Daren Bader paints Tarzan.
When I was a child I used to walk in the woods and climb trees barefoot, pretending to be Tarzan. Of course, I would cut my foot on a pinecone, then go home and put some shoes on like anyone else with half a brain. But for as long as I can remember I’ve had an affinity with nature, both real and imagined. And I’ve always been drawn to stories such as Tarzan.
Combining those interests with the imagery I was seeing in the early 70s shaped my artistic sensibilities. Those early pulp adventure covers and paperback novels made huge impressions on me. From NC Wyeth to Frank Schoonover and Frank Frazetta to Jeff Jones, my artistic path was well set.
This piece was a small oil (5x7in) for a Society Of Illustrators: MicroVisions charity auction. I was pleased with it, but knew someday the image needed to be approached on a much larger scale.
Typically I work in my small studio, where undertaking a large painting isn’t easy. But as fate would have it, I was going on a painting retreat – the perfect opportunity to bring Tarzan up to scale.
We set up in a huge old barn, with whatever lights were brought or found in the loft and portable easels. I only brought a large role of primed canvas, a few brushes, painter’s tape and a squirt bottle to mist the acrylic paints.
The painting would need to be finished in oils, but I wasn’t going to take a 30x40in wet oil painting home on a plane. So I would block in the piece with acrylic and save the final oils for home.