From my earliest recollection, drawing was always a part of my life. When I was two years old, my older brother, Richard, then twelve, placed a pencil in my hand, and offered me a few basic instructions. From that day forward, I drew constantly, sitting in my little corner of our parents’ tiny grocery store. At thirteen, I was apprenticed to Mrs. Austin Angle, and began an intense study of the techniques of the masters of the Renaissance and Baroque. I was granted an academic scholarship to the University of Tampa where I advanced my skills in pencil drawing and oil painting, primarily in portrait painting. I have been teaching art full time for over 25 years now and have found my love of teaching greater than my love for creating art.
My commissioned portraits grace the walls of corporate and private collections. Of note are the Royal Portraits of the Knights of Sant’Yago, Tampa, Florida; several executive portraits for the Dun and Bradstreet Plan Services Division; Bishop Joseph Bethea and Mrs. Shirley Bethea, for the Lake Junaluska Assembly in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina; and, most recently, the Abbot Isaac Camacho of St. Leo’s Abbey in Pasco, County, Florida.! In September of 2010, in St. Augustine, Florida, an oil portrait I painted of my ancestor, the oldest city’s founder, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, was permanently installed at the Mission Nobre de Dios Museum, in St. Augustine, Florida. The portrait hangs above my ancestor’s empty casket, which is the centerpiece of the museum.
I am also an accomplished book illustrator. In 1990, I was contracted by Millennium Publishing to illustrate the graphic novel adaptation of horror novelist Anne Rice’s New York Times #1 Best Seller, “The Mummy;” “The Wild Wild West;” “Nosferatu: the Plague;” “Weird Tales” and “Doc Savage”. Recently completed commissions for book illustrations include the children’s book series “Gracie’s Garden,” “Twisty Root,” “The 1000 Years,” “Jasper the Jumping Grasshopper” and the “Little Tiger With the Itchy Stripe,” all by author Jamie Mock; “The Letter Characters of Alphabetville,” a reading instructional series by author Veronica Hipps; and “Perilous Paths: The Story of Robert McClellan” by author George McClellan. North Light Books, most likely the largest publisher of art instruction books, recently invited Mark to film seven how-to videos for their online video division. They are available on their website northlightshop.com and artistsnetwork.tv. Also for North Light, I have offered online courses through their Artist Network University site. I now travel teach seminars across the USA. Cathy and I have been married for 41 years, and we enjoy our home in the mountains of North Carolina. We travel together to the many classes, seminars and art expos throughout the nation.
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