Artist celebrates 50 years of painting Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Artist celebrates 50 years of painting Steamboat

Artist Mark McMahon has created depictions of the Yampa River, Fish Creek Falls, the Winter Carnival and, shown here, Howelsen Hill.
Courtesy image

Mark McMahon remembers arriving in Steamboat for the first time: It was the 1968 and he had just flown in from Chicago.

“I remember pulling into Hayden and saying, ‘uh oh …what’s this all about?” he said laughing. “On the ride to Steamboat, there were elk eating from haystacks, and I thought my life had come to an end.”

As it turned out, it hadn’t; rather, it was just broadening for the teenager. McMahon was in Steamboat to attend what was then called The Lowell Whiteman School — now Steamboat Mountain School — and after a session of summer school, he returned for two more years.



“It turned my life around — how beautiful it is,” he said. “You’re just awed by it.”

That beauty has been the subject of many of McMahon’s many paintings over the years. The son of artist Franklin McMahon, who had an illustrious artistic career, Mark McMahon followed in his father’s footsteps creating his own career in the art world.



He has covered — and painted — events like the Indy 500 for Sports Illustrated, Hilary Clinton’s balloon drop at the Democratic National Convention and a space shuttle launch for NASA. But he has always been drawn to the beauty of the mountains.

This painting of the Winter Carnival was created by Mark McMahon, who will be at the Schoonover Gallery on March 24 for a reception to celebrate 50 years of painting in and around Steamboat Springs.
Courtesy image

So Mark McMahon returned to the Yampa Valley year after year. He was on the board of Steamboat Mountain School for over a decade and eventually, he and his wife Carolyn bought a cabin in Steamboat that they’ve now had for 35 years.

“Mountain towns are beautiful,” he said. “The landscapes around them are beautiful. What draws me to the mountains, I think, is that it’s different from the way I was raised in Chicago.”

After connecting with Patie Schoonover, owner of the new Schoonover Gallery downtown, many of his Steamboat scenes are now hanging on the gallery’s walls. His depictions of the Yampa River, the resort, Howelsen Hill, Fish Creek Falls, Winter Carnival and more are available as original works and in print format as well.

“It was actually my husband Ray, who found Mark while looking up information about Howelsen Hill,” said Schoonover. “He saw a painting that Mark had done of Howelsen Hill and the research began. We found that Mark had painted all over Steamboat and fell in love with his watercolors. I think visitors and locals alike are drawn to Mark’s art because it is a happy reminder of great times and the beauty around us in Steamboat Springs.”

McMahon will be at the gallery on March 24 for a reception to celebrate 50 years of painting in and around Steamboat Springs.

Mark McMahon has covered and painted well-known events such as the Indy 500 for Sports Illustrated, Hilary Clinton’s balloon drop at the Democratic National Convention and a space shuttle launch for NASA. But he has always been drawn to the beauty of the mountains.
Courtesy photo
If you go

What: 50 Years of Painting Around Steamboat

When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 24

Where: Schoonover Gallery; 929 Lincoln Ave


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.