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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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Marie-Laure in Red

Marie-Laure in Red by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Collection of S. Matsumoto
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa – Japan

About This Painting

Marie-Laure is an art student from Paris, France. She's quite a brilliant thinker and her drawings are outstanding.

She has such a pretty and charming, tiny little face, and such a "European Hairstyle" — so I asked her to pose for a painting. I like interesting faces. Hers is both pretty and interesting.

If you knew her, you'd agree, this is her.

If you must know, her name is pronounced (with a French accent) something between Ma-hee-Lo and Ma-hee-Loo, and you have to push your lower lip all the way down showing all your lower front teeth when you say the "Loo" part. It's essentially French for Marie-Lauren.

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La Jolla in June

La Jolla in June by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Begian Linen panel SOLD Collection of Jolie Elman
Glendora, CA – USA

About This Painting

La Jolla, CA.

Its name — pronounced 'la HOY-uh" — is a Spanish designation meaning "the Jewel." And it is absolutely gorgeous there, modeling some of the most beautiful, natural, rocky coastline in San Diego.

That is where Mick and I ended up, when trying to find something to paint for our day of plein air. The hardest part about painting this scene yesterday was deciding which other views to decline. Everything there was stunning.

Mick McGinty and I met and became friends at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA in 1977. We were both in the Illustration program there.

We have remained friends for the 29 years since then, and when he and his wife come to California to visit their grown kids, Mick and I try to get together to paint outdoors. Since he lives in Sioux City, South Dakota, I know he's going to want to paint at the ocean.

Not a problem for me!

Mick is an excellent painter, so for me there's just a little internal sense of competition when painting next to this guy.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sculpting A Future

Sculpting A Future by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Carlyle Dallas
Farmington, NM – USA

About This Painting

This young man is an artist. A very talented, knowledgeable and driven artist.

At 17 or 18 he decided he wanted to be a sculptor. At 18 one of his sculptures took Best of Show at the San Diego Counrty Fair.

At 19 now, he has a day job working for FedEx, loading packages 8 hours a day. He's amazingly strong and agile [Video Clip 1], [Video Clip 2], [Video Clip 3], athletic and fit. At night, he studies sculpture and human anatomy at a very good art school in Encinitas, CA. He's paying for the course from his FedEx earnings.

He has an imagination, vision, and the concentration to do what he sets out to do on anything artistic. I have never met anyone as creative with such random materials, or with traditional. At 17, he was already better than i was at the same age, and much more focused.

He is my second son, Greyson.

I painted this one in a way that accentuates his strong masculine features, and merely "indicating" his curly hair, by using almost entirely a 1/2" filbert brush and thick paint. It's on a quadruple-gessoed and sanded masonite panel.

Have you ever read that internet Urban Legend? It's about a rich man's estate going up for auction after his death, and no one bought the portrait of his deceased son, and finally someone did, and there was a note attached to the back that said "Whoever buys this portrait gets my whole estate."

Well, that's an urban legend, and it's not going to happen here.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Orchid and Silver Teapot

Orchid and Silver Teapot by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Patricia Harris
Ragley, CA – USA

About This Painting

I love this little teapot. It's a tiny little thing, reflective and simple, with a bamboo-wrapped silver handle.

I thought it would be a fun problem to solve to see if I could paint the refective qualities of the pot with a fat bristle brush and oil paint. I used a 3/8" wide filbert brush for most of this, with a few dabs using a 1/4" filbert. The result is a juicy, thick painting of an Orchid and a Silver Teapot.

Start your oil painting collection today, with this original oil painting by David R. Darrow! And there is no longer-lasting, or more-appreciated heirloom, than an original work of art given as a gift.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Saturday Jam

Saturday Jam by David R. Darrow 12" x 9" (30.48cm x 22.86cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Fred Hagan
Encinitas, CA – USA

About This Painting

One Sunday morning last year, I took my paint kit to downtown Carlsbad, CA near where I live, looking for a place to set up, and, more importantly, for something interesting to paint. As with any weekend in Carlsbad when the weather is nice, there were people everywhere, shopping, site-seeing, nibbling and playing.

I heard music coming from the area of the corner fountain at State and Grand, where the Carlsbad Train Depot sits.

I decided to set up over there and paint the fountain or something, because this guy was good, and it would be nice to just listen to live guitar music while I painted.

Then it hit me: Paint this guy who was playing guitar!

This was an interesting challenge, because, obviously he didn't sit still. It kept the painting loose and expressive, and forced me to get the whole thing done in one sitting.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

New Wool Hat

New Wool Hat by David R. Darrow 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Bruce Grow
San Diego, CA – USA

About This Painting

I wanted to try something looser and more expressive in this small-sized series. I wanted it to feel like paint... no hard edges, gooey, rich paint that makes an image when you stand back, but becomes abstract and full of movement when viewed closely.

Emily's new wool hat made for a perfect subject againt the glaring blue lights in the background.

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Friday, June 02, 2006


Anya by David R. Darrow 9" x 12" (22.86cm x 30.48cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD Collection of Rocky & Judith Hafdahl
San Juan Capistrano, CA – USA

About This Painting

Anya is a sweet woman. She posed for our little painting group in Rancho Santa Fe in an un-air-conditioned studio. It was sweltering and there was only a fan to keep her cool.

I had arrived late for the session (if you ever hear someone refer to "the late artist David R. Darrow," don't assume that means I have passed on... I may have instead been late again) so I had to get set up quickly and paint fast.

I decided on a heavy brush strokes approach, and exaggerated color. In the hot studio, she was beginning to redden, and her skin took on the "glow" that bespoke the posing conditions.

She was a pro. She spoke with a pronounced accent from Italy or a Persian country — I couldn't tell, and I chose not to ask.

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