Valley of the Moon, United States

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Fire Next Time : Backstory

Once upon a time, I painted. With oils. Linseed oil, fine brushes, all the accoutrements. And a “tutor,” no less. Lessons with my father, who could paint with a one-camel-hair brush in great detail. He did still life.
The pallet knife was my weapon of choice. I used it like a trowel slathering plaster. Semi-abstract and thick with texture. The tutor was aghast: she could never make me understand that you can’t put on an inch of paint at one time.

“Fire Next Time” was done over a period of months in the Winter of 2012 using what was available, that is, cardboard from anything that was delivered in a box.
The central bird shape is part of the deconstruction of an especially large box, ripped and bent to fit in the garbage receptacle.
The only paint I had was left-over from the interior and exterior work I had done on The Cottage. And “Spackle”, that very useful substance which made a texture-y dividing line.

Draft 1.

Timid. I never sketch anything or have a plan. I had decided to do only the center panel. “Paint Fear” sets in.

Draft 2.

Photo printed out on ecru bond brought out some color. Not a “painting” just a photo: unacceptable. Proportions wrong.

Draft 3.

Detail. Decided to use the three panels, and keep the folded side flaps of the original box. Added more torn pieces of cardboard for balance and texture. More painting outside in the freezing garage and ensuing bronchitis. Bit of trimming on top and bottom for proportion. Cut and paint-over photos of birds. Decided to stop while I was ahead (in my mind, anyway).

Draft 4.

in situ. Top is 60" above entry to little room.

Thank you for bearing with me on this seemingly endless process. All your encourgement kept it going!
I have renewed and immense respect for all painters.

~ PhDilettante / mmargot


  • Jazzdenski
    Jazzdenskiover 1 year ago

    Such a journey (as they say these days) darling. I follow each tear – and tear – each brushful and trowel full, every corrugation in the cardboard and each bird on the wing, love those cardboard winging extremities by the way. Wonderful Margot. Thank you for the guided tour!

  • You are a dear, Denis : I had so much fun I don’t care if it is “good” art – your daughter is so right : it’s the process!

    – mmargot

  • Maraia
    Maraiaover 1 year ago

    I love this work, margot, it is delicate and strong at the same time, very beautiful!

  • Thank you, Maraia! I trust your opinion.

    – mmargot

  • Isabela M. Lamuño
    Isabela M. Lamuñoover 1 year ago

    i’m happy that you love it and it should be that way, one’s sentiment toward our own work of art is the most important…
    few artists like to share their story, i’m thrilled to read yours! as i feel the process, in general, is ever more touching.

  • Your words are appreciated, Ixchel! I had no intention of painting anything and the support and acceptance of how this came about is a joy. It is very hard to put words to the Why and How we create!

    – mmargot

  • Zefira
    Zefiraover 1 year ago

    wonderful to read/see the process – that’s the art of it, and this is wonderful art

  • Very surprised and delighted that anyone read this : I tend to be tight-lipped about what I am trying to do and you have helped me understand that cranking out things and being Featured is not the point at all! Thank you so much!

    – mmargot

  • lucin
    lucinover 1 year ago

    Such fun to read! I love how it all grew from the “remodel stuff.” It will ever be a reminder of the process to your picture perfect place in the future.

  • “Picture perfect” was The Mother’s style : doing this has been putting soul into The Cottage. You are so very right that long after the updates become incidents of necessity, this was a labor of the heart and creating a definitive statement of how I want to live. If that makes any sense (?!). Many many thanks for all your support!

    – mmargot

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehover 1 year ago

    Fascinating story; it is amazing how the simplest moves make the biggest differences.

  • Yes, it is amazing, Mui-Ling. Grateful to digital cameras to document the unknown thought processes. You have been a steadfast source of encouragement!

    – mmargot

  • Karen Gingell
    Karen Gingellover 1 year ago

    Really enjoyed the journey and the use of found materials – end work – brilliant

  • Oh, my, yes! I don’t know if it is brilliant work, but it is amazing how “stuff” can become “something!” Buying the work desk that came in the box has paid off in spades! I live by William Morris, “Have nothing …that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Glad you enjoyed the read, Karen, and thank you for your encouragement.

    – mmargot

  • athex
    athexover 1 year ago

    Thank you

  • You are very welcome!

    – mmargot

  • shallay
    shallayover 1 year ago

    A prolonged evolution with a happy ending!
    So satisfying to work and re-work one’s project up to the point where it is
    proudly displayed and admired – vive la creación, Margot!!

  • Thank you, Sharon! I like the raw finishing and, if anything, would have it mounted somehow, but not in an elaborate way. You have helped me understand how difficult painting is, and for that I thank you more.

    – mmargot

  • lucin
    lucinover 1 year ago

    We talk “Phdiettante Picture Perfect.” :)

  • o0ooo I sounded snarky. :( … sometimes the mind and fingers don’t connect. I do understand, and wish there were a way to say how humble and grateful I am! xoxo

    – mmargot