Aaaaah, George Rodrigue. Such a breath of fresh air...and a fun, fun project for fourth or fifth graders! I start out by reading the book "Why is Blue Dog Blue"--which has a bunch of "jokes" in it, so the kids immediately feel a bit of levity with this one. The story tells of his beloved dog, Tiffany, which he depicts in almost all of his paintings.
I have them dream up a setting to put Blue Dog in. For my students (and this is probably the norm everywhere...!) they have difficulty getting down on paper what they see in their head. Some of them have WONDERFUL ideas...which seem to get lost in translation when they're creating.
Some backgrounds get quite creative, some are simple (note the one with the square/triangle house on the bottom...*sigh*) either way, they'are all wonderful!
Side note: I did this project last year right around Halloween (sigh!gasp!choke!) and the kids loved "dressing up" their Blue Dogs!