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Musings, Clues, and the Rougarou: Why Is the Blue Dog Blue?

Musings, Clues, and the Rougarou: Why Is the Blue Dog Blue?

Wendy Rodrigue (L), widow of Louisiana painter George Rodrigue, shares some insight with Karen LeBlanc (R) at the West Baton Rouge Museum     ©2023 The Design Tourist

In the fall of 2023, the West Baton Rouge Museum hosted a special exhibition of Louisiana Blue Dog Painter George Rodrigue’s work, “The River Is the Road.” The Design Tourist, Karen LeBlanc, met and connected with Rodrigue’s widow, Wendy Rodrigue. The two women discussed what led the painter to create of one of Louisiana’s most enduring and iconic modern hallmarks and how Wendy’s own work helps keep his legacy alive. – Editor

Why is the Blue Dog Blue?

This question, not just a title of George Rodrigue’s famous book, but also a gateway into the world of his Blue Dog paintings, has intrigued art enthusiasts and cultural historians alike. These paintings, a blend of haunting beauty and hypnotic charm, have become a symbol of Louisiana’s rich heritage and Rodrigue’s artistic genius.

As a child growing up in South Louisiana, I was mesmerized by the Blue Dog paintings of George Rodrigue. Haunting and hypnotic, the Blue Dog appeared in various Louisiana landscapes as if bearing witness to our heritage, history, and culture. Yellow eyes and a cobalt blue fur coat, the Blue Dog sat perched in the same position, at eye level, not to be looked down upon but instead faced front on.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Blue Dog’s Origin

Over the years, I followed Rodrigue’s work as his Blue Dog paintings gained international fame, and the Blue Dog became a Louisiana icon. I never met the beloved Louisiana painter, and I’ve never owned a Blue Dog painting, although I’ve wanted one for years. He died in 2013 of cancer.

I was excited to have the opportunity to tour George’s art with his widow, Wendy Rodrigue, who travels the nation, bringing his Blue Dog paintings to school children to inspire future artists and foster art literacy.

Wendy shared that George painted his first Blue Dog in 1984 after years of painting Cajun folklore and Louisiana landscapes. I asked her if George had an “aha” moment when he decided to start painting the Blue Dog, which, surprisingly, didn’t start blue…. .

Read More at The Design Tourist

About The Source

Karen LeBlanc, The Design Tourist

Lifestyle and travel journalist Karen LeBlanc covers art, architecture, beauty, design, fashion, home decor, health and wellness, and travel. She interviews with trendsetters, tastemakers, and creative professionals, including authors, artists, artisans, designers, and makers and shares her travels as The Design Tourist exploring destinations through their heritage of craft and creativity.

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