Monday, December 04, 2006


Darin - A Portrait Demonstration by David R. Darrow 12" x 14" (30.5cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Monique Bourgeois
Tewksbury, MA – USA

About This Painting

Sunday night I gave a Portrait Painting demonstration at a local art gallery, here in Carlsbad, CA.

I decided to work through the demo from a black and white photo I had taken, which, when I work from a black and white, has two effects on the process: a lot of my values (light to dark) are easier to decide, and I have total freedom over the color, for which I tap into my memory, experience and creativity.

The head model is "Darin."

Darin is a Life Model, meaning he is scheduled at art schools in the area specifically to pose for art students in Life Drawing or Painting courses. When I was teaching an 11-week course on Anatomy for Artists, Darin was scheduled as my model one day, and I had never met him before.

Teaching anatomy with all its odd names for muscles and bones can get a little daunting as well as monotonous to first-year art students, but it is foundational stuff for painting. You have to be able to draw well to paint well. And when a human being is the subject, you can paint the wrinkles and folds of clothing much more believably if you know the shapes and behaviors of the body underneath, and you can do a better job on the body if you know what's going on under the skin, hence Anatomy for Artists.

Darin made my job a lot easier. He is built like a walking, breathing anatomy chart. He had the musculature of a Cirque du Soleil rope acrobat or trapeze artist, with every muscle visible through lean skin. Simply unbelievable.

He became one of my favorite and oft-requested male models, and I asked, at the end of the day, if I could shoot some black and white stills of his face to someday draw or paint, believing it would make for a fascinating painting. In exchange, he received a charcoal portrait of him that I did that day, which he said his mother was going to love. He's such a warm and kind man!

David R. Darrow's Paintcast™There is a short video which I published on YouTube and as an iTunes Paintcast™ (my name for a Painting Video Podcast) made from stills that were shot during last night's demonstration. If you use iTunes, you will get a much higher resolution playback. Search for my Paintcast™ here.

I thought I would post this brand new work, so that a collector or perhaps a budding portrait artist might own it and be able to glean something artistically valuable from being able to have, hold and study the original.

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Rhonda Hurwitz said...

I really love this...such an interesting face, I would love the opportunity to paint Darin!

jenedypaige said...

Hey David,
I'm a young artist, recent college graduate, who's trying out the daily painting field. And I just wanted to let you know that I check out your website almost everyday and love what you're doing. I do have a question, however, are you also a gallery painter? I'm assuming so... do you do large paintings as well as these daily paintings? I'm trying to find that balance right now, because honestly, I want to be a gallery painter, but sometimes it seems that between my day job (teaching at an art school) and the daily paintings, I hardly have the time to work on bigger things. How have you solved this problem? Perhaps you're just faster than me... I don't know, but I'd love some input. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Jenedy Paige

Dean H. said...

Love your work. The various applications reveal yor artistic signature with each stroke.

Peter Yesis said...

David- what a great video. You are a natural teacher. The video flows through the process as smoothly as your brush work. A wonderful gift to all of us.