Monday, September 16, 2013

A New Rodrigue Book


“To your book!”

…toasted George Rodrigue and son AndrĂ© as we perused the first copies of the finished hardcover, The Other Side of the Painting.

“I nearly forgot about it…”

…I replied, moved by their acknowledgment, as I returned that day from a long journey after visiting an ill friend back east.  The book (still hard to write the words, “my book”), seemed terribly important during many months of rewrites and edits before slipping from my hands and into the printer’s.


(pictured, The Other Side of the Painting, 2013, 474 pages, UL Press; available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your favorite independent bookstore; click photo to enlarge-)

And of course, it’s not really my book.  It’s a Rodrigue book, a memoir starring George, and sometimes me, and sometimes others, as the main character.

"What do you think your last name is?" interjects George, as he reads the draft for this blog post.

In addition, George Rodrigue designed the layout.  The cover features a 1965 painting, completed during a studio art class while he studied at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and blended in this updated design with the Blue Dog.  Within the 474 pages are paintings and photographs, one per essay, reduced by George to black and white line drawings referencing the text.

-click photos to enlarge-


Unlike my blog, this book, although not a traditional narrative, adheres to a flow, so that even those familiar with Musings of an Artist’s Wife hopefully see the material anew.  In addition, throughout this book, I reworked the original essays, applying a consistent and updated style to basic story lines, such as George’s early years in New Iberia and Lafayette, the development of his Cajun and Blue Dog paintings, and the roots of how and why we explore the visual arts both individually and together.

Within this history, the book integrates today’s Rodrigue story, including the latest from his easel, the goals within our business, the emotions behind his health issues, and our combined passion for the arts in education.

As happens in life, we scaled back the book tour in favor of local events.  George and I hope to see you at the following confirmed dates:

October 16, 7:00 p.m., East Bank Regional Library, Metairie, LA
Coffee & Conversation hosted by the Jefferson Parish Library and the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival; details here-

December 4-8, Words and Music Festival, New Orleans
         Hosted by the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society; details TBA

December 11, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, New Orleans
      Toast the holidays with George and Wendy Rodrigue during this special book signing at the GRFA Education Center-

December 14, 1:00 p.m.  LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge

January 26, 2014  3:00 p.m.  River House Books, Carmel, CA

Visit this link and sign up for the Rodrigue Studio email list for updates.


(pictured, a deluxe special edition of The Other Side of the Painting, signed by George and Wendy Rodrigue, limited to 500 copies; details here-)

Although pleased with the outcome, I’m still not sure if this blog-to-book format works.  My hope from the beginning with Musings of an Artist’s Wife was that the blog would attract a biographer for George.  Although several writers came forward in recent years, George passed, insisting,

“The blog is my biography, especially now that it’s transferred to a book.  After ten publications, I’ve learned a lot about these projects.  A biographer stepping in now would begin from nothing.

“Wendy’s right here, on this journey with me for nearly twenty-five years.  For me this was the natural way to go.  She covers my life in the accurate way of a biographer, but with the personal access available only to her as my wife.”


To George, both the blog and book tell his story, and our story, in a non-traditional, refreshing format.  And, because the journey is ongoing, maybe that’s good enough for now.

Wendy

-pictured above, from the endsheets, photographed and designed by George Rodrigue-

-all proceeds from The Other Side of the Painting benefit the arts and education programs of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.  This includes not only the regular edition available at your favorite bookstore, but also a special signed and numbered boxed edition, available only through Rodrigue Studio.  Buy here-

-this fall, see a book-related exhibition of paintings and photographs from our personal collection, premiering November 2, 2013 at the State Library of Louisiana during the Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge; details here-

-for more art and discussion, please join me on facebook-




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5 comments:

  1. If you'd asked me, I'd have told you that October was NEVER going to get here! (I still have my doubts...) Ready or not, here she comes!

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    1. Thank you Patty! And thank you especially for your encouragement these many months and your wonderful Foreword. Cheers to YOU!

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  2. Wendy, when my cousin Rodger Landers and I were in New Orleans August 1 (the same time as Lindy Boggs traditional funeral) I finally got a chance to go by and visit your gallery in the Quarter. What a delight it was to see the actual pieces and to speak with the lady there (unfortunately I lost her business card and do not remember her name) but she told us of your upcoming book and your planned visit to Dallas on the book tour. I was so looking forward to meeting you both, but understand your cutting back on your tour plans. From your description of your book it seems you have used your creative abilities to produce a unique book. Obviously a lot of thought and effort went into the entire process including the publishing aspect. The boxed version would be a treasure if there are still any copies left the next time we come to N.O. Congratulations to you, Wendy, and good luck. Finally kudos to you for donating the proceeds to your arts education endeavors.
    Glenn Currier

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Glenn, about the gallery, book, paintings, our wonderful staff, et al. George and I regret that we had to scale back the tour this fall; however, if circumstances allow, we may hit a few additional stops in the spring. Dallas is always a favorite-

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    2. Oh good. That would be marvelous. Rodger and I saw the WW II Museum when we were in N.O. on the 1st but did not get to linger at some of the exhibits so we are already talking about a return visit and of course we'll go by the Rodrigue gallery again. I forgot to tell you that the pieces I liked the most were the ones done on metal. It must be an intriguing process. Blessings and good health to you both.

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