“I’m expressing the feelings of mankind today through the Blue Dog. The dog is always having problems of the heart, of growing up, the problems of life. The dog looks at us and asks, ‘Why am I here? What am I doing? Where am I going?’ Those are the same questions we ask ourselves. People look at the paintings, and the paintings speak back to them.”
Have you ever seen a painting, or walked around a sculpture, or read a paragraph and just…just stopped? Have you ever had that moment where an object created by another person’s mind and hands just strikes you? Leaves you wanting?
I felt that something the first time I saw a George Rodrigue Blue Dog hanging in a gallery window. It was a meeting by chance and circumstance that started with an innocent walk with the practice husband through the French Quarter and ended with an expensive silkscreen being shipped back to our LA home. The “Mardi Gras Cats” and their mistress have since followed me a great distance. (A Blue Dog has lived with me in every home since 2000 and I am so grateful that dear Jason allows them still.)
Over the course of my marriage to the practice husband we collected several pieces of Rodrigue’s work. Each Blue Dog managed to absorb the emotions and event of the time, and so they all carry a little happiness and turmoil inside them.
I often think that the first print we purchased foretold the coming of Iona the corgi, and the last painting, (“Where are We Going”) foreshadowed the coming of our demise. Upon our separation the Blue Dogs too were divided.
I was fortunate to have met George Rodrigue on a couple of occasions and found him, his beautiful wife, his friends, and his team of ‘family’, to be the most delightful and genuine of people. Ask me someday about attending a party at his home in New Orleans and I may tear up when describing the shock at seeing the stunning and infamous Loup-garou hanging in their kitchen.
Last December, George Rodrigue died from cancer at age 69. I remember reading about it, mulling about it, and promptly putting the knowledge aside.
And then suddenly yesterday, as I stood in front of “We Will Rise Again”, I felt sad. It was as if I was hearing of Rodrigue’s death for the first time. Yes, the painting spoke to me and I felt blue.
It’s the reason we hang art in our homes, I suppose. Because sometimes you need those moments to be reminded. You need someone to speak to you, even when no one is there. “The dog looks at us and asks, ‘Why am I here? What am I doing? Where am I going?’ Those are the same questions we ask ourselves. People look at the paintings, and the paintings speak back to them.”