"Amamos a los perros" (We love dogs), 2 x 8 feet, acrylic on fabric (Mexico 2017)

Marge Mexican work

I'm working on this statement but have no idea what to say. This was something that people have asked me to do. I'm surprised the piece turned out so well as I don't really like commissions, though this was more of a gift.

When I arrived at their home in Guadalajara, David and Liliana presented me with an already stretched canvas. There it was, hanging on the dining room wall - all 2 ft. by 8 ft.! I didn't know what the material was. Some weird fabric that David picked up somewhere. I gessoed the hell out of it and warned them that I could not guarantee the longevity of this thing.

For the next week or so, I looked at it nervously, wondering what sort of painting I could do. I asked them what they wanted and Liliana said, "a family portrait done in a magic realist style."  My heart sank. This would mean two humans and 3 dogs and no good photos to work from.

I started with the decorative border and then moved on to the sky. This seemed safe. But eventually I had to commit myself to painting 'the family'. I worked from sketches and just improvised. After all, magic realism is not about precision and accuracy. I used lots of colour and actually started to really enjoy myself as I embellished every area with gaudy colours and patterns.

I turned the happy couple into angels, floating over the city and rescuing dogs. This is what they do, not for a living but simply because they are dog loving compassionate wonderful people. I had the dogs float too, as of course dogs go everywhere their masters go.

I painted during the day while they were at work. The dogs watched me. Then I'd cover it up with newspaper and tape before they returned home as I wanted it to be a surprise. It took about 3 weeks and on February 14th, the 350th Anniversary of the city of Guadalajara, we had the unveiling.

I was extremely nervous. This was a big painting that more or less had to be looked at from everywhere in the room. There was no escaping it and if they didn't like it ...

They loved it and so did all their friends and family. I spoke with them recently and apparently there are 3 commissions of family portraits (probably including dogs) waiting for me in Guadalajara.