Thursday, June 30, 2011

Musings of Heather the Great (an Artist’s Sister-in-Law)


My sister, Heather Wolfe Parker, a.k.a. 'Heather T. Great,' (her title since grade school), steps in as a guest-blogger this week- 


“Hello?”

“Hey George! It’s your sister.”

“Who?”


(pictured above, my son Wyatt, me, my dad, George)

It’s the same ol’ dull routine each time I phone.

Poor George has been bludgeoned by the force that is our family for nearly twenty years.

I first met George Rodrigue when I was twenty, an Ole Miss sophomore with little more than the next party on my mind.  He was, and remains, unintimidating, as he rendered me effortlessly on a wine-stained cocktail napkin.

It wasn’t long before George began accompanying my sister on our Wyoming family vacations and showing up on the New Orleans West Bank at my Grandma Helen’s for Christmas. Clearly this was serious torture that my own future husband endured simultaneously. I started thinking that this guy might be serious about my sister.

Sure enough, they married, and my sister inherited two boys, an old lady, and a French, wannabe Don Juan named Romain. So I packed a bag and visited the honeymooners in Lafayette.

What I found startled me. My independent, savvy sister wore her apron like a badge of courage as she cooked and gardened relentlessly. Honestly, I never knew she could make anything other than tacos and tuna salad. Who’s Your Mama? Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux? (Marcelle Beinvenue) became her Bible, as she heeded our mom’s only homemaking advice: “If you can read, you can cook.” Chocolate cakes and red beans and rice quickly vanished as teenage boys clambered through the kitchen.

I felt like an outsider in this odd house of boys, and I wondered if my sister shared similar feelings. How was I to understand these testosterone laden people who were taking my sister away?


Her days long and tiring, Wendy dropped into bed early in order to rise before dawn and bake the next cake. Bored, I hovered in the kitchen lapping up dessert crumbs when André came in. “Hey.” “Hey”. Those were the only words my new nephew, three years my junior, and I had ever spoken.  Then he broke the ice. “Would you like some ice cream?” I’m more of a salty gal, but I couldn’t pass up the offer for some company or the opportunity to get to know this new part of my family. “I’d love some.”

We sat for hours discussing Star Wars, André and I both anxiously awaiting the prequels. I listened rather clueless to his many concerns about China. He shared his interest in war history. As an Art History major, I shared my descriptions of artists such as Delacroix and Leutze, who painted history for me. We became friends.


In the years since my fleeting moment of boredom in Wendy’s Lafayette kitchen, the honeymooners’ booming business moved them to New Orleans. Jacques earned a law degree and operates the thriving George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. André continues to pursue knowledge in all forms, and is known as a won-ton whiz at his Lafayette restaurant, the Blue Dog Café, co-owned with his brother. And, as luck would have it, my husband and I were blessed with two boys.


My boys are visiting Aunt Wendy and Uncle George this week, attending art camp at the Foundation while my sister and I plan our 4th of July festivities and she completes tasks for the upcoming Baton Rouge exhibition. Because we want her to play by the pool and join us for an airboat ride, I’ve attempted to lighten her load with this post. Please don’t hold it against her.

Heather

Note from Wendy:  Many thanks to my sister Heather for lightening my load with a guest post!  You can follow her regularly at her blog, Adventures of a BMX Mom

I did manage to post for Gambit this week.  I hope you enjoy 'A Muddled World,' the crazy account of my search for a stranger in a Thibodaux shelter following Hurricane Katrina

Now, if only I can get my LSU Museum work done in time for the airboat ride.........



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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Looking for Summer Shade

Update 7/20/2012:

Another hot summer, this one spent unexpectedly in Houston, Texas, finds us missing our annual cross country drive once again.  Unlike last year's Louisiana exhibitions, however, this year we look forward to Blue Dogs in Texas, opening August 10th at the Amarillo Museum of Art, continuing until October 14, 2012.  Contact the museum for programming.


6/25/11

It is one hot summer, and for the first time in twenty years, George Rodrigue and I remain in Louisiana throughout the steamy months. 

(pictured, My Future’s So Bright, I’ve Got to Wear Shades, 1993, silkscreen edition of 100)


Most years we hit the road in our truck, driving west.  We used to say that our vacation starts the minute we cross the Texas border into New Mexico; but we’ve softened on that point, falling in love with the Lone Star State.  Fort Stockton is now a destination, and tradition insists that I drive the long stretch between Wichita Falls and Amarillo, so that George is free to photograph the grain silos and the cattle.

(See the Texas posts to the right of this story under “The Road”) 


This year we only dream about those drives, tied to Louisiana for a yearlong statewide traveling museum exhibition of George Rodrigue’s paintings, sponsored by the New Orleans Museum of Art.  This involves many events, including lectures, painting demonstrations, children’s workshops, receptions with the artist and more, with the next round beginning late July at the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge. (See the bottom of this post for a schedule of events; for details from the recent painting demo in Alexandria, pictured below, visit here.  Click image to zoom).


I wrote a blog this week for Gambit, the New Orleans weekly paper, about the "Summer of Love," about heartbreak and true love, revealing probably way too much of our personal lives, and yet blending easily into the universal.  

“After all,” wrote one reader, “who hasn’t felt this way before?” 

(read “Summer of Love” here, if you dare)

The experience of writing the story left me sentimental and romantic, both appropriate feelings for a ‘glowing’ southern gal (that’s right, the rumor is true; we don’t sweat), as I recall my New Orleans cousin, when she fainted on the dance floor in the middle of her August wedding reception,

“Ya’ll keep dancing,” sighed the bride, as she dropped to the ground, “it’s just the vapors.”


(Read about the Cajun Bride of Oak Alley, pictured above, here)

In New Orleans, people rarely complain about the heat.  We women don sundresses, and the men break out their seersucker.  We carry fans to parties, sweaters to heavily air-conditioned movies, and koozies just in case….

We also visit with family.  My sister, who lives in Tallahassee, Florida, runs a summer camp for her boys, constantly making plans for them over the hot months.  Last year they visited us in Carmel, California, where they painted and goofed off with Uncle George


This year they arrive tomorrow to attend the “Made in Louisiana” art camp sponsored by the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.  Happily, George agreed to surprise the class with some one-on-one instruction periodically over the week.

(pictured, a photo from last week’s camp, “Oaks, Cajuns and Blue Dogs Galore!”)


Our nephews remain through the Fourth of July, my father’s birthday.  I just wrote about him too (story here), and well, it’s important that he enjoy his special day with his children and grandchildren.  So, my apologies ahead of time, but you may be stuck with a re-post of something ---maybe Texas--- next week. 

I’m not dropping off of the map, however, and I hope to see you on twitter, where I’ll break from art camp, museum labels, or the sunshine to post a photo from George's easel, a brief update, or a simple ‘hello.’

(pictured, Looking for Summer Shade, 1973)


And George?  Oh he’ll hang out at the pool with us some.  But mostly he’s thinking about his art and upcoming shows.  Although unconfirmed, we have a fun one in the works for late 2012.  

Here’s a teaser… (be sure to click the photo to enlarge...)


Happy Summer!

Wendy

The LSU Museum of Art Rodrigue events include:

7/21            Educator Workshop, Press Preview, Sponsorship Party (contact GRFA for details)

7/22            Members Only Opening (contact LSU MOA for membership information)

7/23            Public Opening, including children’s events, book signings, family painting demonstration with George Rodrigue (contact LSU MOA for reservations)

7/24            Painting demonstration and lecture with George Rodrigue in the Manship Theatre; space limited to 325; book signing following (contact LSU MOA for details)

8/4            Young Professionals Night, sponsored by GRFA and Forum 35; $10 admission

8/19            Musings of an Artist’s Wife (Ladies lunchtime lecture with Wendy Rodrigue, including a private museum tour); Hilton Hotel, $50 per person (Contact LSU MOA for reservations; space is limited).  Hope you’ll join me!  All proceeds benefit the arts in our state-

8/20            In the Kitchen with Chef Paul Prudhomme and George Rodrigue, followed by a book signing with both (Contact LSU MOA for details)

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Artist's Father: George Godfrey Rodrigue, Sr. (Daddy and Baby George)


George Rodrigue rarely speaks of his father.  I’ve written before about his construction and tomb business, as well as peripheral facts regarding his Cajun heritage.  But even when pressed, I had a hard time pulling personal information about Big George from his son.

As I suspected, George struggles with these memories, and he stared in the distance and spoke slowly, obviously distressed.  I strained to hear him over the music in his studio, but he protested as I moved to turn it down, saying that Johnny Cash and “Luther Sang the Boogie” helped him with the past.


“Mama called him Daddy and everybody called me Baby George.  To the town my daddy was “Big George,” not only because we shared a name, but also because he had huge hands and was big and strong.  One cousin remembers my daddy lifting the back of a Model T Ford off of the ground.

“He quit school in the 6th grade to work with his father, who also was a bricklayer. My daddy was a pitcher for the New Iberia baseball team.


“He was what they called a Master Mason, because he built fireplaces and designed brick boilers for the sugar mills.  He was an artist in his own right, and he built his reputation on that.


“He built the wishing well in our backyard because my mama wanted one.  He built her a brick house because she wanted a brick house.  Afterwards he built her a den off the back because she wanted that too.  She got anything she wanted, and more…


“My daddy surprised her when a master carpenter designed an elaborate roof for the wishing well.  She screamed about the expense and they fought bitterly.  But she got it anyway and everyone, including her, enjoyed it.  We had tadpoles and two frogs, and then we let them go.  We tried out goldfish, perch, and all sorts of minnows. 

(Note:  It’s because of this well, I believe, that George will never sell this house.  He painted it many times, such as this beautiful interpretation of Evangeline).


“I was in the 8th grade when Daddy got sick.  They took me to the hospital in Lafayette and told me that he would die.  But when I woke in the morning in the waiting room, they said he made it through the night.  My mama sat clicking her rosary beads.  She thought it was a miracle.

“His illness changed his life, and he wasn’t the same for ten years, until he died in 1967.  He never saw me become an artist, but he saw me paint as a kid in my studio in the attic.”

(Big George holds a small dog in this painting from 1972)


But George, I pressed, what was he like as a person?  Tell me about his personality, his beliefs.  What kind of man do you remember?

He sat quiet for a long time, his mind elsewhere, recalling a father he never really knew.

“He just wasn’t the same after he got sick.  I didn’t understand who he was when I was in the 8th grade, and so in a way I never knew him at all.”

Finally he shared the random stories, the bits and pieces he found in his mind.

“Others told me that he laughed and told jokes. 


“He and my mama traveled throughout south Louisiana looking for bricklaying jobs for twenty years until they settled in New Iberia.

“When the street fair came to town, he knocked the bottles from the shelves with three balls.  He won so many prizes that they banned him from the fair.  But he changed his clothes and hat and returned, disguised, to play again.  That was long before I was born.


(pictured, George's father helps balance the ladies in Boudreaux in a Barrel from 1972; for more on this classic painting visit here)

“I was a pitcher for a while in the Boy Scouts.  Daddy was the umpire, so naturally I never threw a ball.  I remember one time when I lost control of the ball and it went straight in the air.  The catcher caught it and someone in the stands yelled,

“Well Ump, don’t you think that’s a strike?”

Tell me that story again about when you went fishing. 

“After his surgery, he couldn’t work.  Mostly he sat bored in the house.  So we went fishing.  We found all kinds of places in south Louisiana, some private, some paid, and some on the levee."

What did you talk about?

“It was important to him that I never pick up a brick.  He said it over and over.  He wanted me to do something else.  When I started drawing, he forbid me to be an architect.  I like to draw plans, but he hated architects, because he said that they only know how to draw stuff on paper and not how to build, not how to make it a reality.


“I was spoiled because I was an only child, but he had two sisters, Aunt Pauline and Aunt Evelyn, and they spoiled him.  When they died, we inherited their businesses, which he tried to run --- rent houses, bars, trailer parks, and other projects from their husbands.  Eventually my parents sold everything, unable to keep it up.”

Anything else, George?

“He left fireplaces, houses, walkways, all things people still use.  And I guess that’s his legacy.  He built my uncle’s house, my cousin’s house, and two houses for us.  


(pictured, the Rodrigue family home on St. Peter Street in New Iberia, as it looks today)

"I watched him build fireplaces and complicated steps.  He never finished school, but he had a book for his figures.  To do that kind of work involved a lot of math, and I guess he taught himself.

“He died too young, and he got sick before I really got to know him or before he got to know me.”


Wendy

For a related post see "How Baby George Became an Artist"

Also in honor of Father’s Day, a post about my dad in this week’s Gambit:  A daughter learns the shocking truth about her parents in “For My Father


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Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Number One Tiger Fan


From his earliest commission, a valuable lesson at age fifteen when the funeral home director Mr. Burgess refused to pay the agreed-upon fifty-dollar price for his portrait, George Rodrigue tossed around the pros and cons of outside projects.  Everyone has an idea, most well meaning but ill advised.

Human nature requests the obvious, and George understands as well as anyone that nothing happens without trying.  Ultimately it is George, however, who faces decisions based on his concept of ‘legacy,’ whether artistic, financial, cultural, societal, familial, philanthropic or otherwise.  It is up to George to remain true to his vision.


(click photos to enlarge.... Thomas Livesay, Director of the LSU Museum of Art; Artist George Rodrigue, Founder of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts; General Ronald Richard, President and CEO of the Tiger Athletic Foundation; Todd Graves of Raising Cane's)

But every once in a while a plan comes along that enhances not only George Rodrigue’s long and short-term goals, but also those of others.  Of course he thought in the past of painting the Blue Dog wearing an LSU jersey; however, he worried about his image, about endorsement and commercialization

“It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the jersey was perfect.” – G.R.

That nagging concern, ironically, resulted in a fund-raising phenomenon in 2003, when a group of LSU students, including George’s son Jacques Rodrigue, showed concern for their mascot’s living conditions.  They approached George for help, hoping for a related Blue Dog print. 




George, however, painted Mike The Tiger.  He avoided using the Blue Dog, because his gut told him to wait.  In hindsight, it was a good call, and sales from prints of Mike the Tiger raised more than $1 million, building Mike a large and elaborate habitat on the LSU grounds.

Yet George, a huge LSU fan, knew he held a prize, an image of the Blue Dog that not only appeals to thousands of LSU students, alumni, and fans, but also benefits, through our foundation and others, thousands of Louisianians, whether connected to the university or not.

“The excuse to finally produce this print comes from raising money for an important cause, money we can put to great use immediately.” – G.R.

In 2011, George Rodrigue teams up with the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF), The Louisiana State University Museum of Art (LSU MOA) at the Shaw Center, and the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) to raise money for education and the arts in Louisiana.

This ambitious fund-raising project coincides with a statewide touring exhibition of original Rodrigue artwork, a series of shows scheduled by the New Orleans Museum of Art based on the museum’s large Rodrigue collection, as well as the success of its 2008 retrospective on the artist.


The traveling exhibition started in the summer of 2010 at the Slidell Cultural Center, followed by expanded versions at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum in Lake Charles (detailed along with an insane week of events here) and the Masur Museum in Monroe (story here), as well as a related exhibition of Rodrigue’s Saga of the Acadians at the Alexandria Museum of Art (on view until July 1 and detailed here). 


The tour culminates with two large-scale exhibitions in Baton Rouge (at the LSU Museum of Art, July 23 to September 18) and Shreveport (at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, September 23 to December 30), both enhanced with paintings from local collectors and Rodrigue’s personal archives. 


(pictured, the exhibition poster for “Blue Dogs and Cajuns on the River,” July 23 – September 18 at the LSU MOA at the Shaw Center, Baton Rouge; for more on this image visit here)

In addition, these shows spotlight sculptural works, including Cajun bronzes from the mid-1970s, large-scale steel, aluminum and chrome Blue Dogs, and unique works of furniture and other three-dimensional items created in 2011 specifically for these exhibitions.


The Baton Rouge LSU MOA exhibition is the first time all five of Rodrigue’s Louisiana Governor’s portraits hang together.  Also included is the first Blue Dog painting, the original painting of Mike the Tiger, the complete Saga of the Acadians, a selection of memorabilia chosen by Rodrigue for this exhibition, and more than seventy original works of art ranging in date from 1969 to 2011.

The exhibition’s highlight in both Baton Rouge and Shreveport is the original 6x4 foot painting, A Number One Tiger Fan, on loan from Rodrigue’s personal collection. 


Signed silkscreen prints from this painting went on sale this week exclusively at the LSU Museum of Art gift shop and at www.arts4education.org, continuing until January 1, 2012.  All proceeds benefit arts and education programs sponsored by the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the LSU Museum of Art, and the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.

“Clearly,” says George Rodrigue, “the timing was right for this print.  Through my new foundation I use the proceeds to provide scholarships, art supplies and a wide-range of support to Louisiana’s arts programs.
“The image itself raises two distinct memories:  LSU as national champions in 1958 and again in 2004.  I watched both games from the stands, and along with the Saints Super Bowl victory of 2010, they are for me the greatest football moments ever.”


Related LSU MOA events with the artist include lectures, painting demonstrations, children’s workshops and more, detailed here.

I hope to see you all in Baton Rouge this summer and in Shreveport this fall.  Thank you, Louisiana!

Wendy

To purchase the signed silkscreen, A Number One Tiger Fan, visit www.arts4education.org

For a related article from the Baton Rouge Advocate, visit here

Visit here for a list of lectures and other events with George Rodrigue at the LSU Museum of Art this summer

With special thanks to the New Orleans Museum of Art, LSU alumnus Todd Graves, Raising Cane’s, Forum 35, the Blue Dog Café, Chef Paul Prudhomme, the Shaw Center for the Arts, and the Baton Rouge Hilton Hotel

Fun on the road with George Rodrigue in this week’s post for Gambit, “Breakfast at Lea’s Pies

Please join me on twitter this month, as I share photographs and vignettes from George Rodrigue’s studio in Carmel, California

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blue Dogs, Ghost Ranch and Mrs. Wertheimer: George Rodrigue at the Alexandria Museum of Art


“She created her own world, and I created mine,” explains George Rodrigue to his audience at the Alexandria Museum of Art last week, as he nods from a New Mexico landscape (left of the podium; click photo to enlarge) to his own wet Blue Dog canvas.



I made a mental note to remember the line, the nicest thing he’s ever said about artist Georgia O’Keeffe (related post here).

“I’ve been to Ghost Ranch,” he continued, “and this painting has no relationship to the actual mountains.  But that’s okay.  That’s the prerogative of the artist, to interpret what he or she sees and make it their own.”

Normally in an auditorium, this unusual painting demonstration occurred within the museum’s largest exhibition space, surrounded by Copley to Warhol, a collection of thirty American masterpieces from the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), on tour throughout Louisiana during 2011 as the museum celebrates its centennial

In a bit of irony, NOMA also tours its significant Rodrigue collection this year, an exhibition recently ended in Monroe at the Masur Museum (story here) and opening July 23rd in Baton Rouge at the LSU Museum of Art (story here), followed by the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport this fall.  Due to logistical problems, however, Alexandria missed the Rodrigue show. 

The Anne and Wendell Gauthier family of New Orleans came to the rescue, loaning Alexandria the Saga of the Acadians, a series of fifteen paintings created by Rodrigue between 1985 and 1989.  Without an auditorium, the museum’s lecture plans, we assumed, included the small gallery housing these works. 

Be sure and click the photo to enlarge-



(pictured above, the Saga of the Acadians, as it appeared in the Lake Charles Calcasieu Museum earlier this year; for a detailed history of this important series of paintings visit here)

Anticipating a large crowd, the Alexandria Museum of Art had other ideas, however, which is how George ended up nodding to Georgia O’Keeffe, and I ended up speaking in the presence of Mrs. Asher B. Wertheimer, I immediately thought to myself, as the London socialite stared at me from across the room. 



It was recently that I dove into the scandalous story of John Singer Sargent and Madame X for the post “American Artists in Paris.”  Now the elegant Mrs. Wertheimer watched me as though she were the face of art history and patronage, evaluating my delivery and checking my facts.



(pictured, John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Mrs. Asher B. Wertheimer, 1898)

George painted as I shared his story with the audience.  He worked quickly, with large brushes and paint straight from the tube, completing a painting in less than one hour for entertainment’s sake, only to repaint it later over several days in his studio.  As he turned a blank canvas into something else, I spoke, reacting to the great works in the room.



As a young man returned from art school, I explained, George made the decision almost immediately to paint Louisiana.  He visited the New Orleans Museum of Art and studied the great masters, especially the Hudson River School.  He reacted to the works of Richard Clague, Joseph Meeker and Ellsworth Woodward.

I gestured to the dreamland of visual aides hanging on the wall.  The heads turned from George’s canvas, straining instead to see this European style, both the birds-eye view of the classically trained artists and the painted reflections of the Impressionists.



(pictured, a landscape by Richard Clague, 1816-1878)

For George, this is not Louisiana.  He found his own direction, pushing the oak tree to the front of his canvas, cutting it off at the top so that the light shines from beneath its moss and branches, and defining his distinct shape with hard edges.  From the beginning, he graphically interpreted Louisiana with hopes of preserving the fading Cajun culture.

(pictured, Rodrigue in his studio, 1971)



“The difference between everyday art and great art is that everyday art might look good when you first see it, but after two or three days you lose interest. 
“These paintings,” explained George Rodrigue as he gestured to the walls, “continue to ask questions; they retain mystery; and they retain a distinct quality so strong that each artist holds his own among the others, even in a room of paintings spanning two hundred years.”

A man raised his hand.

“Your painting looks alive to me,” he said.  “I watched you paint, and yet I can’t explain in my mind why your approach differs from illustration.  I see it, but I don’t understand it.  How did you paint something that looks so alive?”



George referenced the walls again, unable to resist the energy in the room, as though America’s greatest artists depended on his answer.

“It’s in the artist’s mind, in his approach,” he explained, as he looked towards Warhol, Rivers and Inness.  “All of the paintings here look alive.  In great art the viewer has a constant communication with the painting, no matter what the painting’s age. 
“An illustrator’s role in creating art is to hold the viewer’s attention for two or three minutes.  He doesn’t intend his art to have a lasting effect with permanent communication.”

Following the painting demonstration, George visited with the crowd.  Some remembered him selling his paintings on the road from the trunk of his car.  Others shared their children’s versions of Blue Dog.  One couple presented him with a letter describing their feelings for Tee Coon Gone Fishing:

Tee Coon looks wonderful in our dining room, and he reminds us daily how happy we are to be ‘home’ in Louisiana.  Your painting is one of our most treasured possessions.”

Another pointed out a Rodrigue steamboat painting, circa 1972, donated by their family to the Alexandria Museum of Art.



George ended the evening with a favorite piece of advice recalled from art school:

“Art is like a yardstick (held horizontally) with the Mona Lisa at one end and black paint on a black canvas at the other.  Most artists move back and forth along the stick, getting nowhere.  It’s important, however, to find your place on that stick and go up.”

He looked again at the masterpieces hanging in the room, pausing with begrudging respect at the O’Keeffe.

“Once you’re up here,” he continued, pointing to an imaginary spot in the air some two feet above the imaginary stick, “you are by yourself.”
“Once you’re up here,” he emphasized, “no one can touch you.”

Wendy



Pictured above, George Rodrigue celebrates the opening of his new foundation offices this week at Magazine and Julia Streets, in the New Orleans Arts District

Rodrigue’s Saga of the Acadians and NOMA’s Copley to Warhol continue at the Alexandria Museum of Art through July 1, 2011; also on view, award-winning artwork from our sixteen 2011 scholarship finalists, sponsored by the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts

The Alexandria Town Talk reviews Rodrigue’s visit in an article here

This week for Gambit:  "Breakfast at Lea's Pies," an account of our adventures on the road as we returned from Alexandria

I hope you’ll join me on twitter this month as I post photographs and musings from George Rodrigue’s studio in Carmel, California

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Immaculate Dog


“He was honestly shocked that he was getting paid for his art,” recalls Cindy Dore Brunet of Houston, Texas.

George Rodrigue arrived at her house twenty years ago in his blue van, the back lined with freshly painted mahogany Blue Dogs, carved from George's design by Douglas Shiell’s father, a master craftsman whose son assists George in numerous projects today.

From his earliest Landscapes and Cajun paintings, George Rodrigue marveled that people paid him for his art.  It was the Blue Dog, however, that surprised him most.  Like his other series, it developed from his own artistic interests, without outside influence, and despite doubting onlookers.

Was it divine intervention?



At George’s insistence, rather than explore that question, I merely pose it, sending you instead to adventures, photographs, and paintings (by Rodrigue and others) from Canada, where I encountered culture and history (and paté!) with my sister last week.  The post for Gambit, linked here and titled "A European City in America," poses another question, 

Is New Orleans America's most European city? 

I hope you enjoy and I sincerely thank you, as always, for reading.

I leave you with a photograph of George Rodrigue, who found a dose of history on Royal Street in New Orleans this week at M.S. Rau Antiques, where he stumbled on Anne-Louis Girodet’s portrait of Napoleon from 1812.



Wendy

Hope you’ll join me on twitter, where I’ll share images from George Rodrigue’s studio in Carmel, California during the month of June



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