Monthly Archives: August 2014

Creature from the Black Tie Lagoon

Starting this weekend, 8/9/2014, Creature Features in Burbank has opened a Group Art show commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Studios amphibious monster classic, “Creature from the Black Lagoon”. As with previous art shows, Creature Features has lined the walls with a staggering array of “Creature'” themed art. Once again, I was racking my brain, trying to come up with a unique take on the subject matter. I had originally planned to go the parody route and do my own version of the Harvey Kurtzman cover art to “MAD” magazine issue #1. The couple recoiling in horror against the wall would be caricatures of “Creature” stars, Richard Carlson and Julie Adams. Eventually, I became just as bored with the idea as you are now having just read that description.

Then, I started playing with the film’s title, trying to come up with some sort of play on words. I was messing around with things like “Black SALOON” or “Black Baloon” when I tripped over “Black TIE Lagoon”. That little insert hung with me. In the film, the Creature and the Beauty do a sort of dance when she decides to take a nice refreshing dip in the Lagoon, unaware of the titular Monster lurking in the water below. Why couldn’t they then formally dance? The idea of the Creature in a tail coat immediately suggested the work of classic Illustrator, J.C. Leyendecker. In particular, an “Arrow Collar” ad he illustrated formed the basis of my entry.

With the reference set, the painting came together quickly. I do think this might be one of the better pieces I have done.

"Creature from the Black Tie Lagoon" 18 x 24. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Creature from the Black Tie Lagoon” 18 x 24. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Thanks for Looking!!


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RIP Dick Smith

It was with great sadness that on July 30, the Makeup community said goodbye to a giant. Richard Emerson “Dick” Smith passed away at the age of 92.

For those reading this who might not know, Dick Smith was considered the Godfather, the Dean of Makeup Artists.

He was a legend in the industry not only for the characters he created for films such as “The Exorcist”, “Amadeus” and others, but also for the countless technical innovations he brought to the craft. Just as remarkable as all of that was Mr. Smith’s willingness to share his boundless knowledge with anyone who asked. In a time of people hording makeup information like state secrets in order to gain a leg up on the competition, Mr. Smith was like an open book. He always felt that the exchange of knowledge was the key to evolving the art of makeup. He was an inspiration to generations of Makeup and Special Makeup Effects Artists, including “yours truly”!Dick Smith lived a full 92 years. I had to honor that, and his effect on my life, in the only way I knew how. In searching for an appropriate reference from which to paint, I chose a photo from his post retirement years. That is because this is the Dick Smith I “knew”. This was the Dick Smith I got to meet, if only for a quick 2 to 3 minute chat while I was at K.N.B. EFX Group. This was the man who, despite no longer working on film projects, was still regularly coming out to visit the shops to study up on what others were creating for the industry. This was the man who was still passing on his vast experience to others through lectures and his correspondence course. This man was an example to all of how to live a life.

Thank you, Mr. Smith, for all that you have done, and continue to do, for us.


RIP Dick Smith

"R.I.P. Dick Smith" 11 x 15. Acrylic on Watercolor paper. © Mark Tavares

“R.I.P. Dick Smith” 11 x 15. Acrylic on Watercolor paper. © Mark Tavares

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