Friday, January 15, 2010

Blue Dog Art

This is a great lesson worked up by Pam Wilkinson, who did it for the sixth graders.

George Rodrigue-- A Cajun Artist

History on the artist:

* Recent Artist- Born in 1944
* Born in Louisiana
* Had polio as a child and was bedridden for months. He took up painting and drawing to pass the time in bed.
* His talent was recognized immediately and was encouraged by his parents and teachers to pursue a career in art.
* George went the University of Southwest Louisiana, and then later went to Los Angeles to continue his studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
* He created his own brand of pop art, but felt he needed to return to Louisiana to express something of his Cajun background into his art.
* Once back in Louisiana, he started painting the bayou landscapes and established the oak tree as a symbol of the Cajun world and placed the oak tree in many of his paintings.
* He was invited to illustrate a collection of Cajun ghost stories. George painted his late dog, "Tiffany" as the dark creature of the tale of the "Loup-Garou", also known as an evil werewolf. He developed the story of the Blue Dog and the Blue Dog became a hit. His painting interpretation of the Blue Dog in the ghost story was originally an eerie blue white pale grey dog with bright red eyes. Over time, the Blue Dog became more friendly with a bright blue color and yellow eyes.
* If you were to visit New Orleans, Louisiana, today the Blue Dog image is everywhere! There are three Blue Dog galleries: one in New Orleans on Royal Street, one in Carmel, California and one in Aspen, Colorado. There is also a Blue Dog Cafe in New Orleans.
* George's pop art style is similar to Andy Warhol with very bright and vivid colors.
* He also has done many celebrity portraits like Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Whoopi Goldberg and Cher. He also has done many local celebrities like the great Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme. In this particular painting, George used some humor by paining Paul under an oak tree with a huge apple on his head to portray Paul's recent visit to New York (the Big Apple).
* Unlike Van Gogh, George has been successful in his lifetime with his paintings. His original paintings start at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
* He has also painted hurricanes in a very abstract pop art feel.

George Rodrigue featured on CBS Sunday Morning News:

George Rodrigue's official website:

Blue Dog painting examples:

Examples of his hurricane paintings:

Art Lesson:
have the students create their own "Blue Dog" by using a pencil first to create a very simple outline of a dog and then use oil pastels. The dog can be any color. (many of the students created purple, orange, pink and green dogs). Show them that faces are not perfect; not even their own faces. For example, ears are not perfectly shaped or even in the exact same location.

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