Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season

Sorry for the radio silence around here.  The end of the year is always a little crazy for me.

In my free time I’ve been reading the Year in Reading series at The Millions in which writers talk about books they’ve read this year.  I like it because they don’t have to be new books, they just have to have been read this year.  So it’s a wide range. 

For instance, the other day Jenny Davidson (I haven’t read any of her books) posted and said that she’d read the entire Dorothy Dunnett Niccolo series and the Lymond series (which is a lot of reading) plus a lot of other books including War and Peace and Anna Karenina.  This woman is not afraid of long novels!   I figured if she liked Dunnett I might like some of the other books she liked.  I also thought I’d check out her blog but … sigh … she likes to post word count on the book she’s working on.

I’ve been spending most of my free time Christmas shopping and wrapping (yes!  Before the last minute!).  But I also found time to go to the Saint Louis Art Museum to see the current exhibition of the paintings of Joe Jones.  I had never heard of Joe Jones.  He was a local boy who became a painter back in the 1920’s and then eventually moved to New York.  During the depression he was one of the painters hired by the government to travel the country and then paint what he learned.  Here’s a link to an image gallery of some of his work.

At the exhibition we got into an interesting discussion about the fact that a financial crash and a great agricultural catastrophe happened more or less simultaneously.  Neither caused the other (as far as I know) but they both caused tremendous hardship. 

Some of his paintings were of very difficult social subjects:

In 1933, Jones turned his artistic sympathies to the suffering of the American people and declared his belief in Communism. Little escaped his barbs as he depicted lynch mobs, the Ku Klux Klan, homeless farmers and other working class struggles in paintings that attacked racial bigotry as well as religious and New Deal appeasement.

If you are in the vicinity over the Christmas holidays, it runs through January 2.

The day I went to the exhibition it snowed here and Forest Park was a winter wonderland.  A group of us met at The Boathouse for brunch where they had a big fire roaring.  We looked over the wintry lake scene and watched the snow blow around.  Then we headed up to Art Hill where the sledders were already congregating beneath the big statue of St. Louis, King of France.  It wasn’t a great snow for sledding – too dry – but that didn’t stop the kids.  The guards at the Art Museum had brooms for people to brush off their shoes as they came through the door and were very welcoming.  Considering the weather and the fact that a few of the lower galleries are closed because of the construction going on for the new wing, there were a surprising number of people there.

I liked the snow.  But then last week we got ice and that wasn’t so fun.  The streets weren’t bad because they already had de-icer on them for the snow but the walk from my garage to my back door was treacherous.  I few of my friends had slip and fall injuries.  We’re supposed to get “weather” later this week.  I hope it isn’t ice.