a review of "the private lives of the impressionists" by sue roe

a review of the private lives of the impressionists by sue roe | seekthewelfare
The immediate effect of this book has been to make me want to drop everything, pack my life into a little van, travel, and paint everything I come across. An odd reaction to be sure, as it is 270 pages filled to bursting with debt collectors, desperate letters to friends, fatal illnesses, depression, and few triumphs. The hard edges of living for an art form and going against the cultural grain isn't softened by their eventual success as most of them had already lived an entire life of failure by the time their work was recognized; by the time it was "understood."

As she lays out her detailed account of each painter interwoven chronologically with each of the others, Roe allows you to live with these people. The quiet and harmony of the country garden one of them managed to keep for a while is a much stronger oasis when you are aware of all of the noise and cold that is just outside the walls. Wars open up into new creativity, some long romances turn into steady marriages while others crumble into social necessity.

Each hardship along with each excited achievement fills out this picture of a group of men and women tied to each other, needing the others to succeed, striving to explore their craft together and yet make their own private worlds at the same time.

And that is what grabs me: the tightrope walk of failing everyday for what drives you.

Now to paint...