Monday, March 18, 2013

George Rodrigue-Blue Dog!

I love George Rodrigue and teaching about his famous Blue Dog!  We start this lesson watching some clips about his life and work.
Here are links to the three we watch:
This video is from an episode of CBS Saturday Morning
This is on teacher tube.
This is from a PBS documentary
I always download these videos to my real player so that there are no ads or unwanted pop-ups to deal with.  I always preview them and make sure that they are school appropriate.

We discuss the loup-garou legend and we also look at the George Rodrigue Website. We think about how Rodrigue changed how he viewed the loup-garou that he painted as he heard patrons in galleries call it "blue dog" and how he uses this image to promote and support the ideas and causes that are important to him.

Then, the students are challenged.  I asked them, "What is important to you?", "Do you have any special causes that you want others to pay attention to?", "What will the Blue Dog represent and support in your painting?"  Students sketch their inspired versions of Blue Dog.  The two things I ask for each artist to do: 1. Place your blue dog in a background that shows what you are passionate about in your life 2. Make sure you convey a message through your blue dog.

I do this lesson with third graders and most, thankfully, haven't had any earth shattering events in their life, yet.  I do, however, emphasize that art is therapeutic and can help give you a voice and purpose.  Most students choose to do a sport or activity to promote, but I did have a couple of students last year who chose to do their Blue Dog about breast cancer awareness.  One had lost a mom to cancer and the other one had a mom fighting the battle.

Day 1: Learn about the artist and practice sketching in sketchbooks.  Brainstorm ideas.
Day 2: Draw lightly on large paper and sharpie lines
Days3-5: Paint or use colored pencils (I have a few students who dislike painting)
Day6: Finish up and add some strong lines with oil pastels or sharpie.  Some students added some glitter and sparkle, too.  Then, write an artist statement about your work and share with classmates. 

I am one of many who post a Blue Dog lesson!  I got this idea from pinterest, the site that saved me my first year teaching!  I try to put my own twist and angle on every lesson and I appreciate all the bloggers and pinners out there sharing their ideas and lesson!  Thank you for inspiring me!


  1. Hi Rebecca

    Welcome to the Art Ed blog world. Mr. E sent me!

    I love your take on the blue dog. It is really great to see how all the kids personalized their dogs.

    Rina at

  2. I really like your take on the Blue Dog project. I am getting ready to start this lesson with my 3rd graders, too. I like the idea of having the students choose something they are passionate about for the background. I thought about having them choose a famous artist and use one of their paintings for the background so I might try both. I'm glad I found your blog and am now following you. Your life story and how you came to be an art teacher was very interesting!


  3. Hi Rebecca,
    I too found your through Mr E!
    I've enjoyed exploring your blog & will be following you with interest :)
    Cheers, Elizabeth

  4. I'm so impressed with these paintings as well! I've been wanting to do the blue dog project - you've re-inspired me to get it going this year! :)