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Painting of a Snobby Socialite couple
**click portrait to enlarge**
(oil painting on canvas, 16X20, 1999)

"The Sophisticates; portrait of a Socialite couple."

There are times when after getting an idea for a painting I digest it slowly, regurgitate it, and then reject it all together to only fully embrace it later in its original form. Other times my paintings are born at the speed of lightning. I don't expect them and they just spring on me completely unexpectedly like Jack the Ripper out of a complete darkness.

"The Sophisticates" was just one of those paintings. One early morning, after a very long and tiring party, a friend of mine was absentmindedly playing with a wire clothes hanger. He kept on twisting and untwisting it into different shapes. As he made several loops at each end of the wire, I had to confiscate his primitive toy. For at that moment I saw the disassembled hanger for what it truly was – a pince-nez on a face of one snobbish gentleman, whom you're now observing alongside his prissy date, although I suspect that she might already be his fiancée. Either way, I know they'll eventually end up having two very annoyingly proper and overly well-behaved* children.

For the record, "The Sophisticates" is in no way a negative commentary on the wealthy. Wealthy people have been patrons for the arts for as long as the human race has been civilized. We wouldn't have the majority of the world's museums if it weren't for the wealthy. They were the ones who donated the money to build them as well as donated the art to fill them. Not to mention that most of the art wouldn't even have been created on the first place, if the wealthy people back in the day wouldn't have commissioned it. Oftentimes affluence, sophistication and appreciation for the arts go hand in hand. I'd love for everybody to be wealthy! Of course there are some well-to-do people who only believe themselves to be sophisticated primarily due to their fortunes. They are the ones who look down on people and have no problem showing it. They are the ones I don't particularly like. I believe that truly sophisticated people would not look down on anybody to begin with, and even if they do for some reason, they would never betray their emotions publicly. Voilà!

*Please don't think that I have anything against well-behaved children. I love well-behaved kids! It's the self-absorbed little centers of the universe that I have something against. In the matter of fact, I'm thoroughly annoyed by the lack of proper behavior in many kids. I don't mind toddlers throwing fits. It happens. However, I have a very hard time tolerating older children who feel free to act out and be obnoxiously loud in public. I was taught that children should be seen and not heard. I was also taught to respect other people's boundaries and not to make the ones around me feel uncomfortable with my actions. Is that really too much to ask for from my fellow citizens and their offspring?

- Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee.
Lady Astor to Winston Churchill

- Nancy, if I were your husband I'd drink it.
Churchill in reply

"If we had no faults, we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others."
François de La Rochefoucauld

"American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers."
W. Somerset Maugham