When McMahon first got started on this series, he had less than honorable intentions. The first time he picked up a painting was at a local auction house and he planned to cover it with gesso to make himself a fresh new canvas at a fraction of the cost of a new one. So for one dollar, he bought it. From that point on, if he saw a painting at a thrift store, an auction or yard sale, he would buy it cheap and repurpose it for his own art.
One day he found a painting at a yard sale with a $1.00 sticker on it and purchased it immediately, but for some reason, this one stood out amongst the dozens he’d purchased before.
McMahon says, “It had an ominous purpleness to it – somewhat moody, with mountains in the distance and a large, empty pool of water in the foreground. The landscape itself almost created a frame, the center of which, I felt, was notably absent a subject. So for the first time, I decided not to destroy a cheap landscape painting, but to finish it.” What resulted was the addition of a sea serpent weaving in and out of the water.
“I was, in a sense, working with another painter who was completely unaware of our collaboration. From that point on, I started looking for empty landscapes to “finish” rather than any cheap painting I could whiteout with gesso.”
But to give credit where credit is due, McMahon signs his name next to that of the original artist’s.