Alison's McArchives

Well, Mr Duke
on view 25 May-13 June:
"'Well, Mr. Duke....': How I Caught Up on Domestic Issues, 1979-1989"
Gouache, Alison McMahon © 1990

La Playita, Hermosa Beach Strand

on view 13 June 1997; 16 June-26 June 1997:
"La Playita, Hermosa Beach Strand"
Gouache, Alison McMahon © 1992

The piece above is a gouache painting done after my return to the United States after ten years abroad, during which "I missed the Reagan years," but Uncle Duke (above) kept me informed. I was struck by the opacity of the sand colors here, as I had been struck by the luminous variety of greens for which my palette had been unprepared when I first went to Taiwan. This was a favorite restaurant on the Strand in Hermosa Beach. It has been torn down in the last five years. The banner on the left of the building advises voting on one of the many propositions that passed before the voters regarding the dispensation of the property. These buildings had stood next to the old Biltmore Hotel all through my childhood and remained the same beachfront shops they had always been until just recently.

Cat Street and Hollywood Road 1982
on exhibit 13-16 June 1997; 26 June - 3 July 1997
Cat Street and Hollywood Road 1982 Watercolor, ©Alison McMahon 1994

The piece above is a watercolor painting done after my return to the United States after ten years abroad. I began this one, "Cat Street and Hollywood Road," in 1989, while I was living in Taipei, but didn't finish it until 1994, twelve years after I had taken the original photos. The challenge I offered myself in this one was to arrange all the buildings in the proper perspective, as well as the steep stairs of this "ladder street," without sketching any of it in pencil--a challenge I'd offered myself since 1982 when I first began working with no preliminary pencil underdrawing. I found that the tentative yellow underpainting, moving as it does from place to place before finally settling in to its final position, makes the paintings more alive.

We also visited the site of this temple, Man Mo temple, in March 1997, and took pictures. The stairs were torn up and the temple painted and cleaned, and the vendors' booths lining the stairs were all gone. It was impossible to get the same camera angle of fifteen years ago due to the presence of numerous poles at the top of the stairs where we stood. We did, however, manage to take several photos and I stripped them together with Adobe Photoshop, making an approximation of the scene for comparison. I used another photograph, taken from approximately the same position as the photo used for this painting was taken, to practice a new skill: erasing objects, i.e. the many poles that are now between the camera and the scene.

Click here to view photos of our trip to "Sunset on the Empire" last March. There, you'll see another stripped together photo: one of us together reading a Hermosa newspaper, made from separate images of each other in the same place.

This one's from a Vietnamese Student: "You can't trust communist promises. They get up in the morning and say, 'It's a new day! I have a new idea!'" 16 June 1997

``The situation is completely under control. All of them were killed,'' said Alim Razim, political adviser to Gen. Rashid Dostum, the northern alliance commander responsible for Qalai Janghi. --AP 11/27/01 7:19 EST

No one does it better than the Iraqi Information Minister.

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This page was cited as a
Notable Web Page by the Asian Wall Street Journal,
11/17/98, p.1

Home and Hearth Award of Excellence August 1999

of POD

next page of McArchives
New pages are added all the time, so bookmark this page and explore from here


Endangered Species
A series of watercolors of Taiwan's unique farmhouses (under construction as of 25 May 1998)
Taoist Fellow and Buddhist Monk
Footnotes to the McArchives: Paintings of the other world: "Holes in Reality"
Water Imagery
Page 2 of McArchives
Page 4 of McArchives
Dallas Old City Park
Heritage Buildings, done April 2002 (Page 7 of McArchives)
Missing Asia:
Page 8 of McArchives: Landscapes
Chinese Consciousness: Still Lifes
Early Work
Page 10 of McArchives
(Page 11 of McArchives): Drawings from old family photos (includes Girl Scout Troop 212)
Block Prints, 2003
Page 9 of McArchives
Dioramas and Dolls,
what I've been doing since Fall all started with a Furby
Sunset on the Empire photos of HK
(access the HHH version through the HHH pages)
If you like my art, you might like Ali Baba's Books
...or you might be interested in items I have listed on ebay
Painting of the Week
currently text-only
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, for example:
What I Like About San Bernardino:
Route 66: Wigwam Motel
Link for how to write colors. It's an incredible html color site.
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Teaching Homepage

This page was created on 25 June 1997 by and is maintained by Alison McMahon Johnson
All work © Alison McMahon 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Last modified 21 January 2010
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