The other day at work, I spotted a book called "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. I was drawn to the cover, and then to the size of the book, and then to the raw-cut edges of the pages, which I haven't experienced since East of Eden by John Steinbeck (and because of that I now associate ragged edges with books that are considered to be substantial pieces of literature). I knew right away that Ayn was someone I should have heard of before and for some reason hadn't.
I then saw another book by Rand with a cover that appealed to me more (I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I'm an artist and I think beautiful visuals only enhance beautiful literature!), and this second book was "Atlas Shrugged." The title itself even appealed to me more, because I love the art of coupling of words so that they sound as though they've been grabbed out of the middle of a sentence, when you aren't sure what came before or should come after them.
I read the back of "Atlas Shrugged," and Ayn wrote that after her first novel, "The Fountainhead," she was inundated with questions. She wrote Atlas as an answer to those questions, and it became so grand that Fountainhead was now merely it's predecessor.
So, weirdly enough, tonight when I was watching Mad Men (I finally got season one from the library), the president of Don Draper's place of work, Mr. Cooper, was going on and on about Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged." She and her novel came up in at least two episodes. So now I know that I have to read Atlas. I'm not even going to try and read Fountainhead first, since Ayn herself and Mr. Cooper on Mad Men seem to find the second novel so much more important.
So I might as well talk about Mad Men a little bit, too. I love it! It's somewhat depressing, but I expected as much. It makes me wonder why my whole life I've loved that era so much - an era where people, for the most part, hid their thoughts, feelings, ambitions, etc. And it's not like Mad Men just awoke me to all of that. I've known.
The past has always been magical to me, and despite the social limitations that I'm certain caused so much heart ache, I like to think of the people who dared to break the mold and use their minds and not care what anyone thought. There's something incredibly special to me about old literature and art that I don't really apply to modern creations, because I know the guts it took to make things back then. Everything was simpler, and that kind of provided this beautiful blank canvas for writing and art. Everything feels so cluttered nowadays.
The girls I paint are all set in the past - the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and they are nothing but themselves. They are thinking. I like to surround them with objects and settings that indicate who they are. I love painting them.