Categories
5: This England In Process Technique

SketchClub

For sketching and painting with some very distinctive styles. What I like best are:

  • Sketch brushes: these are great for shading
  • Pixel brush: can produce beautiful mosaics
  • Vector brush with gradient: for delicate Japanese watercolour effects
  • Zen-like pens: for very expressive drawings and calligraphy.

SketchClub community website is rather uninspiring but accessible from within the App for easy upload: https://app.sketchclub.com

Facebook page is much more inspiring but still does not really do the App justice: https://www.facebook.com/SketchClubApp/

Features

Canvas: Customisable sizes and resolution to very high quality.
Templates for comics etc.

Layers: Up to 64 with blend modes and filters. Mirror and reflect features.

Brushes: Cusomisable: Art, Blur, Erase, Fill, Pen, Procedural,Selection, Sketchy and smooth, Smudge, TextArt, Vector Brush. Vector shapes.

Type: Type Art only

Colour: Central and easy access customisable palette, colour picker.
Colour Adjustments

Book/Gallery: Gallery with folders

Video: yes

Output: JPG, PNG, PSD, Animated GIF,Folders and comic templates, large file sizes possible.

Art examples

SketchClub is incredibly versatile, but with a distinctive look.

Using one of the paper options and the sketching tool.

Smooth sketch tool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qolr9dO4neE

Sketching

Realistic painting

Animated illustration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOb5AMyyrBo

Vector Tool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUFoFl6xF4g

Tutorials

Tips and updates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTuqfPPDfZc

Basic tutorials

Categories
5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 5: This England In Process Technique

SketchBook Pro


!!I have used this quite a lot, but not yet sorted all my the images out.I find it best for sketching and portraits.

SketchBook (Autodesk) is one of the earliest iPad Aps, but has been kept up to date. From available images on he web it is obvious it can produce very professional illustrations. It combines raster and vector features with:

  •  a wide range of digital pencils, pens, markers, and airbrushes and ability to pin toolbars to the screen for easy access.
  • text in all installed fonts that can be manipulated and distorted.
  • basic rectangles, circles and vector line with variety of mirror functions
  • image import and video export.

You Tube Tutorials

Better for comic inking

Categories
5: This England

Expressionist woodcuts

Moma Exhibiton

[wpdevart_youtube]fsyqEX-DlaA[/wpdevart_youtube]

Max Pechstein

[wpdevart_youtube]8xNXiW0W0po[/wpdevart_youtube]

The earliest print technique, woodcut first appeared in China in the ninth century. Arriving in Europe around 1400, it was originally used for stamping designs onto fabrics, textiles, or playing cards. By the 16th century it had achieved the status of an important art form in the work of Albrecht Dürer and other Northern European artists.

During the first decade of the twentieth century German Expressionists sought to recover a German tradition and to register a thread of continuity with their late Gothic and Renaissance artistic heritage – taking inspiration from late Gothic artists like Durer, Baldung, Cranach, Altdorfer and Grunewald. It was in part a reaction against Impressionism’s emphasis on atmospherics and surface appearances, and against the rigidity of academic painting, stressing instead the emotional state of the artist, subject and also viewer. In addition to the Germanic tradition they were also inspired by Van Gogh, Munch, Gauguin, Cezanne and African and Oceanic art.

The use of the term Expressionism seems to date from around 1911, although the De Brucke movement had been established in 1905 and was holding exhibitions till 1913. Another movement: der Blaue Reiter was formed in 1911 as a loose collection of artists interested in abstraction. Other groups included the Berlin and Munich Secessions, the Red Group, the November Group and the New Artist’s Association. Among the publications were Der Sturm and Die Aktion. Many of these groups and publications had socialist of communist ideals.

They adopted woodcut as a primary artistic vehicle. Their starkly simplified woodcuts capitalized on the medium’s potential for bold, flat patterns and rough hewn effects. At the same time the flexibility of woodcut as a medium encouraged individual approaches and novel techniques from the Brücke’s vigorous cutting to the Blaue Reiter’s abstracted forms. They exploited the medium’s capacity to convey and disseminate innovative ideas, depicting wide ranging themes in a diversity of formats,  catering to different audiences.

A change occurred with World War I. The horror of the war and the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) led to introduction of a sharply satirical tone in the work of many of the artists. Many of the artists went on to join new movements like Dada and Neue Sachlichkeit and continued to work until well after World War II.

Sources:

Shane Weller ‘German Expressionist Woodcuts’ Dover Publications New York, 1994

MOMA Expressionist exhibition website

See also Wikipedia article on Expressionism

 

Categories
5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Aldeburgh Inspiration

For images and further discussion see Sketchbook 5: Aldeburgh

http://orwellpressartpublishing.com/

Honor Surie  abstract acrylics

Glynn Thomas copperplate etching http://www.glynnthomas.com/index.php

 Maggi Hambling

See post

Olivia Lemenech Gill

website: http://www.oliviagill.com

My daughter bought me ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ I really like the wistful dreamy style of this. Also her detailed Drypoint  and collage in other works.

Want to do a proper analysis of this one and try out some of her techniques in my work on Aldeburgh – that place is particularly suited to her type style.

Mark Yardley

http://www.markyardley.com/

Mark Yardley focuses on subjects reclaimed by nature, such as old abandoned fishing boats, rusted chains and even the door latches of shoreline beach huts, zooming in on these subjects choosing interesting areas where paint may be peeling and patterns may be forming. He works mainly in watercolours and gouache. Using a fairly wet page he lets the paints blend and seep out and then adds detail with dry brush strokes once the page has dried. He also incorporates texture into some of his paintings using card, layers of paper and textured pastes.

Julie Driscoll

website

small oils

Julie Drsicoll

 Anne Paton

website

Ink line

Anne Paton

Ruth McCabe

layered watercolour

website

Ruth McCabe Fine Head of Hare
Ruth McCabe Ingleton Nook

Sarah Johnson

website

Sarah Johnson Aldeburgh
Sarah Johnson website
Sarah Johnson landscape

Beth Andrew

Beth Andrew

Beth Andrew pen and wash

Encaustic website

Jelly Green

Jelly Green Puzzlewood

website

charcoal and cows

Colin Slee

Colin Slee

Semi abstract painting

http://www.ryeartgallery.co.uk/gallery-artists/438/c/662/colin-slee/paintings-drawings

Charcoal and acryllic, mixed media and pastel

http://www.suffolkpainters.co.uk/index.cgi?choice=painter&pid=1238

Colin Slee Homestead

Steve Higton

website

Steve Higton

Jason Gathorne Hardy

http://www.sarajohnson-art.co.uk/wp-content/gallery/pen-wash/p1060183-50.jpg

Graphite sketches of birds. Also charcoal line on hotpressed??paper

Jason Gathorne Hardy
Categories
5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Solar Plate etching

http://robmills-online.co.uk/found-series.html

Categories
3: Text and Image: Woman Lost 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Drawing and Seeing

Alphonso Dunn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SaA1SmYLgE&list=PLhBKkQX9XSgeVEGuevcUrnxWYhyB31rZG&index=30
A very good series on the process of constructing a scene.
First think about the type of line – drawing with arm, wrist or fingers. Framing and focus. Can see things in different ways. Importance of simplification.

Categories
4.2 Colours of Shingle 4.2 Outsider on the Edge 4.2: Inside Edges 4: Audience: Shifting Edges 5.3: Edgescapes 5: Presentation: Zemni 2021

Shingle Street BackNotes

Shingle Street is a small coastal hamlet in Suffolk, England, at the mouth of Orford Ness, situated between Orford and Bawdsey. Part of the coast is also known as Hollesley Bay.

Fishing

A community of fishing families and river pilots for the River Ore was established in the early 19th Century.

Defence

The four Martello towers south of Shingle Street were built in 1808-1809. Coastguard cottages at the North end of the beach housed coastguards who worked as pilots, lifeboatmen and excise men to control the smuggling.

Several buildings were destroyed during World War II, including the Lifeboat Inn, the hamlet’s only pub.

Environment

The beach is a designated SSI because of its rare vegetated shingle, little terns, saline lagoons and geology.

A report from October 2004 suggests that Shingle Street is at risk from the sea and could disappear within 20 years if sea defences are not erected.

North Sea windfarms can be seen in the distance on a fine days.

Tourism

Was an important place for tourism in 1930s.

But destroyed in World War II.

Now a desirable elite hideaway.

Shell line

Line fishing by kayak in the saline lagoons
Melancholy summer oboe and piano meandering across the shingle far from Shingle Street itself until the end. Then some of the back footpaths through fields and allotments.

Drone Photography
January walk. 2013. Sunny. Lots of warning sounds. Electronic music. Shows steep shingle banks. Kayaking. Some quite interesting angles. End is misty.

For copies of the local news magazine Village Voices see: http://villagevoices.org.uk/index.htm

Fishing

fishing

Defence

Martello Towers

Originally 103 towers were built between 1805 and 1812 to resist a potential invasion by Napoleon. 29 were built between Aldeburgh and St Osyth Stone between 1808 and 1812 to protect Essex and Suffolk, the rest having been built a few years earlier across the Kent and Sussex coasts.

The four Martello towers south of Shingle Street were built in 1808-1809. Coastguard cottages at the North end of the beach housed coastguards who worked as pilots, lifeboatmen and excise men to control the smuggling.

Many are now for sale at over 1 million pounds or holiday lets:
Shingle Street holiday let: https://www.visitengland.com/experience/stay-200-year-old-tower
Bawdsey for sale : https://www.themodernhouse.com/sales-list/martello-tower-y/

World War II

Several buildings were destroyed during World War II, including the Lifeboat Inn, the hamlet’s only pub.

See also: Petroleum Warfare Department: Burning seas

After World War II many strange happenings were reported to have taken place at Shingle Street, including a failed German invasion.Since the civilian population had been evacuated in May 1940, there were no eyewitness reports, although official documents remained classified until questions in the House of Commons led to their early release in 1993. These papers disclosed no German landing. In fact rumours of a failed invasion on the South and East Coasts were commonplace in September 1940 and helped to boost morale. Author James Hayward has proposed that these rumours, which were widely reported in the American press, were a successful example of black propaganda with an aim of ensuring American co-operation and securing lend lease resources by showing that the United Kingdom was capable of successfully resisting the German Army.

Short amateur video about a boy finding a German army badge. But civilians had been evacuated….

Environment

The beach is a designated SSI because of its rare vegetated shingle, little terns, saline lagoons and geology.

Sea Kale

Crambe maritima (sea kale, sea cole, seakale, sea colewort or crambe) is a brassica, related to the cabbage. Local people heaped loose shingle around the naturally occurring root crowns in springtime, thus blanching the emerging shoots. By the early eighteenth century, it had become established as a garden vegetable. The shoots are served like asparagus: steamed, with either a béchamel sauce or melted butter, salt and pepper.

Sea pea

Lathyrus maritimus (sea pea, beach pea, circumpolar pea, sea vetchling). The species’ pods and seeds are larger than many of its relatives’, and they have been used in years of crop failure as human food. Non-toxic, cultivated stands are the result of careful cross-breeding, and the seeds of wild pea plants should not be eaten: unprocessed sea pea seeds are poisonous.

Yellow horned poppy

The Yellow horned-poppy is a coastal plant that grows on shingle beaches, cliffs and sand dunes. The golden-yellow flowers appear in June and are followed by the ‘horns’ – curling seedpods that can be up to 30cm long. When it is broken, the plant exudes a yellow sap which is poisonous. The seeds of the Yellow horned-poppy are often eaten by small birds, such as Twite and Snow bunting.

Seals

Birds

little terns

Shingle Street survey website

Shingle Street Survey 2016

Shingle Street Ecology Report 2018

Touching the Tide project

A report from October 2004 suggests that Shingle Street is at risk from the sea and could disappear within 20 years if sea defences are not erected.

On fine days North Sea windfarms can be seen in the distance: Greater Gabbard windfarm 23km NE and London Array Windfarms to the South.

Hollesley Bay Colony

Hollesley Bay began in 1887 as a colonial college training those intending to emigrate. The land was originally purchased by Joseph Fels, an American soap-manufacturing millionaire and friend of George Lansbury, the prominent Christian Socialist who was also a leading member of the Poplar Board of Guardians.

The prison had housed a labour colony for the London unemployed. The aim was to train unemployed people for work, with a view to helping them escape pauperism. Hollesley Bay was typical in that it mainly involved exposing its inmates to a period of work either on agricultural tasks or in the kitchens and other relatively unskilled activities. Hollesley Bay had the largest prison farm in the British prison system, along with the oldest established stud for the Suffolk Punch Horse in the world.

Hollesley Bay opened on this site as a Borstal in 1938.  From that year and until 2006, the prison managed a 1800 acre farm on which the care of both crops and livestock, delivered employment for the prisoners.

There was a short-lived strike among the inmates in May 1922, partly sparked by dissatisfaction over the inmates’ levels of pay. It was said to hold around 280 men in 1923, rising to 366 in the late 1920s, and falling to around 200 in 1934. London County Council decided to dispose of the site in 1938.

In 1938 the Prison Commission purchased the site for use as a Borstal and Detention centre. The Irish writer Brendan Behan, arrested for IRA activities in 1939, was sent there, and subsequently described his experiences in Borstal Boy. Jeffrey Archer was also sent there. A major expansion took place in 1982 with the opening of Warren Hill Prison a 285 place secure unit.

In 1983 Hollesley Bay became a Youth Custody Centre this replaced the borstal system. This in turn was replaced by Young Offenders Institution in 1988. In 2002, the old borstal site became mainly for the use of minimum security adult offenders. The prison has been repeatedly criticised for the apparently large number of escapes, which has led to the nickname Holiday Bay.

The prison today

Today the establishment is an outward looking modern institution which holds sentenced adult males from 18 years and upwards without limit. The farm has gone, and a focus on resettlement and reducing re-offending is at the heart of our agenda. The establishment has developed a strong reputation in successfully preparing life sentenced prisoners for their final release. There are more than a hundred prisoners working in the community on a daily basis, and many partnership agencies work alongside prison staff, to deliver a most effective open establishment. The regime is demanding of its participants. A calm ethos of mutual co-operation, with total delivery of the sentence plan, and a commitment to the working week, are the essentials to continued occupancy at Hollesley Bay, in full preparation for release back to the community

2018 HMP Report

Tourism

Waking up to views of the sea – what could be better? The magical setting of Shingle Street provides a wonderful backdrop for this Victorian seaside cottage, situated in an unrivalled spot. Simply wonderful.

The Shingle Street Shell Line

In 2005 stonecutter Lida Cardozo Kindersley and her childhood friend Els Bottema started to arrange a line of shells on the beach, beginning as a way of coping with their shared experience of cancer treatment. After regular visits to add to the line by 2018 it stretched for more than 275m and was made up of 20,000 individual whelk shells. 

A short documentary film about the work, entitled ‘C Shells’, was released in 2017, followed by a book ‘The Shingle Street Shell Line’ by Bottema and Kindersley in 2018

In 2005 two childhood friends, Els and Lida, spent a week in Suffolk after each had been through a year of cancer. On their first long walk along the beach, they picked up some white shells and, sitting down to rest, arranged them around a plant. From that day on, every walk added more shells to a growing line, symbolic of their slow day by day, shell by shell recovery. Twice a year they spend a week repairing and relaying the line and find that many people have added to it. Frail and transitory, like us and those who come and wonder at it, the line is a signal of courage and survival.

Music

Cloudburst at Shingle Street

Shingle Street was the inspiration of the Thomas Dolby song , from the album The Golden Age of Wireless.

Poetry

On Shingle Street
The summer’s sweet,
The stones are flat,
The pebbles neat
And there’s less rip
When tides are neap.
It’s fine to swim, or fine to try
But when the sea runs fast and high
And skies turn black and cormorants weep
Best watch your step on Shingle Street.

On Shingle Street
The shelving’s steep
With stones to skim
As if they’d feet
To hop and skip
Across the deep,
To pitter-pat and aquaplane,
Again again again again,
Not flip and flop, and splash and drop,
The opened trap, the hangman’s rope,
The cairns that mark where life gave out,
The muddy dark off Shingle Street.

From Shingle Street
To Bawdsey Bay
The sea-mews shriek
Above the spray,
The rolling seals
Are charcoal grey
As though burnt out or singed by grief.
Like ash-streaked mourners, half-possessed,
They duck and bob and stare to land
In hope that we might understand.
But nothing helps, we fail the test,
They hang and gaze without relief
Beyond the reach of Shingle Street.

For Shingle Street’s a single street,
A row of shacks in stone and wood,
The sea out front, the marsh out back,
Just one road in and one road out,
With no way north except the spit,
And no way south except on foot,
A cul-de-sac, a dead-end track,
A sandbanked strand to sink a fleet,
A bay, a bar, a strip, a trap,
A wrecking ground, that’s Shingle Street.

On Shingle Street
As sunset seeps
Across the marsh
The flocks of kale
Are grazing sheep,
A soft pink light
Sneaks up the beach
As if each stone were ringed with fire,
As if each pebble held the heat
Of past disasters, past defeats.
And in the dusk they tell a tale
Of burning boats and blistered flesh,
And you can’t help but watch and hear
And smell the oil and taste the fear
And feel your skin scorch in the heat:
You won’t sleep sound on Shingle Street.

On Shingle Street
The stones are neat
And warm as stoves
Beneath your feet
Like aga-lids
That store the heat.
But just an inch or two below
It’s sloppy-wet and cold as snow.
The lips are dry but not the mouth.
The tide’s come in though it’s still out,
The icy north’s migrated south.
The oven tops are just a cheat.
Beware the tricks of Shingle Street.

For Shingle Street’s a sneaky street,
That smiles and mangles, lures and wrecks,
Where water strips and wind dissects,
Where sea-kale bows its green-grey head
As waves wash up the new-made dead,
A bolt-hole built with ghost-white stones,
A charnel house for ancient bones,
A beach, a bitch, a crypt, a con,
A bight, a morgue, a scam, a tomb,
A sun-trap strand, a catacomb,
An angel with a nasty streak,
A seabird with a razor beak,
A double bluff, that’s Shingle Street.

From Shingle Street
To Orford Ness
The waves maraud,
The winds oppress,
The earth can’t help
But acquiesce
For this is east, and east means loss,
A lessening shore, receding ground
Where land runs out and nothing’s sound,
Just inches last year, this year feet –
Nothing lasts long on Shingle Street.

On Shingle Street
The grind goes on,
A churning bowl
Of sand and stone,
A watery mix that unbuilds homes,
Unearthing earth, unlaying land,
Tall waves that flash like silver spades,
And bulldozed buffs and quarried bays,
Not give-and-take but take-and-keep,
Just shingle left on Shingle Street.

For Shingle Street’s a sinking street,
The worn-out coast’s in slow retreat
With lopped-off bluffs and crumbling cliffs,
And empty air where churches stood,
And houses perched, and fields and woods,
And no known means to stop the rot.
A breakers’ yard of rusted hulls,
Where combers come and herring gulls,
A holding bay for washed-up trash,
A rest home for the obsolete,
A hole, a heap, a wreck, a wrack,
A nomad’s land, that’s Shingle Street.

On Shingle Street
The sea repeats
Its tired old tricks,
Its one-man show,
The drumrolled waves along the strand,
The bass-line thud and cymbal-clash
As stones are stoned and pebbles dashed.
Again again again again
The waves collapse, the flints resound,
The tide runs in and takes the ground,
The tide runs out, the ground slips back.
Variety is not the name
But that’s the point – the sea’s the same,
Unchanging grey, the one sure thing,
A flooded plain in plain disguise,
A level field that hides its rise
Through constant ebb and constant flow,
Unlike the earth, which shifts and shrinks,
Unlike ourselves, who have to go.

Categories
5: Presentation: Zemni 2021 In Process

Urban sketching: watercolour

 

Teo Yi Chie
based in Singapore

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxauEZsbzJM

Watercolour pencils

Categories
5: This England In Process

Frank McMahon

Mrs Bryant and her Lwayer

defense witness Tallahatchie County Sheriff Henry Clarence ‘HC’ Strider (1904

defense witness Carolyn Bryant and the head of defense attorney John W.

Ink and wash illustration shows defense attorney Caleb Sidney Carlton (1915 – 1966)

defense attorney Caleb Sidney Carlton (1915 – 1966) as he smokes

Political campaign

The work of American reportage illustrator Franklin McMahon (1921–2012) is an excellent example of how drawing can be used to document courtroom dramas. The following drawings are taken from his 1955 visual documentation of the trial of two men accused of murdering a black Chicago teenager Emmett Till who was visiting relatives near Money, Mississippi.
Look at the drawings and reflect on how McMahon has approached the task of documenting a courtroom drama. How does his approach to drawing tie in with the notion of journalism and truth? What do you think he’s managed to capture in these drawings and how has he done it? Write a short statement summarising your reflections. You may want to annotate some of the drawings, highlighting particular areas of interest.

Biography (Wikipedia)

(William) Franklin McMahon (September 9, 1921 – March 3, 2012) was an artist-reporter whose work took him around the world for more than half a century. His seminal work at the birth of the civil rights movement, his coverage of U.S. presidential campaigns between 1960 and 2008, America’s role in the space race, the formation of the European council,Vatican II, and scores of other political, cultural, religious and sporting events; all were part of a Franklin McMahon “day at the office” for the last 55+ years…except that for him, his office was his studio, which is the world. In the words of Peter Lyle of The Sunday Telegraph of London:

“…his pencil and his pad have been witness to many of the most significant events in postwar American and world history.”

His artistic output also included films and books. His widespread recognition, as evidenced by his exhibitions, his awards, and the broad array of national and international institutionswho hold his work, demonstrates that Lyle’s title “The Man Who Drew History” is well-earned.

Other than in his very early years when he did illustrations “on spec”, he was not an “after-the-fact” illustrator. In his own words, drawing from life made him an “artist-reporter” or a “reportorial artist.” “That way,” he said, “you can see around the corner.”

Post-war years, family, and continuing life[edit]

After the war, he married high school sweetheart Irene Leahy[9] and used the GI Bill to attend night classes at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, American Academy of Art, Harrington College of Design, and the Art Institute of Chicago. They settled in Lake Forest, IL to raise their family, which eventually became nine children, several whom are now recognized artists.[10] He thought that artists belonged out in the world. Studio work was confining, so he sought jobs which allowed him to travel. Eventually, Irene became a travel writer, and accompanied her husband on many of his journeys. Wherever his travels took him, home base was always the Chicago area. Over the years he owned downtown condos and three different homes in Lake Forest. For the last several years of his life, he lived at Sedgebrook, a retirement community in Lincolnshire IL just a few miles from Lake Forest.

Artistic output and areas of activity[edit]

McMahon’s overwhelming main artistic output was his 8,000-9,000 drawings. He also produced films and books. His films incorporate drawings (see Technique section), at a rate of 200–300 drawings per ½ hour of film. The books, although sometimes labelled as “illustrated” by Franklin McMahon, had the same kind of [“on site”] drawings as those from the courtroom, the political arena, and all his other spheres of activity. Even his commercial work had drawings mainly done on site, not after-the-fact illustrations for existing text.

Civil Rights and the Space Race[edit]

McMahon’s work in both of these aspects of mid-20th Century American history helps illustrate his role as an artist-reporter. He began reporting from the courtroom in 1955, after some of his very early work came to the attention of Life magazine’s editors. Because cameras were not allowed at the Mississippi trial of the suspected killers of Chicago teenager Emmett Till, Life commissioned him to go there to sketch courtroom events. His drawings, and in particular, one of Till’s great-uncle, Moses Wright, standing to point at the accused men, were seen nationwide. From then on, on-site reporting with his drawings was a major part of his life work.

Moses Wright pointing at accused men; Emmett Till Trial, Sumner, Tallahatchie County Mississippi, 1955 published in Life Magazine;
Painting by Franklin McMahon

The Emmett Till trial in September 1955 was the early catalyst for the Civil Rights movement. McMahon’s on-site and on-deadline images from Mississippi, published nationwide in Life magazine, provided the visualization that helped spur Rosa Parks‘ refusal to give up her seat on the bus in December, 1955,[12] which then led to theMontgomery Bus Boycott and to the involvement of a young and relatively unknown black minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., along with one of the other boycott leaders,Ralph Abernathy. McMahon was at Martin Luther King’s, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington, on the National Mall. He also covered the two 1964 mistrials of the murderer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. In March 1965, King’s march for black enfranchisement was going from Selma to the Alabama Capital Montgomery. About that time, Franklin was returning from NASA’s Cape Kennedy (in Florida) after covering one of the U. S.’s manned space launches.[13] He heard of the march on his car radio, and took a detour, arriving in time to document King’s arrival in Montgomery. He also covered King in Chicago in 1966, the United Farm Workers protest in 1968, and the 1968 Chicago riots following King’s death.

Bobby Seale at the Conspiracy Trial after the 1968 Democratic Convention, Chicago.
Painting by Franklin McMahon

In 1969-70, Franklin was courtroom artist at the infamous “conspiracy” trial of the eight (later just seven) defendants, resulting from protests during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The 8th defendant, Bobby Seale, was eventually bound, shackled, and gagged, then separated from the group and sentenced for contempt of court by the judge. The trial lasted 5 months, with McMahon producing almost 500 courtroom drawings. They were published across the nation, including an entire issue of the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine section. The Chicago History Museum currently owns both the collection of 483 drawings from that trial as well as that from the 1955 Emmett Till trial.[14] Civil rights was a continuing interest and vocation: he covered the presidential campaigns of black candidates Shirley Chisholm, U.S. House (’72) and the Reverend Jesse Jackson (’84, ’88), and was at the 1995 Million Man March.

During the Space Race of the ’60s and ’70s, Franklin was to return frequently to NASA’s mission control, including his coverage of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. All would earn him a mention in NASA’s book Eyewitness to Space.

U.S. Politics[edit]

Kennedy-Nixon Debates, Chicago 1960.
Painting by Franklin McMahon

He drew Democratic presidential candidate Governor Adlai Stevenson II (’52, ’56) at his Libertyville, IL home. One of McMahon’s drawings of Stevenson hangs in that home, which is now a state historical site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He covered every Democratic and Republican campaign from 1960 through 2008, including attending a vast majority of the conventions, He made first-person drawings of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debates (the first broadcast on live television) and later of Kennedy’s funeral. During Richard Nixon‘s successful 1968 presidential run, Franklin also drew the “unelected White House guys” (H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John N. Mitchell), that he correctly predicted would surround Nixon. His take on Nixon’s 1974 resignation showed the disgraced ex-president escaping in a helicopter. There are McMahon drawings from the 1973 Watergate hearings, of Senator John McCain’s “straight talk express” in New Hampshire in 2000, the stirring Barack Obama speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, and on the 2004 presidential campaign trail with George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry.

World religion[edit]

Procession on Opening Day of Second Vatican Council, Rome, 1962
Painting by Franklin McMahon

He was in Rome on October 11, 1962 for Opening Day of the Second Vatican Council, and went on to chronicle that major event through 1965. His film The World of Vatican II covers the opening and closing of Vatican II; and is a literal “travelogue in drawings” of many countries where Catholicism was facing new challenges at that time; and how and by whom they were being met. He followed Papal journeys, Council activations, and ministries in the Church world through the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, he was in Chicago and South Africa with the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Drawings he made in South Africa were published by Notre DameMagazine and accompanied an article by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in U.S. Catholic Magazine.

Culture and sports[edit]

McMahon accompanied conductor Sir George Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on their first European tour in 1974. The whimsical title (Real Violins) of his film describing that trip refers to Chicago’s reputation as a city where gangsters once carried machine guns in violin cases. He worked for Sports Illustrated Magazine on assignments ranging from the 1959 American League champion baseball team Chicago White Sox and Goose Hunting in Cairo, IL to the Acapulco Yacht Race in Mexico.

Corporate and industrial[edit]

McMahon also created artwork for corporations and businesses. A series of decorative plates which he designed with Chicago themes for Continental Illinois National Bank(1972–1982) were given out as premiums at that time. They have since become collectors items, and are still traded on eBay.[15] He did other work for Continental, and also had commercial commissions for McDonald’s Corporation, International Harvester, Marshall Field & Company and Borg-Warner, among others. He had been heard to say that his work for Continental put several of his children through college.
With sketch pads in hand, Mr. McMahon covered momentous events in the civil rights struggle, spacecraft launchings, national political conventions and the Vatican, turning out line drawings for major magazines and newspapers. Many were later colored by watercolor or acrylic paints, and most rendered scenes in a heightened, energetic style. His goal, he said, was to step beyond what he considered the limitations of photography to “see around corners.”Photographers capture a moment, he said, but he could combine moments, often hours apart, into a single picture and thereby convey, he believed, a larger truth. He might, for example, pluck images from a political convention — a balloon drop, a speaker, a network camera — that never appeared together, and put them in the same frame.

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