Artist at Work

Author: Mark McMahon

For a few days in the winter and a few more this spring, Chicago artist Mark McMahon was loose on campus. He would occasionally stop and set up shop with paper and pencil — sketching on location. The watercolors came later, back at his studio. The style is energetically spontaneous, freshly impressionistic, yet done with the eye and hand of a documentary artist seizing the living moment.

McMahon has taken his talents throughout the United States and Italy, England, Mexico, Ireland, France and Jamaica. His drawings, prints and watercolors can be found in museums and in private and corporate collections. His large murals — some measuring hundreds of feet — can be found around Chicago at O’Hare International Airport, at the Chicago Tribune building, along the Kennedy Expressway and at the General Parking Corporation garage at Van Buren and Federal streets.

Artist at Work – Images by Notre Dame Photography

We invited him to campus to do a singular piece that we translated into a poster for our readers (Looking Out Father Hesburgh’s Window), then asked him to stay awhile and keep drawing — and to come back in the spring. Happily he did, adding these entries to his sketchbook. See more of his work at