (1971, pictured below) on the Gourmet Dinner Clubs of the early twentieth century occurring in and around his hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. Although not a family gathering, the dinner scene does include both George’s uncle and grandfather.

(The Aioli Dinner is a complex composition deserving of its own post. For a detailed history of this classic painting, visit here)



It was following paintings such as The Aioli Dinner and The Class that people associated George Rodrigue with personal, heirloom-type works, such as the family portrait. Inherently wary of accepting commissions due to their limiting nature, the money from these large-scale, complicated pieces was good from the beginning, easily off-setting any artistic compromise, especially if the timing was right (as with the recent portraits at the bottom of this post).

(pictured, The Great Dr. Armstrong Family, 1989, 30x40)



Prior to the sketch, George photographs the family, arranging his composition and gaining the patron’s approval before he lifts his brush, as with the de la Houssaye Sisters from Crowley, Louisiana (1985).

George paints the women like four Evangelines, placing them on the grounds of the original de la Houssaye home, built when their early Louisiana ancestors acquired a Spanish land grant, and now a historic landmark located in the Longfellow State Park in St. Martinville.

Over time George’s reputation grew nationally for these family portraits. In 1989, following his portrait of President Ronald Reagan, the National Republican Party commissioned a family portrait of President George H.W. Bush with his grandchildren. In this case, however, the original sketch did not avert problems, as Mrs. Bush, upon seeing the near-finished canvas, hoped to be included in the painting. It was with great regret that George admitted,
“There simply is no room.”


(In a funny aside, Dr. Armstrong, whose family portrait appears in this post, sat in for the President. George merely replaced their heads, as you'll notice if you compare the two paintings. The George Bush painting hangs today in the family’s home in Houston, Texas. For a detailed history of this painting, as well as Reagan’s portrait, visit here).

Although he rarely takes commissions today, occasionally George makes an exception for the family portrait of a friend or long-time collector. This was the case with The Sartain Family, pictured below in front of Ancient Oaks Plantation in Bastrop, Texas, and painted in 2005, as the Rodrigue Gallery business stalled in the months following Hurricane Katrina.


This was also the case with the Doré and Brunet Family, in a painting called The Championship Ring from 2010, celebrating the marriage of Katharine Bush and Jason Doré (pictured far right), a long-time family friend. George was pleased to include their special request in this painting, the Blue Dog, pictured as a member of the family within a typical Rodrigue landscape.

It is ironic that after several dozen family portraits over the years, George never painted his own family in this way. In the early years especially, when unburdened by the restrictions of a commission, he was more likely to paint a slice of Cajun history, as in the Daughters of André Chastant from 1971, below.


(While running for sheriff, André Chastant dressed up his daughters as early Acadians – as Pilgrims, in effect – and sent them out into the parish on the campaign trail, emphasizing the necessity of preserving the Cajun culture; learn more about this painting here-).

Although not a traditional family portrait, George has painted his sons many times, as pictured below, and as detailed in last year’s Thanksgiving post, “André and Jacques: The Rodrigue Brothers.”



These days George is more likely to embrace the family photograph as opposed to a painting. I leave you with one of his favorites, from a Wyoming vacation a few years ago, and picturing from left: André, Jason Doré, Jacques, Wendy, George.

With best wishes during the holidays to you and your family-
Wendy

From the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, published this week:

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for – annually, not oftener – if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side, consequently it was proper to thank the Lord for it.” -- (quoted in the NY Times 11/20/10 and by my favorite art blogger, Nancy Natale)

In the spirit of the quote above and in honor of Thanksgiving, I also direct you to the post “America the Beautiful”
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Bronzes

George Rodrigue holds a deep appreciation for classicism in the visual arts. In a way, this embrace of time-honored techniques and subjects translates to a parallel within his own career, as even today he talks about his bronzes of the mid-1970s with reverence, recalling the process as though he worked alongside Donatello himself, paying tribute to the statues of antiquity.

Rather than a figure from the Bible or the Ancient World, however, George embraced from the beginning a more familiar subject, one that is classical within his own Cajun culture.

(pictured above, Rodrigue’s Evangeline Sitting, circa 1975, 12x12 inches; for a detailed history of Evangeline, including a selection of Rodrigue’s paintings of the Cajun heroine, visit here)

As described in the post “How Baby George Became An Artist,” it was while bedridden with polio at age nine that George chose his life’s path. His mother brought him paint-by-number sets and modeling clay, and for the first time he formed familiar objects and scenes with only his hands and imagination.

For George, this childhood wonder at creating something from nothing continues today, and it certainly inspired a series of bronze sculptures during the height of his Cajun series.

(pictured, a clay relief formed on the underside of a china dinner plate, circa 1980, and never completed as a bronze)

To create his bronzes, George first sculpts his design in potter’s clay, as in the unfinished relief piece above. He prefers this method because potter’s clay begins soft, growing harder while exposed to the air. He achieves the smooth areas by modeling the soft clay with his fingers and the rough areas by chiseling the hard clay with metal tools. It is a laborious, exhausting process, requiring 12-15 hours of commitment at one sitting, and resulting in a very hard piece of clay.

He brings the finished clay sculpture to a foundry, early on using a friend’s backyard furnace in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. In the late 1970s he used a makeshift artist’s destination in the Houston warehouse of a retired fence manufacturer, and by the 1980s he used the more professional site at Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque, New Mexico (near Santa Fe, which he uses today). Most exciting, during the mid-1980s he spent extensive time at a foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy, a medieval town famous among artists for its foundries and marble since the Italian Renaissance.

(pictured, Legacy, featuring Evangeline and Gabriel with Longfellow)

The foundry's artisans prepare his sculpture with liquid rubber, applying the gooey substance up to three inches thick. Over the hardened rubber they add a five-to-eight inch thickness of plaster of paris, resulting in a large ball with the clay buried inside.

At this point they cut the entire piece in half, chiseling the clay out of the rubber, basically destroying the original sculpture in the process. The resulting rubber mold is a negative of the original design.

The artisans then pour hot wax into the mold, sloshing it around to fill the cavity. Once the wax dries and hardens, they cut away the rubber mold, exposing an exact copy (in wax) of George's original clay sculpture, a process required for every bronze piece produced, whether part of an edition or not.

(pictured, Evangeline Standing; notice how her hair blends with the tree and her skirt with the roots, as though she grows out of the oak and exists inseparable from the Louisiana landscape)

From the wax copy, the foundry's artisans paint a thin porcelain clay over the sculpture, up to five inches thick, leaving the bottom exposed. They fire the clay in the oven, where the wax melts and burns out, leaving a porcelain mold holding the negative sculpture.

They then pour melted bronze into this porcelain mold and, after two days, break the porcelain with a hammer, exposing at last the bronze sculpture.

Still incomplete, the statue requires careful cleaning, followed by a patina, applied with a torch and liquid chemicals, before polishing and shining the finished piece.

(pictured, Cajun Fisherman, inspired by Tee Coon, a janitor from George’s alma mater, Catholic High School in New Iberia, Louisiana)

Obviously there is nothing easy about making a bronze. And yet, as recent as the 1990s George experimented with new forms of this medium, translating the Blue Dog into wall reliefs in contemporary blue and chrome patinas. (titled, Off the Wall, 24x16 inches)

Indeed, he talks about creating his recent three-sided, free-standing sculptures in this medium as well, up to now replacing the bronze with steel, aluminum, and chrome for his current public installations within the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art and on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, Louisiana.

(Pictured above, on view at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens Museum in Memphis, TN in 2007 and below, featuring automotive flip-flop paint, at the New Orleans Museum of Art, 2008. For more on these sculptures see the post “Blue Dog in Three Dimensions”)

The possibility exists for a similar three-sided Blue Dog in bronze. Obviously George remains unintimidated by scale, as evidenced by his large version of Legacy in the Kaliste Saloom Office Park in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Today I’m convinced, however, that the enormous expense of working in this medium is the only thing keeping him from creating the giant Blue Dog bronze of his dreams. I see it in his eyes on our yearly visit to Rodin’s Burghers of Calais at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and I heard it in his voice this week as he recounted with enthusiasm the classical lost wax process.

Wendy

(Pictured, George Rodrigue with his sculpture in Pietrasanta, Italy, 1983)

Thinking about blogging? Beware of the side effects: Last night, like Evangeline trapped within the wax and porcelain and rubber, I found myself, with this post on my mind, trapped within the layers of a house, smothered by sheetrock, plywood, bricks and a deep screened porch. I struggled to break out, banging on the walls, my locked jaw preventing me from calling for help. At last George recognized the panicked moans through my clenched teeth. He held me as I calmed down and my face relaxed, freeing me from my dense prison, and ending the nightmare.

To see George Rodrigue's paintings of Evangeline visit here

Coming later this week: “The Family Portrait”

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looking Back

I’ve spent a lot of time lately looking back. George does this often within his art, and it is an obvious and running theme in his Cajun paintings. However, even the Blue Dog, which he frequently describes as ‘commenting on life today,’ allows an occasional glimpse into a bygone world, a place that remains inside of him and helps to ground that complex person, George Rodrigue.

(pictured, Looking Back, oil on canvas from 1992, featuring Evangeline)

I suppose it’s Thanksgiving that prompts this nostalgia in me, not only because of family and traditions, but also because it’s the time of year that I lost my mom, the time of year that I function by shoving those feelings back, reminding myself it was six years ago and not just last week.

Yet in some ways our entire city seems set in the past these days (or maybe it always was), even as we move forward with a new mayor, a Super Bowl-winning football team, and a recent boom of construction and tourism and energy.

(photograph September 2005; for a related post visit here)

At the Odyssey Ball this past weekend we kicked off a one-year celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of what I like to call our city’s ‘Met.’ The exhibition, titled Great Collectors Great Donors: The Making of the New Orleans Museum of Art, 1910-2010, celebrates those collectors that have helped shape the museum into a great institution, even beyond its impressive construction.

Beginning with eleven works when the doors opened in 1911, NOMA (once known as the Delgado Museum of Art) now boasts more than 35,000 items in its collection, many of them classic pieces within the decorative arts, African and South American objects, and fine works from the French Impressionists, Italian Renaissance painters, and of course the modern masters.

(pictured, At the Delgado, a 2008 original silkscreen by George Rodrigue, commemorating the museum's Rodrigue retrospective)

In describing collectors Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Stafford, former museum director John Bullard (who recently retired from NOMA after thirty-seven years) writes,

“The Staffords had formed a collection which was like a mini-museum, covering practically the entire history of Western art from ancient Egypt and Greece to twentieth-century modern masters, as well as the arts of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The breadth of the Stafford Collection gave the Delgado’s trustees, staff, and patrons an idea of a possible future for the Museum --- to aspire to present the broad scope and diversity of world art.”

(for a fascinating time capsule in video, a 1966 tour of "Odyssey of an Art Collector," featuring Mimi Stafford at the New Orleans Museum of Art, visit here)

Further embracing this sentimental mood, I visited Mignon Faget: A Life in Art and Design at the Historic New Orleans Collection, on display in the French Quarter through January 2, 2011. Like many New Orleans ladies, I have a prized collection of her jewelry designs, including the gold and silver bows worn by my grandmother and the banana leaves, in all shapes and sizes, worn by my mother (who happens to share the jeweler's name).

(pictured, my grandmother Helen McClanahan and my mother Mignon McClanahan Wolfe, at a rig christening in Harvey, Louisiana, circa 1960)

Recently, in his own nostalgic spirit, George surprised me with a large moonsnail choker by Mignon Faget, now one of my favorite pieces, and dating back to the early 1970s.
He says the jewelry reminds him of his own early creativity and images of women, even paintings from high school, such as this canvas from 1960, formed entirely from his imagination.

Further transporting me this week was our yearly celebration of my mother’s brother Jack McClanahan, a real character* who enjoys sharing stories of the 1950s-1970s, his golden era of New Orleans. He talks about rig christenings, Bacchus rides, and parties with Fats Domino as though they happened last night. As his special guest this year he invited his old friend Bubba Spell so that he might ‘regale us with stories of Papa Mac.’

(Felix 'Mac' McClanahan, my grandfather, pictured center at his oil rig on the Harvey Canal, 1960s)

I sometimes think that Uncle Jack lives in the past and forgets, perhaps sadly, that the good ol’ days are happening right now.

(pictured, 11/14/10: Bubba and Mary Ann Spell, Wendy Rodrigue, André Rodrigue, Jack McClanahan, Edwin 'Bubby' Yeager, Elizabeth McClanahan, Chris McClanahan, Kelly McClanahan Yeager, George Rodrigue (seated), Amanda Troyer, Leslie Johnson McClanahan, Jacques Rodrigue; regrettably my sister Heather and brother-and-law Vann were unable to join us)
Yet I settle comfortably into that past on occasion myself, as I did this weekend, attending NOMA’s Odyssey Ball wearing my grandmother’s pins in my hair and my mother’s fringe dress, circa 1960. I stared in the mirror and saw not myself, but Mignon, walking towards me, giving me one more chance to hold her dear.

Wendy

*Uncle Jack famously describes himself as “shy and demure.” Of course, he is anything but…

For a related post see "Mignon's Flowers"

For more on the New Orleans Museum of Art's centennial celebration visit "NOMA 100"

Coming up: "The Bronzes"

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Blonde

Reflections On an Insane Yet Wonderful Week
“How long were we gone?” asked George Rodrigue. “A week?”

“More like 48 hours,” I replied…

…as we recalled our visit to Little Rock, Arkansas last weekend, where we raised funds and awareness for arts education through events for the Thea Foundation and the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.

Between us, in just two days, we flew to Little Rock and back, where we presented three lectures, attended two cocktail parties, painted (in George’s case) and auctioned off an original painting, judged an art contest, toured the Thea Foundation offices and the neighboring Argenta Community Theatre, shared meals with clients, foundation supporters, and community leaders, visited a private art collection, and toured the Clinton Library.

“Did you forget to tell me that you’re running for office?” I asked George earlier this week, as I organized my list of thank-you notes.

(pictured, a painting demonstration and lecture in the Clinton Library, Little Rock)

Upon our return, we drove two hours west for the day, where I spoke to an audience of sixty women --- university professors, philanthropists, and friends --- about my search for identity as the wife of a famous artist. Presenting at the University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for the Women of Vision Lecture Series, we raised funds for the UL Foundation, as I explained my life’s journey through the art of Egypt, Austria, my mother, and of course George Rodrigue.* For some reason I’ll likely never understand, my audience hung in there as I spouted on, knowing full well that every woman in the room has a life just as (if not more) interesting.

(pictured, Selket guarding King Tut's tomb)

“But you’ve got to go to my lecture,” I pleaded with George that morning. “I’m a bit nervous about this one, and I need your support.”

Instead he spent the day signing his new silkscreen prints, claiming,

“If I’m there, Wendy, everyone will want to talk to me.”

Oh Brother…

Just as I understand better after visiting Arkansas how the city of Little Rock must have flipped when Bill Clinton became President of the United States, I can see how the Lafayette ladies would have flipped over George’s presence. I too still swoon at times when he talks about his art with that Cajun drawl. (You should be wrinkling your nose at the sap here, so go right ahead; nevertheless, it’s true).

Instead George spent the day only a few blocks from my speech, at his warehouse signing his newest silkscreen prints titled, appropriately, I’m the Real Thing. (for the story behind this coke machine visit here)

Yesterday we left our house in New Orleans early for another marathon day, this time in Lake Charles, Louisiana, sixty miles west of Lafayette, and more than three hours drive from our house.

While there, we hosted an informational luncheon for forty people to raise funds and awareness for the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA). We followed with a lecture and painting demonstration for more than four hundred people in the historic 1912 auditorium of the Central School Arts and Humanities Center, where George painted a Blue Dog for the crowd while I shared stories from his art and life.

From there we toured Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and reunited the painting Doctor on the Bayou (1982, 30x40, below) with its artist, followed by a reception for several hundred people in the hospital’s atrium, where we sold silkscreens of the classic painting to raise funds for the hospital’s foundation, as well as our own.

(For a detailed history of this painting visit here.)

(pictured above, Jacques Rodrigue and George Rodrigue at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, November 11, 2010)

It wasn’t until we reached our garage at 1:00 a.m. that we realized (and no longer cared) that we’d forgotten to eat.

At day's end we had a key to the city of Lake Charles (courtesy of the mayor), money for scholarships and student art supplies (through GRFA), several pieces of Blue Dog cake (courtesy of the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana and especially the marvelous Lake Charles bakery artist, Kelly Lowe of the Stacked Cake Company), an invitation to return in January for the opening of a museum exhibition of George’s work (courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art), and fond memories and stories of the 1984 ballet, Ghosts of Rodrigue, based on his Cajun paintings.

“It’s weird. I’m startin’ to feel like Marilyn Monroe,” said George, as he washed his face.

“Say what?” I turned with surprise from the side of the bathtub, where I sat rubbing my feet. “Used? Depressed? Blonde?

He explained,

“It’s like I’m two different people. I can’t believe they’re talking that way about me. I can’t believe all of those people showed up because of me.”

I looked at him, not knowing what to say. After all, in many ways this is a typical week.

“Why two people?” I asked. "Why Marilyn?” (Why not John Wayne or Johnny Cash?, I thought...)

“Well,” he mumbled through the toothpaste, “They all make a fuss over me, and then I come home and everything’s normal, like I’m a regular guy.”

You’re delirious. Go to bed.

Wendy

Pictured above: Marilyn Monroe with the Blues Brothers - Jacques, Wendy, George, and André, May 2004. For more on George’s sons, visit here.

*Also see "The Muse"

For a related post visit "Defining Success"


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Women of Vision

Inspired by an upcoming speech for UL Lafayette's 'Women of Vision' Lecture Series. For information see the bottom of this post-

George Rodrigue’s paintings of women focus on both myth and reality. In most cases they include strong women with important roles in their community, Louisiana’s cultural history, and their own families.

(pictured, Old Ladies Sewing, 1986, 30x40 inches, oil on canvas, collection of the Acadian Museum, Erath, Louisiana)

He paints these Cajun women in his typical fashion, shining like ghosts beneath the oak trees. They perform activities such as sewing and cooking, cultural characteristics and traditions that George saw fading and felt compelled to preserve through his art.

This visual record includes an ambiguous timeline. For example, in the painting The Patchwork Gift (1978, 48x60, pictured below), George painted a typical quilting party from 1950s New Iberia. Yet he dresses the women in earlier clothing, nineteenth or possibly eighteenth century, so that the figures embody a long cultural tradition as opposed to a specific event.

Quilting parties were a common Cajun tradition for years, especially at the church fair. Ladies worked on quilts stretched between thin sawhorses as they displayed their finished pieces for sale, raising money to benefit their church and community.

In addition, The Patchwork Gift, similar to Miss July 4th of Carencro (1977, below), is an excellent example of George’s focus on locking his subjects into the landscapes, an important aspect of his style ever since The Aioli Dinner of 1971. The women’s heads never touch the sky, but rather are framed by the oak trees and handmade quilts that help define their culture.

Women of Vision embody values that might change our world. They are the Mother Teresas and the Rosa Parks. They seek out new paths in their own lives for the betterment of humanity. These actions can be as grand as feeding thousands of people and working for civil rights, or as simple as donning a flag in celebration of our country. (pictured, a photograph from George's mother's album)

Evangeline, as described in the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (pub. 1847), is the quintessential Cajun female visionary. She represents the Acadian Grand Dérangement of 1755, as she searches for Gabriel through the bayous of south Louisiana. George has painted her many times, always seeking and pensive, not only looking for love, but also for a new home following the persecution of her culture and religion.

(For more Rodrigue Evangeline images, as well as a detailed history, visit here)

For George, the women in his family, such as Tante ‘Gite, pictured below with Cousin Mausolite in a painting from 1979, retain an importance as significant as Evangeline. When I asked him about Women of Vision in his paintings, he named his aunt first, explaining that she made an excellent gumbo.

“I watched the Cajuns of my childhood assimilate into the American culture, unable to remain isolated in the modern world. I show this graphically by blending the Acadians’ clothing with the trees and ground. Tante ‘Gite holds her famous gumbo in her lap, but her dress is part of the earth, and the gumbo is a part of her.” –G.R.

George painted other Women of Vision in a contemporary fashion unrelated to the early Acadians. New Orleans author Shirley Ann Grau (b. 1929) won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Keepers of the House in 1965. The images in the painting reflect symbols from her various novels and short stories.

(pictured, Shirley Ann Grau, 1983, 40x30, one of ten paintings for the Flora Levy Lecture Series at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; for the history and images of the complete collection visit here)

Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972) is the undisputable queen of gospel music. A New Orleans native, she found initial fame in Chicago, where she sang as a soloist at churches and funerals, eventually touring with Tommy Dorsey and recording with Columbia Records.

George painted Mahalia Jackson for the 1996 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Although the poster fell through, replaced by his painting of jazz great Pete Fountain, the painting remains an important record of an American Woman of Vision.

From George’s home area of Lafayette, Louisiana, former Governor Kathleen Blanco (b. 1942) qualifies as well. George’s enthusiasm for Blanco’s election in 2004, resulting in the first female governor of Louisiana, spilled over into his portrait of his long-time friend. He paints her in the tradition of his earlier portraits of Louisiana Governors Huey Long, Earl Long, and Edwin Edwards, with several added elements from the Cajun culture shared by both George and Blanco. This includes a seated Evangeline statue, as well as the loup-garou hiding within the sugarcane.

Finally, although I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘Women of Vision,’ simply because their paintings are more culturally symbolic than they are portraiture, Jolie Blonde and Evergreen Lake are important female protagonists on more than one hundred Rodrigue canvases, and I would feel remiss if I didn’t share at least one painting of each.

(pictured, George’s classic painting of Jolie Blonde from 1974; for her detailed story and additional images, see the post “From Jolie Blonde to Bodies: Paintings of Women”)

(pictured, George’s classic painting of Evergreen Lake from 1986; for her detailed story and additional images, see the post “Rosalea Murphy, the Pink Adobe, and Paintings of Evergreen Lake”)

This post does not come close to showing all of the Women of Vision in George Rodrigue’s paintings. However, it does hit some highlights --- both my favorites and his. In the end, I think it is the simple Cajun woman, timeless, and living among the bayous and oaks (the Swamp Woman!), that appeals to both of us the most.

I developed this essay in thinking about my upcoming lecture* at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for their series ‘Women of Vision.’ Now that I’ve worked it out, however, my speech will have little to do with what you read here, focusing instead, at George’s urging, on my own search for identity, as well as the unexpected life’s wonders that lead me here.

Wendy

*Women of Vision Lecture: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 1:30 p.m., The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette; $35 donation per person to the UL Lafayette Foundation; for tickets and information call (337)482-0922

*Coming later this week: “Little Rock and Lake Charles: On the Road for Arts Education”

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