Sunday, June 01, 2008

Luncheon of the Garden Party

With my new commute, I've gotten the chance to read a lot more. And I'm loving it. Between that and the intense and lovely time I'm getting to spend with my iPod, I'm beginning to think I actually prefer having a commute. It's nice to have some alone/quiet time in the morning, and some de-stress time after work. Of course, my opinions might change once it's 100 bahizillion degrees outside and I'm eight and a half months pregnant - but until then, I'm enjoying it.

One of the books I've read is Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party.

In short, I loved it. I can't recommend it enough. For people who love the arts, love creating, love me. (*smile*).

Here's the amazon summary:

Imagining the banks of the Seine in the thick of la vie moderne, Vreeland tracks Auguste Renoir as he conceives, plans and paints the 1880 masterpiece that gives her vivid fourth novel its title. Renoir, then 39, pays the rent on his Montmartre garret by painting "overbred society women in their fussy parlors," but, goaded by negative criticism from Émile Zola, he dreams of doing a breakout work. On July 20, the daughter of a resort innkeeper close to Paris suggests that Auguste paint from the restaurant's terrace. The party of 13 subjects Renoir puts together (with difficulty) eventually spends several Sundays drinking and flirting under the spell of the painter's brush. Renoir, who declares, "I only want to paint women I love," falls desperately for his newest models, while trying to win his last subject back from her rich fiancé. But Auguste and his friends only have two months to catch the light he wants and fend off charges that he and his fellow Impressionists see the world "through rose-colored glasses." Vreeland achieves a detailed and surprising group portrait, individualized and immediate.

There are passages in this book that describe perfectly why I paint, why I have loved art from the moment I started to really see it - why I have based so many of my major life decisions around knowing more about it and being closer to it. Most importantly, why I do it. It also served to remind me how much I need more of it now, in my life.

Vreeland took great pains to make this historically accurate, and does so without making the situations and characters seem stiff or one-dimensional.

I know, however, what I'm writing right now seems pretty stiff and one dimensional. And for that I could not be more sorry - I loved this book and think all of you should read it. I may read it again, soon.

Til then, however, I have some painting to do . . .


1 comment:

Jamie said...

Whenever I write about a book or movie I always feel like I make it sound lame! Never fear, this book sounds good!

PS-More pregnant Misty pictures please! You look so cute! I'm sad I'm missing it all in person, but I'd probably be driving you crazy with all the cheek pinching I'd probably be doing!