Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Jessi by David R. Darrow 9" x 9" (22.9cm x 22.9cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
SOLD Collection of Dean E. Bailiff
Palm Harbor, FL – USA

About This Painting

My wife invited me out for a beer one evening last week. We met at our favorite pizza and beer place in Carlsbad after a long day for each of us, in an already long week full of ups and downs.

She placed the order at the counter and I wandered outside to find a spot in the warm summer evening air. I could see it would be a challenge — with summer in a beach town off to its official start, it seemed everyone in town had gone from the beach to Pizza Port to wind down before heading home.

I plopped my superfluous jacket down across the mostly-crowded picnic-style table, at the same time asking the guests to my left if there was room for my wife and I to squeeze in and sit across from each other. As the head of household gave me a murky response along the lines of "we're expecting a few more" a couple to the right of where I was trying to squeeze in suddenly scooted further down, making more room and said definitively, "Sure! Have a seat."

I looked back at the gentleman who had attempted to decline our presence and said with a smile, "I like their answer better."

Just then my wife showed up with our cold beers and I scurried around the table and sat down next to Jessi, opening the seat across from me and next to Josh for my wife.

We would learn that they had just recently met and were out getting to know each other better.

The two of them were just plain fun folks. We talked easily, joked and laughed together like old friends that had just met. Unusually friendly, I thought. A breath of fresh air.

Eventually the conversation got around the the traditional so-what-do-you-dos and Jessi, a pretty mid-twenties brunette dipped into her purse quickly pulling out two business cards announcing that she is a massage therapist working her day job at what is arguably the finest five-star spa and resort in San Diego County, and at the top of many lists worldwide. We were impressed.

She went on to tell us she trained at Lauterstein-Conway School of Massage in Austin, TX, and was recruited from school directly to this prestigious position in San Diego. "That credential will never be any lower than first position on my resume," she beamed.

Josh — whom I hope to convince to sit for a painting soon, too — is, as we later learned, an officer in the military, having already served 2 tours in Iraq.

Now, I am a scraggly-haired, sun-weathered, California-grown, has-been surfer/artist, and when I ask a short-haired fellow if he's in the military, the typical response is a hesitant yet authoritative "Yes, sir." I guess I might indeed look like a peacenik from decades ago, you know, from the pictures in Time-Life, but honestly, I admire these brace young men and women for taking on the exhausting, dangerous and now highly controversial task of serving our country and the cause of freedom in so many different capacities, and so I stood to shake his hand, smiled and said "It's truly an honor to meet you, sir."

Eventually, the conversation got around to Teresa's work, and finally mine. "I'm an artist. I paint portraits and stuff," I nonchalaunted. Turning to Jessi, I added, "You have great eyes. Can I paint you?"

"Sure! That'd be great," she shot back. And so, just like that, it was settled.

She's as fascinating to paint as to know.

And the whole thing has been a confirmation that it is often serendipitous to talk to complete strangers.  ◙

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"van Vliet" Art Blog said...

Hi David, its been awhile since I commented. I am always glad to see your latest painting and enjoy the stories that you tell with them. The portraits have a very nice style to them, lots of earthy colors reds, greens, clay-like. Thank you for keeping me updated through the email and blog. Gordon

Anonymous said...

Another beautiful portrait.
did you take reference photos of your subject or did you just paint her from life? and if you only worked from life, how long do you ask her to sit for?