on exhibit 19 October 1997 - 14 November 1997
Pacific Coast Club
Gouache, ©Alison McMahon 1992

I went to a party in the little white house in the right of the picture around 1990. I kept looking at a vacant construction site next door and wondering what was going on. I mentioned the house--a marvelous piece of wooden cliff house architecture from the first quarter of the twentieth century--to a friend who said, "Oh, next to where the old Pacific Coast Club used to be?" I gasped in horror that time and space had erased it from my memory. I got out an old photograph I had taken before leaving Long Beach in 1979 and did this painting. This painting, along with two others, "The Immortals Visit Alishan" and "Redondo Beach Flying Eaves" were exercises in gouache painting after a particularly thick student asserted that her final exam looked the way it did because gouache paints "Don't blend." If you take the time to learn to work with your materials, they do.

on exhibit 14 November 1997 - 8 December 1997
The Job Interview
Pearls Before Swine
Graphite, ©Alison McMahon 1993

This drawing, "The Job Interview," is a conglomerate caricature woven of various district representatives I encountered in screening interviews in response to newspaper ads, all of them empaneled in a conglomerate room. That's me, right here at the end of the table, squirming, alternately explaining and folding my hands. In this particular image, it is the compass roses that confound the group: "Well, art's fine, but how is that math?"
Did I really have to explain that?
"Well, it is one way to internalize the concept of pi--it accounts for how, no matter how tight your compass, you always wind up with a little bit left over between the last bisecting mark and the first, not to mention that it gives students enthusiasm for geometry and the beauty of mathematical structure in the natural world." Children understand it.

Quotes of the month:

"Remain resolute and unwavering when shirking your duty."

"Never insult an artist: he might make you immortal."
--Evelyn Waugh (?)
"...or a web page builder: he might give you your fifteen minutes of fame."
--Punjab Hillstein, Occultist with a Mission

Whispering Pines Inn
Angelus Oaks, California, March 1990
Graphite, c. 10" x 13", © Alison McMahon 1991
added to the archives 3 January 1997

It's quite a luxury to be able to live in a place where you work part-time and it snows part-time and when it snows, you're either off work or you take off work because the road's closed, and when you do, you can walk around and just enjoy it, like I did here in Angelus Oaks. I took photographs of this unusual bunch of snow everywhere, brilliant warm white and lightest cerulean shadow everywhere, high snow walls along the roads and driveways. It took me two hours to dig my Volkswagen out to get to work that winter. I did this drawing the following winter, or perhaps the winter after, depending on which end of 1991 I did this in; I'll have to check back. This year, I've opted for the luxury of spending the winter in a place where it's warm most of the time, and I work most of the time, and I can be back in the mountains in time for the whee-whee-tee-whee-tee birds (are they Mountain Whipporwills? I think so, but don't remember the name exactly).

Mark February 1996


Back to opening page of the Alison McMahon Johnson Archives
archives, page one
Water Imagery
archives, page two
Holes in Reality, the Taoist Fellow and the Buddhist Monk of literary tradition
archives, page three
Robert James McMahon
My Dad's work: engraving and painting
archives, page five
archives, page six
Dallas Old City Park
archives, page seven
Landscape Panorama
archives, page eight
Linoleum Blocks, 2003
Early Work:
Page nine of McArchives
Early Work: "Backgrounds," "Belle of Avenue A," "Time and Tide"
Holding (Page ten of McArchives):
Drawings from old family photos (includes Girl Scout Troop 212)
archives, page eleven
Endangered Species (Taiwan's traditional farmhouses): A series of watercolors of Taiwan's unique farmhouses
archives, page twelve
More "endangered species"
archives, page fourteen
More old stuff
Mrs. Johnson's Launch Pad
ESL and American Culture Links--fun stuff
The Real America
Some of the fun stuff from Mrs. Johnson's Launch Pad: a page for adult ESL students with a lot of kitschy americana thrown in. Good photos that try to give a sense of place.