**click artwork to enlarge**
(collage and oil painting on cardboard, 18X24, 2009)
"Portrait of Dominique Francon, inspired by a photo of Greta Garbo"
I love, love, love when I read a book and develop strong emotions about one of its characters. Really good books are meant to evoke strong emotions. They teach us how to love, to hate, to ignore, to feel, to laugh, and to cry. We learn about good and evil, right and wrong, weak and strong. As we read about the experiences of generations before us, we gain the tools to deal with our own lives. I credit reading for helping me to discover the person I wanted to be. I still love reading, but I've noticed that as I matured and became more set in my ways I also become less tolerant of the ways of others. Even when the others are nothing more than figments of somebody else's imagination. As was the case with me and Dominique Francon (a character from Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"). I found her SO annoying!
While I had no problem identifying myself with Howard Roark, a young architect who believed in his talent and stood by his principles, I found the bitchy Dominique to be a quintessential attractive female: somebody who creates a lot of melodrama where there should be none. I questioned why would Ayn Rand place that idiot Dominique in her book on the first place. Why couldn't she make Ms. Francon a logical person? As I kept on reading I couldn't help, but wonder what type of silly behavior would Dominique be engaged in the next chapter and I kept on thinking that women like her are the reason why so many men are suspicious of attractive women. I finished the book. Some time passed and as I was analyzing yet again my own life and my own behavior, I suddenly realized that on the scale of irrational behavior Dominique Francon is just a dilettante in comparison to yours truly. Speaking about a speck of sawdust in your imaginary sister's eye….
"I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned."
"Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another."