Blue Dog Oak (Old Friends)

Update August 9, 2013:  George Rodrigue (pictured below) inspects the proof for his new hand-pulled stone lithograph based on Blue Dog Oak, printing now in Paris, France.  For purchase details, contact Rodrigue Studio.  

For more on this process, see the post, “Looking for a Beach House,” describing another print made in this way.

George Rodrigue’s newest painting, Blue Dog Oak, reunites his favorite subjects in acrylic colors blended adeptly, as though oils.  Unlike his dark oaks of the early 1970s, Rodrigue’s trees today glow with intense hues; yet the rules remain as the hard edges and almost puzzle-like structure control his composition.

-click photo to enlarge-
(pictured, Blue Dog Oak, 2012 by George Rodrigue, 24×36 inches, acrylic on canvas)
The Blue Dog stands framed, surrounded by a pattern of sky and shadowed ground, the stylized fur beneath its ears echoing the oak’s pointed moss.  Without negative spaces, the painting’s structure defies reality.  The spaces between the branches create interesting shapes, clearly a self-imposed challenge for the artist.
(pictured, Rodrigue at his easel, November 2012, New Orleans)
Rodrigue paints the dog as though it’s a Cajun person.  Glowing in blue rather than white, it stands strong with the tree.  For Rodrigue, the tree and dog represent his best friends in art, the shapes he made his own.  Over the years, they grow and change on his canvas just as he does in life. 

As with his paintings of Cajun folk life, the light shines from beneath the tree.  For the Cajuns, this represents their hope, a longing to make a home for themselves in the swamps of southwest Louisiana following their deportment from Nova Scotiain 1755.
In recent paintings, however, Rodrigue paints the light not with the hope of the Cajun people, but rather with a general hope, a brighter future for all, as represented by the now omnipresent Blue Dog.

“People often ask me,” says Rodrigue, ‘Are you still painting oak trees?,’ and I reply, ‘Only when I want to.’  When I paint them today, it’s like visiting an old friend.  As with real friends, this reunion gives me pleasure.”

In Blue Dog Oak, Rodrigue reunites his established subjects on canvas, comfortable with their shapes and symbolism yet challenged, always, to create something unique, if not in subject, then in design and impression, as he seeks a finished painting titillating to his eye.
While exploring new directions in mixed media and chrome, it is Rodrigue’s old friends, the Oak Tree and Blue Dog, which propel him forward even as they, like Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart, connect him to the past.
-pictured above, Marilyn Monroe and other stars, unique large-scale works on chrome, part of Rodrigue’s Hollywood Stars

-for a related post, see “Sunshine and Love:  New Paintings”-

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3 thoughts on “Blue Dog Oak (Old Friends)

  1. Beautiful color on the Blue Dog Oak painting! And you can never go wrong with Marilyn – that's a great departure for him. And George looks so distinguished with beard and mustache! Quite a hottie!

  2. Homed in on the Spanish moss! Stylized and speaking for itself, as if it's coming back, defining those oaks, defining Louisiana, but not as well as George. Thank goodness he can put it on the canvas even if it disappears!

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