I had primed this canvas but needed a different size for a planned painting. Rather than put the canvas away, I set up a palette with ultramarine, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, and white and began painting without a single thought--started with an oval.
I took a photo of the first day's work, printed it out and toyed with ideas--Self-anointed One and Candle Man. I needed a reason for the melting (other than the heat here in southern Virginia). After a couple of days, a memory surfaced. Aha!
When I was very young (4 or 5) I loved a small celluloid doll that my father bought for me during our trip into town. As I sat with my mother in the front yard under the shade of the trees, she said, "If you strike a match to the doll's feet, she will smile." I did--and was horrified as I watched her melt. I cried for days. My mother had a great sense of humor but it was missing on that particular day--this is one of the few bad memories from my childhood.
Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be artists.