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 Paintcastâ„¢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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