Thursday, December 14, 2006

Red Dress

Red Dress by David R. Darrow 11" x 14" (27.9cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Patricia Harris
Ragley, LA – USA

About This Painting

Jacqueline works both sides of the canvas.

No, that doesn't mean she paints on both sides of a single painting support, rather that she is not only one of the most paintable fine art models in San Diego, but is also an excellent artist, too, teaching drawing and painting at her studio near Little Italy, downtown (see for more information about the studio).

The first time I painted her was for this painting. In 2000 I stepped over the edge and decided I was going to make it in Fine Art. Even with my past decades as a commercial illustrator, I knew that getting good at painting was going to require lots of practice and drawing or painting from Life. I signed up for a local workshop in Del Mar, and found myself painting for the next 15 weeks with other eager art students. At 43, I was not the oldest, either.There were 10 or 12 of us ranging from early twenties to late sixties each week, quietly struggling our way to better painting. You really have to experience painting from the model to fully appreciate the whole experience.

There are two kinds of people that make for great models: dancers and other artists. My gut feeling is that this is because they can see in their mind what the viewers are seeing, and can therefore create a great pose for the artists. Jacqueline really stood out in the collection of individual models we had in those 15 weeks.

This painting was my best of that workshop series, in my opinion, and I am certain that the model is to be credited in great part for providing inspiration.

As with most of my workshop "studies" it's time for this one to find a new home, and may prove of worth to another art student or figurative oil painting collector.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mexican Limes

Mexican Limes by David R. Darrow 9" x 6" (22.9cm x 15.2cm)
Oil on Canvas on Birch Panel SOLD Collection of Ann Boudreau
Southbury, CT – USA

About This Painting

A couple of summers ago, a neighbor from across the street walked over with two small plants in plastic terra-cotta-colored pots, one in each hand.

"Would you like a lime tree or two?" she asked, holding one of them forward.

"Those are lime trees?" I asked. They were about 18" (47cm) tall, and mostly "trunk," generously speaking. With about 10mm at the base, with maybe 8 or 10 branches, what she was offering us looked just a little bigger than a seedling.

"I've had them for about a year, and now I am moving to a place they just won't grow, so if you want them..."

"Sure! And we'll make them grow some limes, someday. We promise."

"Oh, And these are Mexican limes. They are smaller than normal."

We gave one of the trees to a neighbor of ours and began a friendly contest to see whose would produce fruit first.

We won.

And now, two years later, with our careful, secret growing method involving 1. a bigger pot of soil, 2. water and 3. sunshine, the tree is about 3ft (1m) in diameter and about that tall, too. Though it now sports a 1.5" (3.8cm) diameter base, it's appears to be too small to hold the maybe 200 limes we got this year.

I figured the tree could spare a few for this painting.

Mexican limes are about the size of ping pong balls, and about as round. They are fully ripe when the rind turns yellow. The rind is only 1/16" (3mm) or less thick — probably not great for zesting — but the juice makes just about the greatest margaritas — you know, once you add sugar water and the other stuff.

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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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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dancer Emily

Dancer Emily by David R. Darrow 6" x 9" (15.2cm x 22.9cm)
Oil on Canvas mounted on Panel SOLD Collection of Faith Hudnell
New York, NY – USA

About This Painting

I had a conversation very recently about what it is that really makes people what they call themselves... or what they really are, almost as an identity.

There are many people who dance, but few are "dancers." It's hard to describe what I mean without holding up two fingers on each of my hands and dramatizing the quotes around each end of the word "dancer" to make my point.

There are musicians and then there are "musicians" — there are artists, and then there are "artists."

It goes beyond what the person does... it goes into their soul. Or maybe it's better put that what they do comes out of their soul. They live and breathe it. It comes so naturally to them, yet they continue to work at it, all their lives, never satisfied completely, yet never dissatisfied enough to stop. Always learning, always working, always improving. They must do it.

Emily is a dancer from the soul.

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San Diego Magazine Article

David in his Studio
David R. Darrow in his home studio
San Diego Magazine, December 2006, Pg 42

A small article appears in this month's issue of San Diego Magazine about me and the concept of 'Daily Painting' and selling on eBay (it's the second article down). It's a short article, but hits all the major points on why I do what I do.

My thanks to author Julia Beeson, for her interest in my work, and for taking the time interview me. It was fun to read, and I appreciate the exposure!

I want to note to my fellow Daily Painters that in the interview I mentioned the group, the site, and even the links of several of you, but which did not make it into the article.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Taking a Few Days Off

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I am putting down the brushes and taking some time off to, among other things, be thankful during this week. I am grateful to God for the eyes he gave me that see color in shadows and differing tones in sunlight as the day passes. I am thankful that my eyes constantly perceive form, and that roses are hard to paint becasue they are just that beeautiful. I am grateful that women have curves, and that metals reflect, that every piece of fruit is as different as humans are from each other, and that real beauty is to be found beneath the skin. I am grateful for the people that come into my life, for those I will see each day, for those I may never see again, and for those I will only see on the Other Shore. I am thankful that I can make a living doing something I love, and that what I do also connects to other people. I am thankful that I live in America, where the Thanksgiving tradition has its deepest roots, and where our forefathers understood Divine Providence, from which I benefit as surely as did they. I am thankful to have been re-united with my sons this year, and to have an ongoing loving relationship with my daughter. I am grateful even for the pains of life, for I know that it builds character, which is much more important than my comfort or happiness.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fairbanks Ranch Falls

Fairbanks Ranch Falls by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Carlyle Dallas
Farmington, NM – USA

About This Painting

If this looks like I have switched to doing abstracts, I haven't. This was a very fast painting. It's an oil sketch, in fact, for an intended larger painting. (If, however, you absolutely love abstracts, well then, call me Picasso and read no further. Just bid.)

In early 2005 I went plein air painting with a friend from Art Center days.

She had access to the private areas of San Diego County's exclusive gated community Fairbanks Ranch, named after Hollywood film legend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Beyond the huge community center, dance hall and lake, there was a path that led to this little ravine, where I stood in the middle of a footbridge with my French easel, brushes and palette and quickly captured the colors and basic shapes of the natural waterfall and stream that flowed from the background and zig-zagged under the bridge beneath me.

One reason for my haste was the growing blackening sky, as a pretty decent rain storm finally put an end to our plein air day.

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Friday, November 17, 2006


Grizzled by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Rocky and Judith Hafdahl
San Juan Capistrano, CA – USA

About This Painting

This is only my second-ever painting in a Western genre.

I love looking at western art, myself, because it can give me a glimpse into an era or a way of life I could never otherwise know.

When I think about the brave men, women and children that took such enormous chances working their way west to California, or the modern ones who still farm on a daily basis, grueling 14-hour days to keep the family ranch in the family, or scrape together enough of a living to feed the children, I have to give them a nod of appreciation.

When I compare their lives to mine, I have to admire what these cowboys, ranchers and wranglers do. Kinda makes me feel like pushing dabs of paint into the right places on a canvas isn't really work... but it what I do best, and seems it's all I've got.

This tired, grizzled old fella, is just resting a while after a hard day's work, thinking about tomorrow's work that'll start in a just a few short hours, not long after supper.

His "see-gar" isn't allowed in the house, so he jots down mental notes with in the barn, a list of to-dos flowing easily through his mind like the smoke from the cigar in the darkening stillness.

Here's to the tough, hardworking Americans that built this country and keep it alive.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ashley's Dream

Ashley's Dream by David R. Darrow 9" x 6" (22.86cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Canvas SOLD Collection of Patricia Harris
Ragley, LA – USA

About This Painting

Ashley dreams of being a professional dancer. A ballet dancer, to be more specific.

She is the only child of a woman with whom I attended art school, and she has been raised with love and devotion. She is an energetic, healthy and happy teen. I met her when she was 14, and was immediately taken by her beautiful face, her attentiveness when speaking to her, her polite and gracious ways.

When talking to her she would look me straight in the eye, and would answer back with thought-out answers... full paragraphs... not the usual one word grunts you hear from most teens.

When she was off talking with her girlfriends, she would be fully engaged with them, talking, listening, laughing or breaking into song with them, but at the same time raising her leg high in the air, first bent at the knee, toes pointed, then straight up above her head, toes now pointed toward the heavens, all the while chitchatting with her friends who had seen this so often they didn't even notice, let alone marvel as I did.

She is simply a sweet little woman, with a sincere and lovely heart.

I hope her dream of becoming a professional dancer comes true.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Communion by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Canvas on Birch Panel SOLD Collection of Carol Schaeper
Temple, TX – USA

About This Painting

Communion. To share in common. To break bread.

The essence of true friendship, true love.

Symbolized with the most basic elements of friends gathering around a table for intimate conversation: bread and wine. It doesn't get anymore basic than that. Nor more rich with flavor.

And yet the meaning of it all is so deep. So rich in detail, yet so ambiguous in its apparent simplicity.

For the meeting of our most basic of needs, we give thanks.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Today's Specials

Today's Specials by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Canvas on Birch Panel SOLD Collection of Nicole Caulfield
Keene, NH – USA

About This Painting

I haven't done a lot of traveling.

I have been an hour and a half south of the border below San Diego, CA, to Ensenada, Mexico... And I think that when I was 13 I actually set foot in Canada up there at Niagara Falls when we drove across the US on a family trip... maybe not. That was a long time ago, and I wasn't paying attention.

Anyway, you probably gather that I don't get out much.

Consequently, I don't know if the rest of the world's restaurants are like they are in America, in that any restaurant you go into whether Persian, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Indian; name it, they will have salt and pepper shakers on the table.

The two basic spices of life.

These condiments and their reflection on the dark, polished-wood table just happened to catch my eye on a trip to Salt Lake City, UT last year. I was there on business, and to satisfy my thirst in the evening I went in search of a good hand-crafted ale, and was directed to a warm, popular little haven called Squatter's Pub.

The ale was ice cold and delightful. If you're ever in Salt Lake City, I do recommend Squatter's.

Would you like to know what the Today's Specials were?

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Red, White and Cheese

Red, White and Cheese by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Donna Tetmeir
Incline Village, NV – USA

About This Painting

The first ever taste of wine and cheese I can remember was on a New Years morning when I was about 10. Maybe younger.

No, my parents didn't serve wine and cheese. There was just some kind of a cheese thing... not a log... not a jar... it was a wad — and they claimed it was Cheddar and Port, as I recall. I seriously doubt it was real wine in there.

Doesn't matter. I hated it. It looked like someone stirred purple cheese into orange cheese, like that brilliant idea to sell peanut butter and jelly in one jar.

And it did not taste good with chocolate.

My family always had a tradition of rising New Years Morning and watching the Pasadena Rose Parade together. (Until I moved away to go to college, I never saw it in color – we only had a black and white TV). We would watch the parade and, as a tradition, eat the weirdest snacks a boy could ever be served: wheat thins, chocolate, cheeses, smoked oysters, kippered herring — we called them "kipper snacks" — and nuts that had to be cracked out of the shells. Then there were the cheese balls coated with nuts, and this cheddar-port wad.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered how cheese and wine actually bring out the best in each other. Cheese alone is one thing, but after a sip of wine, it's altogether better! Wine alone is one thing, but after a bite of cheese? It's just better.

It's fascinating to walk down the wine aisle at the supermarket, or favorite wine store. It's also deeply puzzling. Since I don't read wine reviews or periodicals, I never know what to pick out as far as the name goes.

I tend to go by the variety first, then the label art and then the date. I guess that makes me a consumer. I tend toward labels that have names that either work with or adjust my mood. Usually, it's the ones that make me laugh, or have good art.

I find that just about any of them, red or white, and regardless of their label, go quite nicely with cheese.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Not by Bread Alone

Not by Bread Alone by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

Donald Miller, author of a fine book: Blue Like Jazz tells a story in another thoughtful book of his, Searching For God Knows What in which he and a couple of gentleman — one of them quite successful in business — were sitting in a coffee shop and someone mentioned the World Poker Championship on TV. The wealthy one among them quipped kindly, "no one I know that is successful gambles; rather they work hard, they accept the facts of reality."

Don shot back playfully, "But the facts of reality stink."

The gentleman replied, "Reality is like fine wine. It will not appeal to children."

I think the same can be said for cheese. But "reality is like cheese" sounds less poignant somehow, and if I used it in a sentence, I would lose my audience immediately, garnering instead the cocked heads and confused looks of, say, your dog when you tell him "Company is coming over and I want you to be on your best behavior."

I don't own a dog, but I know they do that.

I was fortunate to have parents that, from the time I was weaned, made me try everything. And if mom cooked it for dinner, you finished your plate, you didn't just "try it." I didn't always appreciate it then, but I do now, because I learned to enjoy so many differing flavors.

Back in 1999 I met my parents in the beautiful artsy town of Carmel by the Sea, midway to San Franscisco from Carlsbad, California. After wandering in and out of galleries all morning and afternoon we finally succumbed to hunger, and popped into a wine and cheese shop. There were so many cheeses to choose from, with names that said nothing of what to expect, and colors and textures that were at once impressive and frightening, so rather than asking for the most popular cheese, I asked what the fellow had that he regarded as the weirdest, smelliest cheese he actually sells.

Without missing a beat, he silently turned and opened the glass-doored refrigerator behind him and brought out a lump of something wrapped in cling-wrap wrapped in butcher paper. When he had freed the grayish, medium-soft cheese from its airlock, he thrust it before my face for a sniff. I recoiled in such an immediate and facially-distorted manner, that without another word, he wrapped it back up and put it back in the cooler. The only thing I could think to ask was, "How could you possibly know when it's time to throw it out?"

Well, we grabbed instead a square of Garlic Jack and a wedge of Jarlsberg, some earthy, aromatic fresh-baked bread and a bottle of white wine and enjoyed it together in the afternoon shade on a beautiful day.

It was one of the most flavorful, memorable meals I can remember ever having.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Red and White Wine

Red and White Wine by David R. Darrow 5-3/8" x 7-1/4" (13.65cm x 18.42cm)
Oil on Canvas SOLD Collection of David P. Best
San Francisco, CA – USA

About This Painting

Life is too short for cheap wine.

I heard that line for the first time from a displaced old country cuss at a company I contracted with back in 1994. Just about everything else about this guy was decidedly unrefined. He didn't like his job, the management or the amount on his paycheck. He had an abrasive personality, the mouth of a seasoned sailor, and a temper-fuse shorter than a bit-off cork.

I don't know how I was in his office long enough for the subject to change to wine, but when he tossed that line into the air, I stopped and inquired as to what made one wine different than another, and just what is "better wine."

You should have seen how instantly I became one of his favorite people in the company for the remaining months of my contract there. And all because I asked him to explain to me his love of wine. Thereafter, he always smiled when I walked in and stood up to shake my hand and greet me. I don't remember seeing him treat anyone else the same way as he treated me after that.

My mom has always reminded me that, biblically, wine is always a symbol of celebration and joy. She's right, you know?

I ended up sitting and talking with that man for over an hour that afternoon, and he went on about the various subtleties, flavors, accents and impressions from a single sip of wine — things of which I had never heard prior. He used words like smoky, musty, oaky, and nose and legs, and finish. The entire conversation occurred without a single sample of wine for demonstration.

But wine never tasted the same after that.

No, I never turned into a wine snob, but I can tell you this, there is a difference between the same wine in a breakfast juice glass versus a fine crystal goblet.

And I am talking about the way it tastes, as well as the way it looks. It is truly a work of art in crystal.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nightclub Morning

Nightclub Morning by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

The silence of the sunny Fall morning was stolen only by the bumble buzzing of the gardener trimming the edges of the postage stamp lawn outside Dini's By The Sea. The contrast to what this corner establishment boasts at night was deafeningly bewildering.

This tiny little restaurant and bar — Carlsbad's version of a nightclub — sits directly across from nothing but the blue Pacific on the absolute edge of California. It has been hoppin' every night since I moved to this town — probably longer. It is truly one of the most popular places to go, apparently, for tourists and locals. Every time I have walked by it on an evening walk, there have been merrymakers filling it beyond its walls, spilling out into the cool night air, laughter and music echoing off the nearby apartments and timeshare resorts.

One large resort shares it's balcony patio area with Dini's as the nightclub's roof. I've walked by in the summer several times to see partiers not only spilling out of the insides, but up above, shouting their conversations to friends in the downstairs patio. The whole scene looks like the real party is on the roof. And it just has to attract even more customers. Where else would you see women in bikinis dancing on the roof in the setting sun?

Ah, but on this quiet morning while the previous night's guests sleep in, this lone worker spins fresh-cut sideburns, readying the place for tonight's date with the townspeople.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Morning Paper

Morning Paper by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Karen Wrigley
Austin, TX – USA

About This Painting

You can not only feel the change in the weather now that Fall is upon us here in Carlsbad, CA, but you can see it, too.

People go from wearing tank-tops, shorts and sandals to wearing sweatshirts, shorts and sandals. It's that brutal.

And it will probably be like this all winter.

Wednesday morning I walked out to the seawall area along Carlsbad Boulevard at Pine Avenue, where just at the north end there is a fenced-off view spot with concrete benches. I happened upon this elderly local resident enjoying the sunny morning in his light-weather jogging suit, coffee in hand, engrossed in the morning paper.

Newspaper reading, as an activity, has always been a bit of a novelty to me. In the home in which I grew up, my father never read the paper. Nor did my mother. We never had our own papers to donate to the Newspaper Drives at the schools.

To my great surprise, my father, who passed on in 2005, had started reading the paper, I believe, about 10 years ago in his 60's. When I would visit Mom and Dad, it was as out of place for me to see Dad sitting there flipping through the morning paper as it would have been to see him sitting in front of the TV watching Survivor.

Oh, yeah... he started doing that, too.

This old gentleman, on a gorgeous, sunny, Fall morning, was sitting in front of one of the most beautiful and popular views in Carlsbad, yet his eyes were feasting on The Morning Paper.

People just do what they do. Nothing more to it than that.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dressed Up

Dressed Up by David R. Darrow 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas SOLD Collection of Madeleine Andrén
Norrköping, Östergötland – Sweden

About This Painting

I had my daughter pose for this one as I did with my earlier painting "Old Hat," and had her slowly turning her head in increments as small as a second hand on a clock, dipping her chin and lowering her eyes until I saw this little bit of light on her eyelid, and the light raking across her face to light the shadow side just past her smile.

This pose was chosen mostly for the lighting, and secondarily the coy look.

I often stare at people unintentionally, completely caught up in how the light is revealing the forms of their faces, subtle ins and outs or muscles, bones and skin.

I was looking for this as I posed her, and when I finally saw it, well... I can't explain it, but that is the pose I had to paint.

Her look, too, was perfect... something she adopted and kind of "got into" because of the old fashioned hat and sweater. She settled into this pose quite naturally, and I was once again delighted to paint my daughter.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Red Grapes and Silver Creamer

Red Grapes and Silver Creamer by David R. Darrow 9" x 6" (22.86cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

Thursday I stopped by a small antique store on State Street in Carlsbad, looking for something.

I don't know what. Just something.

Actually, what drew me in was the fellow's large bookshelves visible from the street. Whenever I see shelves like that from a distance, I can picture in my mind several titles of long-out-of-print art books that I would love to find at a bargain: Anything written by illustrator Andrew Loomis, either of the books I am aware of about Nicolai Fechin, or the 70's book on JC Leyendecker, or the huge volume on Dean Cornwell, and anything by Richard Schmid, to name a few.

Finding nothing inside that caught my eye, I wandered to the gentleman's back terrace where "outdoor antiques and such" were on display.

There, sitting on something I don't even remember, but which set it up at waist level as I walked out, was this silver creamer, mildly tarnished, with a dent on it's right as you face the back of the handle.

I knew it would polish up wonderfully — certainly enough for a painting.

As I went to make my purchase the owner said with surprise, "So you're the one to buy that!"

I told him it was nice enough to put in one of my paintings, and then asked why it was marked so low? He told me, as he walked me over to see a whole silver tea service, that someone had dropped it, dented it, and he couldn't sell it with the set.

It had happened that very day. In fact, moments before I walked in he had just set it outside with the $1.00 price tag on it.

Some things just have to be painted.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Jewel of the Mantel

Jewel of the Mantel by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Diane Whitehead
Park City, UT – USA

About This Painting

Doing a little 'Spring cleaning in the Fall' yesterday, I cleared off the fireplace mantel so that I could dust.

Normally there are paintings, a clock, decorative bottles and few other kitschie things up there, and it was nice to just look at it bare for a change.

The simplicity of it was... I don't know... restful.

Well, of course there's a basic law of nature that says a mantel is there to set things on, so I set this fresh-cut, deep red rose (a sibling of the subject of an earlier painting of mine "A Good Thing") onto the mantle and, somehow, it made it even more restful.

Like pearl earrings set in gold, or a delicate bracelet on a woman's wrist, it dressed up the mantel to perfection.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Bouquet In The Making

Bouquet In The Making by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

My wife brought home this brilliant — practically glow-in-the-dark — lily yesterday. She's going to pot it... but she brought it in announcing "here's your next painting!"

She was right. I am so fascinated with lilies. The flower buds, or pods, kind of sneak up on you and suddenly bloom — the floral equivalent of an explosion. The aroma of several of them is so fragrant, and can fill a room with their perfume. And they are just beautiful.

Knowing how fast this would turn into a full-fledged bouquet, I got going on this painting right away.

And maybe someone reading this has never heard of this, but every time I am within a mile or two of a fresh lily bouquet (okay, I exaggerated... I mean in the same room) my wife warns me not to get too close to those stamen things, because "the pollen stain is impossible to get rid of."

I still picture all of the poor little the bees out there with stained hips.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Old Hat

Old Hat by David R. Darrow 8" x 8" (20.32cm x 20.32cm)
Oil on Streched Canvas SOLD Collection of R. Bert Crossland
West Dundee, IL – USA

About This Painting

Funny expression.

Funny hat.

The expression "old hat" can mean what young folks today refer to as "old school" — out of date or obsolete, or so familiar that it has become uninteresting or boring.

I imagine the expression came from exactly the subject of this painting. It's a lady's hat, the fashionability of which died long before the hat ever did. It's in just about as good condition as the day it was sold.

Not too long ago my wife was thinking of getting rid of it. "No way!" I told her. "That needs to be painted."

My 14-year-old daughter obliged me and put it on for this painting. I think she felt downright "downtown."

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Letters about 'Grading Papers'

I got a great little note today in my Inbox from Kathy. [Click the image to see all 4 frames of the cartoon]
I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing your Everyday Paintings, the delicate lines and shading that you use, the thought and care and story that goes into each one. Your story today made me smile. Our daughter just entered her (first) senior year of college!! (She's definitely on the 5 year plan!) For a number of years we, as a family, have enjoyed the "Zits" cartoon, and even though the main character is "Jeremy", it has, on more than one occasion, seemed that they were writing about "Amanda". So much so that she has remarked, "Who are these people, and why are they spying on our life?" (And yes, I wrote the creators and told them that.) Anyway, I thought you might appreciate the attached copy of yesterday's cartoon. It seems to fit right along with your reflections [in your story]. Thanks so much for doing this — it's a bright spot in my morning!
Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman And later I got a comment posted by my buddy Darren Maurer, and asked him to send me the newspaper clipping to which he refers in this repost of his comment here:
My wife is a teacher herself, so I was always left the responsibility of getting my two girls off to school in the mornings. My oldest daughter started high school this year and I still have the vivid memory of taking her to school on her first day of Kindergarten. There we were with all the other kindergarters and their "moms" saying have a good day in the classroom. My daughter reached up and squeezed my neck and gave me a big hug. We didn't know that a photographer from the newspaper was there and captured the moment for me. The photo was on the front page of the paper the next morning and it remains to this day one of my favorites.
Thanks Darren! Great story and a tear-jerking image! See Darren's paintings: Then my 78-year-old mother wrote to tell me about her recent — get this — 60th High School Reunion for Venice High School, Class of 1946 (Venice, CA)! Here's what she wrote:
Love the new painting, David. I noted that the pencil is red. Very good detail. Loved the story. Which reminds me of my class reunion. A guy named Stan Roberts, who came all the way from Texas to attend the gathering, told us the story about our dear little math teacher, Mrs. Helen Rochoff. My sister Rachel had her for math. As you recall, I avoided all the math classes I could. She used a cane to walk, and sometimes used it to get the attention of some student who wasn't paying any. ;-) As you may also recall, Dad and I were in the first class to graduate after WW2, so probably half of our boys had been accelerated into the class before us. Many boys were drafted, even at the end of the war. Stan was in the service, and he appreciated his math teacher, and he loved to write to Mrs. Rochoff. He said, after writing her the first letter, she sent it back to him, GRADED AND CORRECTED in red pencil. That didn't discourage him or embarrass him. He kept writing, and each time, she'd write back and include his letter, corrected and graded. Can you believe it? They have continued their correspondence all these years... (she may have died not too long ago) and he was proud to say, that he is a TEACHER down there in Texas.

Grading Papers

Grading Papers by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Dawn Renée Spencer
Wake Forest, NC – USA

About This Painting

Tuesday night I met my daughter's new teachers at Back-to-School Night. For at least one of them, this is the third Darrow child — and the last from this generation — to go through classes there. I gulped when I walked onto the school grounds, because I was walking onto a high school campus to meet my daughter's Art, Computer Skills, Algebra and Gym teachers, and I would swear it was about three weeks ago i was rocking her in my arms and putting her back in her crib.

Will someone please slow down Time for me?

We are fortunate that she attends a good school and has very dedicated, loving, caring, fun teachers, and that she looks forward to each class.

Each teacher that we met talked about the class, their methods, their philosphy, and the new Internet check-up system where parents can log on to see if and how their child is keeping up.

Each teacher made sure we knew that they take it very seriously, "but I may not get their progress reports up exactly every day," they all hedged.

It just made me smile. Who, in that room, didn't already understand that teachers put in extraordinarily long and busy days, beginning a lot earlier than I care to rise, and ending sometime after beat-o'clock?

If I were grading papers, I would do so before school, when my mind is fresh. The first morning light, a fresh cup of coffee and some nice tugs of crisp morning air.

Then, off to serve tomorrow's leaders.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Freedom - A Tribute to 9/11

Freedom by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Edward Leonard
Taunton, MA – USA

About This Painting

If you have been following my paintings for a while (at you know that I paint whatever inspires me... whatever has caught my heart and mind for at least the period of time it takes to create a new work.

This 5th Anniversary of 9/11 has kept this particular anniversary on the forefront of my mind, more so than last year or the year before for some reason. I am grateful that we have been safe on our soil for much longer than anyone could have promised back in 2001. I am grateful to God and to the men and women whose job it is to ensure and provide security for our nation, and who fight for the cause of Freedom abroad.

I don't think people from other countries and cultures can fully understand what our flag means to so many people here in America.

Most of the people that I have met who are citizens of other countries speak very fondly, even proudly, of their land. And I think they understand that we are proud of ours, and much of the reverence for our flag is sometimes mistaken to be American arrogance. Yeah, we could be a humbler people. But I am still proud to be from and live in America, "warts and all," as we say.

When my wife and I visited Washington DC in October of 2001, a month after what quickly came to be known as 9/11, we made time to go to the Smithsonian Museum that houses "Old Glory." This tattered and stained flag is just plain huge, and it is staggering to see the reverence shown to this old relic. It's stored in a monstrous room with a custom, rolling gantry that allows conservators to hover inches above it to repair and maintain it.

A Bit of History

We have our 9/11 now, and much of America will be flying our flags: our symbol of Freedom, our country and our sovereignty. But there was a famous 9/13 that is significant as well. Just shy of 200 years ago, in 1814, there was a 35-year-old lawyer who boarded a docked British ship to see if he could negotiate the release of an American prisoner. Britain was our enemy back then. Though the ship he boarded was reportedly flying a truce flag, he was forcibly detained on board as the other British ships in that harbor began an all-night barrage of cannon balls and missiles at nearby Fort McHenry. All he could do was watch in horror, but with hope.

In the morning, September 14th, in the dim and smoky light of dawn he was able to see the American Flag — the very same "Old Glory" now being reverently cared for at the Smithsonian — still flying at Fort McHenry. It was beaten badly, scarred and torn, burned and frail, but "the flag was still there."

On September 20, just six days later, moved by the the events of September 14, in which the British had dropped their assault and turned tail, he wrote a poem heralding the memory. Four months later, the British signed the Treaty of Ghent, thus ending the war.

Ironically, the poem was eventually set to the tune of a British drinking song, and later became our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The poet/lawyer was Francis Scott Key.

I have seen tears run down the cheeks of 90-year-old veterans at the raising of our flag and the playing of that anthem. For many of us, the flag means much more than far-too-many will ever know. It's not about the country as much as it is about Freedom.

Long may it wave.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Could Be The Day!

This Could Be The Day! by David R. Darrow 5" x 9-1/8" (12.7cm x 23.18cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Greg Madden
Evansville, IN – USA

About This Painting

At first I was struck by the high contrast pattern on the bedroom wall, and how it draped across the pillow. It stopped me in my tracks as I walked down the hall. I thought to myself about what a pleasant thing it is to have the sun stream in the window in the morning... that is, until it streams across your sleeping eyes.

Yet each morning brings new opportunity. Each day, like that first cup of morning coffee, is full to the brim with potential joy. You never know what is around the corner, in the next hour, what new blessing will come your way before the day is done.

That tired, spinning day called Yesterday is already so far in the past there is nothing you can do about it. Today's a new day, and every moment is yours.

This idea of a new day and what it can hold has meaning on so many levels for me. There have been times in my life when a new day felt like only another 24-hour period in which to stumble over myself in failure. Other times — fortunately most days — the sunrise has been symbolically the gift of a fresh, new start.

For someone very close to me, a family member, each new day is quite profoundly a gift from God — I know this because she told me so with her own heart. And though her days feel more numbered than mine do to me, she joyfully accepts each day as a precious treasure, and unwraps it gingerly yet eagerly, minute by minute, to see what God has for her today.

Years ago I did a graphic design project for a magnificent singer friend of mine, Steve Amerson, and the title track of his inspiring CD was called "This Could Be The Day!" which brings a whole new layer of meaning to the thought.

Whatever this painting means to you, I hope that on some level it reminds you that This Could Be The Day!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Video Paintcast™ of 'Ixia'

David R. Darrow's Paintcast™I just posted a new Paintcast™ time-lapse video of the entire process of painting Ixia — the painting I did last week. (There is no audio on the Paintcast). It is recommended that you view it in iTunes. Be sure to let iTunes know you want to update that particular podcast by right-clicking on the Podcast title and choosing "Update Podcast." Note: Click here to see a sharper version of it.
The Ixia video may not show up in the episode list if you are "Subscribing" for the first time. It will probably show up tomorrow, but it's still available.
If you do not have iTunes, you can instead view it here, on YouTube, but the quality is not as good. [Download iTunes here]. I got a cute e-mail response to this video:
Dear Mr. Darrow, We just watched your paintcast and were awed. We thought you did a FANTASTIC job! You are a wonderful artist! We thought the flower was real. It took us 4 minutes and 19 seconds to figure out what the painting was for sure, although some of us had the correct guess earlier. When you were done, we all applauded. Hip hip hooray! From, The new students in Miss Hromec's second grade class Montgomery School San Jose, CA

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Pad or Yours?

My Pad or Yours? by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Kendall Stanford
Little Rock, AR – USA

About This Painting

There is something quite peaceful about gazing at a pond covered with lily pads... this scene from the reflecting pond at Balboa Park in San Diego, California.

If you stand there staring long enough you can almost imagine a frog jumping out to sit on one, crown and all.

As I painted this impressionistic interpretation of the floating leaves and flower, amazed at this odd creation that grows flat out on the surface of the water, my mind drifted to a silly old pun/joke from the 70s, when such peculiar language was more common:

A handsome frog fellow met a beautiful frog gal at a wedding reception and they hit if off so well that as the party began to thin out, she asked him if they could get together for coffee to make their acquaintance last a bit longer, to which he replied, "My pad or yours?"

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Saturday, September 02, 2006


Ixia by David R. Darrow 5-1/8" x 14-3/4" (13.02cm x 37.47cm)
Oil on Stretched Cotton Canvas SOLD Collection of Charlotte McDavid
Birmingham, AL – USA

About This Painting

Among the many flowers my wife grows in various sized pots around our home, she absolutely delights in this vapor of a flower called Ixia.

These delicate-stemmed little "crowns" grow from a bulb, spread over the years, but produce only one blooming per year. They take seemingly forever from the time they break the ground to the time they grow 18 inches or more and finally bloom ("forever" is to be taken in the context of my own sense of time, in which, as a child, I pulled up literally all of my hand-planted carrots to see how they were doing).

They burst with a few blooms... three or four, maybe more... and then they are done. That's it. See you next year.

All that waiting.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Still Life with Silver Teapot

Still Life with Silver Teapot by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Kendall Stanford
Little Rock, AR – USA

About This Painting

I hate to disappoint you if you have become accustomed to the "story behind the painting" and discovering what lurks behind the scenes, but this is all that you see.

A still life with a silver teapot.

I am particularly pleased with the sense of light and shadow in it. The rich, deep red of the background sort of disappears into the shadows, and the window highlight reflection on the maroon vase can almost hurt your eyes. Careful.

The painting is all that remains of this quiet and peaceful setting. It has all been taken down, but I can assure you it was a delight to drink my coffee sitting before this still life with a silver teapot.


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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Harbor Angel

Harbor Angel by David R. Darrow 11" x 9-1/2" (27.94cm x 24.13cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Patricia Harris
Ragley, LA – USA

About This Painting

A couple of days ago my wife and I took a side-trip to the Oceanside Harbor to a restaurant next door to the place where we went on our first date. We enjoy this little place, especially during the summer when we can dine outdoors and watch the sun set over the harbor, with all its boats, and incoming fishing expeditions and all the salty characters that hit land again, boasting away with their fish tales.

I always try to remember my camera when I go... you never know where the inspiration for my next Everyday Painting will come from.

This sweet, little angel sat at the table next to us. She was so inquisitive and chatty. She was asking so many questions of everyone around her, and her eyes were intent on her mother almost the entire time.

Her telling, big, blue eyes were punctuated by her constantly raised eyebrows... as if she was in a permanent state of wonder.

As we were getting ready to leave, her grandma was suggesting all the places they could go over the next week: Wild Animal Park, Legoland, Sea World. Her eyes were ablaze with anticipation and excitement — but not as big around as they got when we stood to leave and I said, "That sounds great! Can I go with you?"

She looked at her mom instantly as if to ask, "Is he serious?"

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Friday, August 25, 2006

My Video Paintcast™ Has Been Updated

David R. Darrow's Paintcast™I just posted a simple Paintcast™ video of the stages of The Fragrance of Gardenias painting I did last week. It is recommended that you view it in iTunes. It has been a long time since I updated my Paintcast™ so be sure to let iTunes know you want to update that particular podcast by right-clicking on the Podcast title and choosing "Update Podcast." Note: Click here to see a larger and sharper version of it.
The Fragrance of Gardenias video may not show up in the episode list if you are "Subscribing" for the first time. It will probably show up tomorrow, but it's still available.
If you do not have iTunes, you can instead view it here, on YouTube, but the quality is not as good. [Download iTunes here].

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Art News about Daily Painters

USA Today has an article about us Daily Painters—and appropriately honors Duane Keiser for his pioneering efforts. A remarkable man. There's no mention of my name— also appropriate, since I have still not achieved my goal of one painting per day, which is a goal entirely inspired by Duane's great work. Nevertheless, I am painting everyday (I generally take one day a week off, however) and am learning so much in the process. It's been a great journey.
Why buy art from eBay? According to the article: "The Internet has created a new form of art galleries, and it has allowed artists to become independent entrepreneurs," says Peter Togel, an artist and co-owner of, a new art auction site. "The consumers of the art are people who have white walls and midsized incomes, who could never pay for a painting in a gallery but don't want to go to Wal-Mart to buy a poster."
Here's to you, Duane Keiser, and Justin Clayton, too! And thanks to Mick McGinty, my good friend, for sending the article to me. Mick, a long time friend from Art School in the late '70s, is a constant inspiration to me. May we all fill the world with good art!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Custard's Last Stand

Custard's Last Stand by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Belgian Linen Panel SOLD Collection of Martin Margolies
Dothan, AL – USA

About This Painting

I don't know how a pie manages to exist for very long in our house, but I suppose it has something to do with my wife's strength and discipline.

She brought home a whole custard pie, already adorned in its festive hat of whipped cream and roasted almond slivers. She thought we'd enjoy it.

She was right—but there are only two of us here that like custard pie. And she bought a whole pie!

Well eventually, we were down to one piece, and being the gentleman I am, I left it for her—but it just stayed there in the refrigerator (where I hid it behind the condiments and other tall things) and she never got around to eating it and so... well, you can't just let this kind of thing go to waist — I mean waste...

So I made a fresh pot of coffee and sat down to enjoy this custard's last stand.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Calla Lily 2

Calla Lily 2 by David R. Darrow 8" x 10" (20.32cm x 25.4cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Charlotte McDavid
Birmingham, AL – USA

About This Painting

My 14 year old daughter asked me this weekend, to my surprise — and delight — if she could paint with me.

"Really?!" I asked.

A smile broke across her face. "Yeah! Really!" she sort of mocked, as if she knew I'd be surprised, but didn't want me to make a big deal out of it.

She wanted to paint a calla lily like the one I had up for auction last week, so I set her up with the very same flower, and gave her a few pointers. This being her first time, I had her take a break after an hour or two of her own work and did a quick demo of some of the loose brushwork I was trying to describe in words but which were better off shown.

This calla lily is not hers — rather it is the completed demo I was doing for her. This is much looser and expressive than my usual work, but it turned out to be a nice little piece of art. I hope you like it, too.

Maybe when Lauren finishes hers, we'll show it to you. First times jitters may get in the way, though.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Fragrance of Gardenias

The Fragrance of Gardenias by David R. Darrow 7" x 6" (17.78cm x 15.24cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Martin Margolies
Dothan, AL – USA

About This Painting

I am one who loves the fragrance of Gardenias.

I think they are nearly as beautiful as they smell. The fragrance is such a delightful, powerful characteristic of the flower, that I only need to see the new blooms in my wife's flower pot on our front porch and my memory alone serves up olfactory memories that compel me to take a moment to bend over and smell these velvety, white floral delicacies.

But how to set it in a painting? We don't have enough for a bouquet.

Fortunately, artists find beauty in the discards of others. A few months ago I caught the tail end of a multi-family, garage-sale morning, and found the kinds of deals I was there for: anything left over that would be fun to paint. (I also scored 12 CDs for $2, but that has little to do with this painting other than that I listened to one of them — Harry Connick, Jr.'s "20" — among others while painting this).

I got this perfect little glass bowl for a dime.

And I didn't even have to talk the lady down!

There is a video "walk through" of the painting process here, on

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Golden Chalice

Golden Chalice by David R. Darrow 5-7/8" x 12-7/8" (14.92cm x 32.7cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

"The calla lilies are in bloom again..." –Katherine Hepburn, Stage Door, 1937

I can't even see a calla lily, much less hear the name without thinking of that line uttered by Katherine Hepburn in that 1937 film. I can't tell you why that line stands out in my mind, but it does.The shape and form of calla lilies is remarkable to me. They are a flower with essentially one petal! I have wanted to paint one of them since my wife started growing them this year. She decided to grow these gorgeous, golden yellow beauties rather than the white ones that are so well-known. It was a delight to finally paint one.

The other night my wife and I watched a movie which was set in the period of Picasso, Modigliani and others, and in the movie there was a montage of all the artists who were contemporaries painting with a contest deadline in mind. The painting scenes were fast and furious, brushes loaded with rich, gooey paint. The mood created by the brilliant cinematography made me want to hit the remote and go paint... but my wife was watching, too, and that would have been rude. :-)

The loose, expressive style of this painting came from the impression left by that scene.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Angel Unaware

Angel Unaware by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Patricia Harris
Ragley, LA – USA

About This Painting

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. —Hebrews 13:2

My wife Teresa and I recently ate dinner at a popular Carlsbad restaurant with outdoor seating — which we were quite grateful for during California's record heat wave. The seating outdoors is casual: picnic benches.

Sometimes when we eat out there aren't enough tables for everyone. Sometimes people are just standing off to the side with a very discouraged look on their faces. We usually break the unwritten American Federal Law against such a thing and invite strangers to join us at our table. [gasp] No, really, it's true.

This sweet little 3-year-old "angel" graced our table as a guest. Her family, not wanting to impose on us, sat on the opposite bench of our table, facing the other direction.

I suppose the parents were more attentive than most I see. They attended to her often, conversed with her, made sure she was fed. But a lot of the time the adults only engaged the other adults at the table, and this little angel just entertained herself. Sometimes she went off into a long stare, seeing nothing but what was playing in her mind, and I wondered what she was thinking.

As I snapped a few candid pictures of her (which I later based this painting on) I thought of my own daughter Lauren, now 14 and how I have often thought of her as an angel... my personal princess... a gift from God. At 14 now — though quite beautiful — she no longer looks like the tiny little angel I remember so vividly as if it were only a month or two ago.

I wondered if this little girl's parents had any idea how fast their daughter was really going to grow up.

Someone once said, "I've never heard of a man on his deathbed saying he wished he'd put more time into his business."

As with many of my paintings, I like to give them titles that have more than one meaning.

It occurs to me that this little angel is still so innocent, and unaware of the world she must grow up into, which along with its blessings can bestow deep pain, too.

God bless the little ones.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

A Good Reason to Paint

A few days ago, I posted A Rose by Any Other Note [Link to Post], and noticed the winning bid was from someone that is not on my Everyday Paintings Mailing list [click here to join], so I was curious enough to ask how this person found my work, and what interested them in my painting of a rose on a piano keyboard. I received the following, touching story as part of an e-mail today:
This painting is an anniversary gift for my wife. I searched eBay by “art”; “painting” in the categories and by “oil and rose” in words. I believe that I got +1,000 hints. I believe I scrolled through 56 pages of paintings. To give you some background, here is more of the story: My wife’s father died two weeks ago, and at his funeral was a cross-stitch that was in their home for more that forty years that read: God gave us memories that we might have roses in December My wife wrote thanks to the many World War II veterans and special friends that were at his funeral the following note: You are the petals to my rose of my father. Your times with him and the stores that were told, adds the texture, feel, and color to my memory of him. You are part of my many pictures that I will store and allow his rose to bloom in my memory each time I think of him. You are special to me!
I love it when I know my paintings are in the homes of good people, gentle souls. Update A few hours later, I received this sweet letter from a woman in Hong Kong:
I really want to send you an email long time ago to say - Thank you. About 2 months ago, I saw your painting "Anya" on ebay [Click here to see that painting —dd.] As you know there is a lot of factory made paintings which say they are a "original painting by an artist," it really hard to find a painting with a soul (I'm sorry my English is not good, wish you understand my meaning) I live in Hong Kong and attended art school in Vancouver, graduated on 1996, major is painting and my wish is to be a painter. Because my family is in Hong Kong and my dad hoped I would come back to take care of his business so I went back in 1996, stopped painting since then... just because I don't have place to paint, and I use up my energy on my dad's business. There is so many things happen between these 10 years, I met my husband, married and still work in my dad's company although I am not good at doing business. I always want to see more painting so I go to ebay because it is so convenience, but really hard to find nice ones. When I saw your painting, it really impress me. Then, I went to your website and the artist links of daily painters on your site... because of these actions, my life began to change. I picked up my paint brush and painted since last month, trying to catch back my drawing skill... I am trying to turn my life and wish I can become a painter on the rest of my life, I know the future is not easy. My husband really support me when I told him my thought. Thanks God gave me my husband, not because he support me to be a painter, because he has a gentle soul. And, thanks God give me a chance to meet you on ebay. Your works and your effort totally influence my life. One more thing I want to share... I placed a bid on your painting "New Wool Hat" [Click here to see that post —dd] (actually I considered for few days, because it is so beautiful, I really want to have this artwork), then someone put a bid much higher then mine immediately. I think he really love this painting so I did not place a higher bid. It wasn't because of the price, I am so happy someone love it and it may give another change on someone else's life, as I have got.
This kind of thing is very rewarding to me. I am touched that I have somehow inspired an artist in Hong Kong to pick up her brushes and paint again!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One of my biggest fans

"Skinny" feels quite at home under Karen's collection of 3 of my original oil paintings. Thanks to Karen for sending the photo.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Good Thing

A Good Thing by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Belgian Linen Panel SOLD Collection of Linda Ferszt
Houston, TX – USA

About This Painting

There is a person in our lives — my wife and I — who has had it rough. Some people just have it rough, and he is one of them. Abandoned by his parent, cared for by relatives. Shuffled here and there, in and out of trouble.

We've heard his stories of life in jail, or extended periods in prison.

He just makes some bad choices from time to time—and gets caught. And pays the price.

But we enjoy his company. We love him, and when he wants to come by, we welcome him in our home, because we trust him. He's a gentle soul. He just has a little problem with authority.

Several months back, he called and asked if he could come by. He had a present for my wife. We told him sure, and asked when he'd be around. "Oh... in a couple of hours, I think."

He drove about 80 miles just to drop off a rooted rose stem wrapped in wet newspapers and a plastic baggie to keep it damp. He knew Teresa liked gardening and that she cared for her roses. He thought she'd like this one.

He was emphatic and repetitive about how we needed to get it into soil as soon as we can, and keep it in the shade, and keep it watered.

Teresa planted it in a pot the next day and found place for it in the shade. Over the next few days, the leaves wilted and it looked like it wasn't going to make it.

But we both took care of it, looking each day for any signs of life. Eventually it took, stared to sprout leaf buds, then branches and just recently its first flower bud. And this season it finally produced its first bloom. To our delight, the first rose was just perfect. Dark red petals made of the finest velvet.

I decided to paint it because of what it meant to us. A reminder to us that he is a precious soul, loved by God. And for us, he did "A Good Thing."

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Male Head Study

Male Head Study by David R. Darrow 14" x 18" (35.56cm x 45.72cm)
Oil on Canvas Board SOLD Collection of Karen Corwin
Wildwood, MO – USA

About This Painting

This is a study I did in a painting workshop in 2000.

This was the year I decided I was going to go full-time Fine Art, and paint for a living.

As any creative person knows, especially in the visual arts, you have to keep you skills sharp with traditional exercises, and for many painters, the best thing is to paint from life.

This model showed up for the workshop with his hair in a short pony tale, a black leather jacket, and what I can only describe as a "Pirate Shirt." We all stood in a semicircle around him, Classical music playing on the sound system, and painted for the next 3 hours. My vantage point was at his extreme right.

This, and studies like it, get painted with all the enthusiasm and care I would put into any painting, with the caveat being the severe time constraints of a workshop environment.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Note

A Rose By Any Other Note by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Kerry and Melinda Gordon
Artesia, NM – USA

About This Painting

When I visited my mother not long ago, she had this dainty, little, miniature rose bush growing in a wicker "pot" sitting on the upper-right of her baby grand piano.

At 78, she still plays piano by ear, and by score, and her home is always impeccably neat and welcoming. Gardening and music are her life.

I set the roses on the keys, and the two just seemed to feels at home together. It looked like a romantic painting already.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

PBJ - The Sandwich of Choice

PBJ - The Sandwich of Choice by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

When I was in first grade at California Elementary School in Costa Mesa, CA, I began trading in commodities.

My trading partner: Ginny Lou.

Ginny get two sandwiches in her lunch box everyday: Meat and Cheese, and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Both were prepared on Wonder Bread.

I rarely got PBJs in my lunch box. And when I did, they were on Orowheat Whole Grain Wheat bread.

Now, not being as concerned about my well-being and sense of variety as my mother was, I envied Ginny Lou's daily PBJs.

My mother, the loving lunch chef that sent me off to school everyday with a well-rounded lunch including a Thermos full of cold milk (which she colored with blue food coloring each April Fool's Day, or green on St. Patrick's Day — much to my delight for the reaction it got), grew up during the Great Depression, and as the baby of 7 children in a poor family, all of her sandwiches throughout elementary school consisted of Sandwich Spread (essentially Mayonnaise with pickle relish stirred in) on White Bread.

She loved me. And as a result, would not buy white bread.

Her son was not going to eat Depression Bread.

Enter Ginny Lou. Ginny Lou, as I discovered one day, had a taste for Tuna Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Bread. Since I got Tuna once a week (due to my gracious mother's insistence on variety for her children) I had something of value to trade for my Sandwich of Choice.

I am grateful for a hardworking father, and a caring mother. I knew always that I was loved deeply by both... but I have to make this toast: Here's to you, Ginny Lou.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City, CA

Battery Point Lighthouse by David R. Darrow 10" x 8" (25.4cm x 20.32cm)
Oil on Panel AVAILABLEat Segil Fine Art Gallery

About This Painting

Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City, California.

I am finally finishing the paintings I started on our recent trip to Portland, Oregon and back [to Carlsbad, CA].

We arrived at this location in time for sunset, and just had to get out and spend some time there. The air was salty and still, cool and peaceful. Not a sound could be heard but the gentle lapping of the tiny waves rolling in seemingly in slow motion.

But for the spinning beacon of safety, the entire location was lifeless as far as we could see. It was so very calming.

I tried to paint this thickly and expressively, with less detail than some others I do. I was particularly curious as to how to indicate the broad blanket of driftwood in the foreground just beyond the berm. All of it would soon be in shadow, and the little bits in the light were like gold nuggets gleaming in the setting sun.

I do want to go back.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Back on the Easel

The "vacation" was nice, the sites were beautiful. Now I am back on the easel finishing some paintings I started over the last two weeks. Posting soon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

6 Days of Rest

My wife and I are taking a long drive, from Carlsbad, CA to Portland, OR. starting today. We need to be there in time for my niece Annie's wedding on Saturday, and we're getting an early start so that I can do a little painting along the way, too. So there will likely be no offerings on eBay until we return next week. I may post to my blog remotely, but I am not sure at this time.
Update: I am posting details of the "Road Trip" on my Personal Blog: My Thoughts... Exactly!™

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Seated Female Nude

Seated Female Nude by David R. Darrow 12" x 16" (30.48cm x 40.64cm)
Oil on Triple-Gessoed Mahogany Panel, unframed SOLD Collection of Peter Slusarczyk
Craigie, W. Australia – Australia

About This Painting

Why do artists paint nudes?

It's a tradition as old as drawing, and painting, especially as art training began six or seven hundred years ago.

Probably the best argument for painting a nude is the sheer beauty, elegance and magnificence of the human form — in my opinion God's most spectacular creation.

Beyond that, due to its inherent difficulty, it keeps the artist honest: If I paint a tree wrong, who knows? if I take shortcuts on a landscape, you won't know. But if I paint anything incorrectly on a human form, it's immediately obvious. That's where drawing and painting from the figure is unparalleled training for the artist. And it's just as valuable for "brush-up" (pun intended) for the seasoned painter, as well.

I love the way form is brought out visually by a single light source on the model. And the way muscle and structure are enhanced by the lighting, even though the model is at rest.

It is always a joy to get to paint from the human figure.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Female Torso Study

Female Torso Study, Nude by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Louise Zeigler
Arlington, WA – USA

About This Painting

I have to admit, I like painting from a model more than plein air landscapes, or seascapes.

For me, painting the figure comes more naturally, or maybe I am just more practiced with human anatomy. From the time I was in high school, I had a drive to capture likenesses and draw humans well. And I still consider it a massive challenge.

Nearly always, painting from a nude model has involved painting with other artists — maintaining focus before your peers adds to the challenge. There were 10 or 12 other painters painting this same model, from different angles of, course.

The model assumed this "pose" quite readily. I kind of mock the pose, because really she just sat down on the futon/couch with a bookshelf on her right casting a shadow on her. And that was her "pose." We did convince her to move more into the light.

My first reaction was that such a simple pose was going to make for a lousy painting, but as I got into it with the various warm shadows and slight differences in modeling with color, I began to feel a freedom with my brushes that was unexpected.

Choosing a 5 x 7 format in keeping with my usual Everyday Paintings size, I thought painting a figure in such a small area would be constricting. But I wanted the challenge. I started putting in my more finishing touches in the face, first (the face, from chin to hairline is only 1.75" (4.4cm) tall).

Since it was coming out nicely, and a good likeness, I continued and was delighted to find at the end of the two and a half hours that I had a very nice little figure study for my effort.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

La Jolla #2

La Jolla #2 by David R. Darrow 10" x 8" (25.4cm x 20.32cm)
Oil on Belgian Linen Panel SOLD Collection of Sharon Duncan
Plano, TX – USA

About This Painting

Once again, I had the pleasure of joining Mick McGinty for a little plein air painting at Children's Beach, La Jolla, CA.

On this day, we headed out to Elfin Forest, near San Marcos, CA. There are some beautiful hiking areas, streams and gorgeous landscape.

For some reason — maybe it was the little coffee-cup incident, where Mick slipped on a boulder and had to sacrifice his Starbucks Venti to protect his camera — we left the area after a while and made our way back to the coast and down to La Jolla.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

ebay Money Order Scam / Buy It Now

Just want to give you a heads-up on an eBay scam (that, fortunately, I did NOT fall for). Even if you don't fall for it, it still causes damage, since your item gets "purchased" and you cannot file a claim against the person for 10 days. Besides that, there is the personal damage: a little hit to the ego just after letting it ride high for a little while on the instant sale, plus a lot of lost time. I have detailed it with names and addresses on a permanent page on my Main Site blog. All links within the text work currently, and the eBay-related links should be copied for your own use if you need them later. Here's the link: ebay Money Order Scam

Friday, June 23, 2006


Elsewhere by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel Not For Sale Private Collection

About This Painting

Where is she right now?

I believe that when we die we actually just relocate. Who we really are does not remain, but moves out of the 'house' we have occupied fror a lifetime. Who we are is our spirit, soul and mind.

'Who we are' is trapped inside this body.

Our mind, among those three aspects of our real self, seems the least limited in venturing out. A person's mind can take them to other places. They can do so as a matter of will, or entirely by accident. A turn of the head, refocusing on the movie screen of the mind's eye, and they are gone.

Sometimes you can see in their eyes: they are not here right now. They are deep in thought, or daydreaming, or caught up in turmoil or worry, or recalling a happier time, a fond memory, a dream or a wish. All that is certain and knowable from the outside, is that they are not present. And, from a distance, no amount of wishing or wanting can bring them back.

I caught her in one of her many moments. This painting is my answer to the question "Where is she right now?"


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