Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mac Heaton Art Gallery

This year--this month in fact--is the centennial year of the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS), a milestone in the history of conservation in America. Two thousand sixteen is also the bicentennial year of the State of Indiana. Lost in those two big celebrations is the fact that 2016 is also the centennial year of the first state parks in Indiana, acquired through the tireless efforts of Richard Lieber (1869-1944). McCormick's Creek State Park, located in Owen County, was Indiana's first. Turkey Run State Park, located in Parke County and Colonel Lieber's favorite, came next. Both were dedicated on December 16, 1916, in conjunction with the centennial celebration of Indiana statehood. A little more than two years later, in March 1919, the governor signed a bill creating the Indiana Department of Conservation. Colonel Richard Lieber was named the first director. In 1965, the Indiana Department of Conservation was renamed the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The agency still bears that name.

The Department of Conservation began publishing a magazine called Outdoor Indiana in February 1934. In this age when magazines seem to be dying, Outdoor Indiana is still in print. In June 1945, artist Malcolm C. Heaton (1925-2002) went to work for Outdoor Indiana. In time he became art director of the Department of Conservation. Nicknamed Mac, Heaton was a versatile artist, as the illustrations below will show. He was adept at painting, drawing, and even cartooning. He worked at a time when state conservation agencies employed some outstanding wildlife artists, including Charles Schwartz (1914-1991) in Missouri, Bob Hines (1912-1994) in Ohio, and Ned Smith (1919-1985) in Pennsylvania. Mac Heaton stood among them as an artist from what might be called the golden age of conservation in America.

"Cornfield Covey" by Mac Heaton, a painting depicting a river-bottom field in Greene County, the artist's home county, for the November 1963 issue of Outdoor Indiana. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of conservationists, a covey of bobwhite quail has become a rare sight in Indiana.

A drawing of a gull by Heaton, showing that he worked just as well in halftone as in full color. This illustration is from an article called "Gulls of Michigan City" by James Landing, from Outdoor Indiana, August 1963.

On March 22, 1824, seven white men murdered nine American Indians near Pendleton, Indiana, in an event now called the Fall Creek Massacre. The men were tried and some were executed for their crimes. It was the first time in American history that a white man was executed for a crime against an Indian. Outdoor Indiana had an article about the massacre in its August 1963 issue. The author was Arville L. Funk. Mac Heaton provided the illustration.

In addition to being an illustrator, Heaton was a cartoonist. Here is one of his cartoons, from the back cover of Outdoor Indiana, February 1964.

Finally, another back cover drawing, this one illustrating a biological concept, "Coverings," from Outdoor Indiana, July 1964. 

Note: My computer died last month, and though I have a new computer, I have been without a scanner for a while. Now I'm back in the blogging business, but I have fallen well behind in my writing. Please bear with me while I catch up.
Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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