“Mad Men” takes its final Bow

Now that “Justified” is about to head off into the history books, another show has returned to play out it’s final act. As of this writing, “Mad Men” is airing it’s final six or so episodes. I have to admit, I never got into the series. My wife and I watched the first season on DVD. We saw it through to the end, but it never grabbed us the way it has so many others. Even so, I do appreciate how the show has managed to truly capture the visual style of the era in which it exists. So, to usher it on it’s way, I thought I would try to channel a little Robert McGinnis and paint a few portraits of the stylish residents of the “Mad Men” universe starting with everyone’s favorite redhead!

"Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway" 18 x 24. Oil and Acrylic on Watercolor Paper. © Mark Tavares

“Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway” 18 x 24. Oil and Acrylic on Watercolor Paper. © Mark Tavares

More to come! Thanks for looking!

Posted in New Art, Television, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Leonard Nimoy 1931 – 2015

Friday, February 27th 2015, a man who was an integral part of shaping my childhood dreams left the stage. Leonard Nimoy who was best known for his portrayal of..(wait, do I really need to say?) succumbed to late stage COPD.

I will sidestep the usual listing of his career accomplishments. There are many fine sites out there that do it better than I ever would. I will just say that as the heart and soul of “Star Trek”, he was the glue that brought everything together and made that program not only a wonderful escape to other worlds but also the catalyst for generations of fans to pursue careers in science, space, and in my case, the arts.

I always hoped that I would one day get to meet Mr. Nimoy to shake his hand and maybe let him know what the show meant to me. Well, as it turns out, I got to meet him twice; once by accident and once by arrangement. Both times were somewhat embarrassing. The second time was much worse than the first. Let’s just say I didn’t get much of a chance to praise him before we were ushered out the door. While I had been annoyed throughout the years about the missed opportunity, it did make for an amusing story. Now that he has passed, I find that the embarrassment has washed away and in it’s place is a deep sense of gratitude that I actually did get to meet him.

Erin and I get to meet Leonard Nimoy. YIPPEEE!

Erin and I get to meet Leonard Nimoy. YIPPEEE!

Some day, down the road, I will relate the story behind this picture. It’s FUN!

For now, having been taken aback by the announcement of Mr. Nimoy’s passing, I needed to do something. So, I put aside my current project and it’s pressing deadline, and just painted a little something for me.

"Leonard Nimoy Tribute" 8 x 10. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Leonard Nimoy Tribute” 8 x 10. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Thank you so much for all you gave to the world! Rest easy, Mr. Spock!

 

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Ode to Justified

This was something about which I had to keep my trap shut. Now, all can be revealed.

This season is the final one for the FX network show, “Justified”. This show has been a favorite of mine from the get-go. It has great characters, crackling dialogue, and like most of the original programming on FX, it pulls no punches. I highly suggest Netflix-ing it if you don’t already watch.
 
A few weeks back, I was approached by my friend, John Harrington, who is the Prop Master for the show. It is customary for cast and crew departments to exchange gifts at the end of a series. John wanted to do something unique. Knowing my fondness for caricature, he hired me to create this painting. John wanted something a little reminiscent of Jack Davis in style and humor, but not as kinetic. I sketched up a few ideas and we went with a portrait of the main characters hanging out in Johnny’s Bar.
 
Even though we decided to limit it to the main cast, I had to try and get some of the other terrific characters from the show into the painting as well. I included as many “shout outs” as possible in the background, not the least of which being author and creator of Raylan Givens, Elmore Leonard. ..and yes, just like on the show, everyone is packing heat! Prints were made and are being distributed to the cast and crew even as I type this post. I do hope they like them. It was a tremendous honor and pleasure to be able to give something back to one of my favorite shows on television!
"Ode to Justified" 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Ode to Justified” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

 
The even better news is that once the cast and crew get theirs, I can offer prints for sale through my Fine Art America store. So, stay tuned!
Thanks for looking!
Posted in Caricature, Paintings for Sale, Television, Things that Inspire, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy Birthday Rick Baker!

Award-winning Makeup Artist and Mentor to generations of Effects Artists, Rick Baker, celebrated his Birthday yesterday. I sketched this out as a Birthday “card” in honor of the event. Happy Birthday Rick Baker!

"Happy Birthday Rick Baker 2014" 10 x 8. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Happy Birthday Rick Baker 2014” 10 x 8. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Posted in General Musings, New Art, Things that Inspire, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , |

The Enchanted World of Rankin Bass

Opening this weekend (12/6/2014) is “The Enchanted World of Rankin Bass” Group Art Show at, you guessed it, Creature Features in Burbank! Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass were the producers of some of the most beloved Holiday programming on American television. The animated tales of “Rudolph”, “Frosty”, and “Kris Kringle” were required Holiday viewing in my household. The duo was also responsible for other non-Holiday animated and live action fare that is equally beloved.

One such project was “Mad Monster Party”. As the name implies, it was all about Monsters! If that wasn’t enough, voices were supplied by the likes of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller. I won’t bore you with plot details. Suffice it to say, Monster Kids everywhere hold it in high regard. Being one of those Monster Kids myself, this was to be my inspiration for my contribution to the art show. As with my two previous show entries, “Creeper” and “Mansley Robot Fighter”, I decided to stay away from direct representations of the characters. There would already be plenty of those on display. I didn’t feel I could do anything different enough to separate me from the other excellent artists in the show. Once again, I took the characters in a “real world” direction. Here is how they appear in the show.

The Monster and his Mate from "Mad Monster Party" Photo courtesy of & © Rankin/Bass Productions and Embassy Pictures

The Monster and his Mate from “Mad Monster Party” Photo courtesy of & © Rankin/Bass Productions and Embassy Pictures

..and this is my depiction!

"The Monster and his More Intelligent Mate"  18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“The Monster and his More Intelligent Mate” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

I only had time to do one portrait. However, I liked how this came out so much that I might go back and do the rest of the “real world” versions.

Thanks for looking!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, General Musings, Holidays, Paintings for Sale Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Villains in Animation” at Van Eaton

This past weekend, 11/8/2014, the “Iron Giant” show opened. This coming weekend, 11/15/2014, is another trip into the Universe of Animation. This time I will be joining a large group of terrific artists at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks, CA to take part in the “Villains of Animation” Group Art Show.

As this is a new venue for me, I wanted to really make a good first impression. I was alloted space enough for one 12 x 16 painting. So, I started thinking about all the animated villains with whom I was familiar. I landed on Elmer Fudd. A classic, right? My thought was to portray him as he might be in the “real world”. I figured that meant he would be a gap-toothed, dirty, back woods fella straight out of “Deliverance”. Also, he would have to be packing some serious heat. In the cartoons, Elmer is always going “full auto” on Bugs Bunny, which is amazing since he only has a double barreled shotgun. So, I would give him an automatic rifle with a large magazine and tons of extra ammo. There would also be tons of spent shells on the ground. Seeing as this is supposed to be the “real world”, I thought the landscape should reflect Elmer’s “Scorched Earth” tactics. This is what I dreamt up…

"Wabbit Season" 12 x 16. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Wabbit Season” 12 x 16. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

So, I am looking at it, and I’m looking at it, and I’m looking at it… Something is not sitting right with me. I like the concept, but the execution is somewhat lacking. I look at the calendar. I have time. I decide to do something I have never done before a show; paint another painting.

I had another idea from a different show that I thought might work here. For that show, I was going to do a unique take on “Scooby-Doo” villains, in particular “The Creeper”. We never saw any of the SD villains in their lairs, prepping to go out and do their scary things. My idea was to paint the painting as seen from the Creeper’s point of view. You would be looking at a cluttered makeup table. The Creeper Mask is on a head form in the corner. The mirror is surrounded by newspaper clippings about the Creeper, and maybe a foreclosure note from another bank (Motive!) Reflected in the mirror would be the face of the Creeper’s secret true identity, Mr. Carswell.

As nice as that was , I felt it to be a little too complex. I had to streamline the joke. Once again, I decided on doing something else not seen before in “Scooby-Doo” episodes. I would paint up a Mugshot of the Creeper as he was being processed at Police HQ. That was much clearer and straight to the point. Here you go…

"Mugshot of Mr. Carswell, a.k.a. the Creeper" 11 x 14. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Mugshot of Mr. Carswell, a.k.a. the Creeper” 11 x 14. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Already, I was liking so much more the execution of this piece. Where things were getting muddy in the “Elmer” piece, this remained clear throughout. To maintain the “realism” I used Phil Silver’s face as a basis for Mr. Carswell. The recently deceased Richard Kiel served as inspiration for the Creeper mask.

That’s pretty much it. The paintings in the show have gone up for sale today. The show opens Saturday, 11/15/2014. Please come by and check it out if you are in the area!

http://www.vegalleries.com/villains.html

Thanks for looking!

-Mark

 

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Iron Giant 15th Anniversary

Once again, Creature Features is sponsoring an exciting Group Art Show and I am very proud to be included in it. This year, the animated classic “Iron Giant” turns 15. The folks at Creature Features put together a fun show with a lot of great artists to celebrate the occasion. The show opened last evening, 11/8, and will run through Sunday 11/23.

My contribution drew inspiration from the magnificent painted covers of classic Gold Key comic books like, “Lost in Space”, “Dr. Solar”, “Turok, Son of Stone”, and my favorite, “Magnus Robot Fighter”. Like “Magnus”, the Iron Giant’s antagonist, Kent Mansley, thought of himself as a “Robot Fighter”. He would, of course, be cast as the hero in his own “Alternate Universe” comic book. He even has a name very similar to “Magnus”. So, there is was. Once I had finished the painting, the project wasn’t going to be complete until I scanned it and put together a composite of the full “cover” in Photoshop. Here they both are, side by side…

"Cover Art to Mansley Robot Fighter Issue #15"   18 x 24.  Acrylic on Masonite. ©Mark Tavares

“Cover Art to Mansley Robot Fighter Issue #15” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. ©Mark Tavares

Prints will be available in my Fine Art America store very soon! Thanks for looking!!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, New Art, Paintings for Sale Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

October Shadows 2014

Another October is upon us and that means it’s time to get my Halloween on! A big part of that is being able to participate once more in Taylor White’s fabulous “October Shadows 2014” Group Art Show at the Creature Features Gallery in Burbank. As in the past, the show celebrates the traditional iconography of Halloween. Artists had to incorporate Witches, Pumpkins, Bats, Cats, etc. into their works in order to be accepted into the show.

I wanted to tackle a Witch portrait, and there is no more iconic a witch than the infamous Elphaba Thropp, a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz”. The character, immortalized on film by the equally iconic Margaret Hamilton, has been painted time and again. In trying for a fresh take, I was inspired by the self portraits of renowned artist, Frida Kahlo. One painting in particular shows the artist posed against a backdrop of tropical flora and surrounded by monkeys. The connection to the Wicked Witch and her Flying Monkeys was inescapable. I had my take.

I present to you, “Portrait of Wickedness”!

"Portrait of Wickedness"  24 x 30. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Portrait of Wickedness” 24 x 30. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

The show runs through Halloween. You can find information at www.creaturefeatures.com. In case you are interested, this painting is for sale. Contact me for details. Prints are available HERE!

Thanks for looking! Happy Almost-Halloween!!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, General Musings, Halloween, New Art, Paintings for Sale, Things that Inspire Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Big Daddy Roth revisited

This Labor Day weekend saw the opening of another art show at “Creature Features Gallery in downtown Burbank, CA. This show is called “MonsterFink” and it celebrates the grotesquely beautiful Monsters and Cars art created by the legendary Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and the slew of imitators to come after him. The walls were lined with paintings and sculptures all sporting day-glo paint jobs. The art may have been low brow but the quality was high! In addition to the visual delights, the band “Boss Fink” rocked the crowd while a slew of hot rods cruised Magnolia Ave thanks to the good folks at “Autobooks” next door.

Do check out the show if you can. There is a lot of fun stuff to take in! All the art is for sale. However, if you are operating on limited funds, you can also buy prints of the amazing work, including MINE! Speaking of which, here it is!

 

"Hybrid Fink" 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Hybrid Fink” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

 

Thanks for looking!

-Mark

Posted in New Art, Paintings for Sale, Things that Inspire, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , |

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!!

-Mark

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