Category: FAS Faculty
Friday, March 09, 2012
Remembering “Mac” McMahon
Franklin McMahon, a member of our Guiding Faculty, has died. “Mac” was a unique artist, with the ability to capture individuals and crowds with instant recognizability. As an artist/reporter, he was on the spot for many historical events across the decades. His obituary in the New York Times is accompanied by his illustration of a pivotal moment in the trial of the murderers of Emmet Till, a seminal event in the civil rights struggle.
We’ll miss Mac’s sense of humor and his generosity.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Painting with a master—Charles Reid
Ever wonder what it would be like, as an art student, to paint alongside your mentor? Add to that experience the joy of on-location painting in the English countryside, and you’ll have an idea of what Mick Carney felt when he took a workshop with FAS Guiding Faculty member Charles Reid in September. You can read all about it here: The Painting Struggle. There are photos too, which will give you a fuller idea of just what Mick experienced in this weeklong workshop with Charles. The first entry on the workshop is dated September 14, so scroll down and read up—you’ll feel as if you’re sitting right beside Mick!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Special stamps for holiday cards and letters
It’s that time of year again, when our mailboxes start to fill up with “real” mail—cards and letters bearing holiday greetings. Often the envelopes are festive, and usually they’re made even more so by the images carried on the postage stamps.
Stevan Dohanos, one of the twelve original artists who founded Famous Artists School, was for many years a member of the US Postal Service Stamp Advisory Committee. In that capacity, he advised the Postal Service on stamp design, and actually designed more than 40 stamps. The Postal Service has a Hall of Stamps dedicated to Dohanos, and many of his designs can be found in the collections at the National Postal Museum.
Dohanos was very proud of his involvement with stamp design. “Stamps tell a story of America’s achievement on every level. It is a great challenge to any artist to fill this small space with a big idea,” he said.
One of Dohanos’ favorites among his many stamp designs was this block depicting four antique Christmas toys, issued in 1970 for six cents…a far cry from today’s cost of mailing a holiday card!
Friday, January 27, 2006
On location with Charles Reid
Guiding Faculty member Charles Reid spends a good part of every year painting on location in many wonderful spots around the world, ranging from Tuscany to the English Cotswolds to the beaches of Australia. Painting in a sketchbook away from the studio taught him an important lesson.
Sketchbooks taught me about the importance of time (actually, the lack of it) needed to make a good drawing or painting while working on the spot. I learned that I didn’t have time for sketching with searching lines; I needed a single, carefully considered contour line to capture my subject or scene. Slowly my drawing improved. I started painting in sketchbooks in the late 1970s, using the same light drawing paper, and found that I couldn’t correct or use overwashes on fragile sketchbook paper. This changed my approach to all of my watercolor painting. Even when I paint with heavier watercolor paper, I strive for the correct tonal-value with my first try. I don’t always manage a finish with my first try but it’s always my goal.
When Charlie paints in picturesque places, he’s often surrounded by students who are doing their best to absorb his methods and approach. Details about his painting workshops can be found at www.charlesreidart.com
Friday, October 28, 2005
“American Landscapes” by Mark English
Over the last two decades, Mark English’s work has pushed the limits of the representational genre, exploring a range of expression from abstractionism to impressionism. Although his body of work includes both figurative and still life subjects, his primary focus has been the American landscape.
The surface of Mark English’s paitnings is always intriguing, often mimicking the texture of the topography he paints. They are richly textured with a depth that refects light as if clouds were passing overhead. His palette in these recent paintings is perhaps more diverse than in the past. While retaining his characteristic rich deep hues of burnt orange, sunset reds and forest greens, he has also created works that suggest a scene drenched in summer sunlight. These light and airy compositions are executed in delicate shades of pastel yellows, blues and pinks.
In a way, English’s landscapes, with their patterns of fertile fields crisscrossed by country roads, echo the geometric symmetry of an American quilt.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Franklin McMahon draws history
Franklin McMahon, one of Famous Artists School’s guilding faculty, has been in the news recently. Both WGN TV and Fox Chicago featured stories about McMahon’s coverage of one of the most important trials in the history of the civil rights movement.
In 1955, “Franklin McMahon was working as a free lance artist when he landed the assignment that changed his life and the course of history” reported Robert Jorden of WGN TV. McMahon was hired to cover the Mississippi trial for the murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till for Life magazine. Emmett Till was a black Chicago teenager visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was dragged from his Uncle’s home by two white men and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His body was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River, with a gin-mill fan barbwired around his neck. He had been brutally beaten and shot to death. The two white defendants were acquitted by an all-white jury. A year after the trial, in a paid magazine article, they confessed their guilt and described how they had killed Till.
McMahon’s pencil sketches of the trial appeared in the October 1955 issue of Life magazine. Outrage over the murder and the trial helped launch the civil rights movement in the United States. After the trial McMahon dedicated much of his work to covering the civil rights movement.
Now many of McMahon’s original drawings are a part of the Chicago Historical Society’s exhibition on lynching called Without Sanctuary which opened June 4th. This exhibition is especially timely. Last year the attorney general reopened the case of Emmett Till and his body was recently exhumed by the FBI in a quest for clues. On June 13th, the United States Senate issued an apology for its past failures to pass anti-lynching legislation.
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