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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