Thursday, January 11, 2007


Braids by David R. Darrow 5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.8cm)
Oil on Panel SOLD Collection of Shinichi Matsumoto
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa – Japan

About This Painting

This may be my favorite way to paint... not all the time, of course — artists can have different painting moods — but when I can get into the free state of mind to do a nice carefree portrait in a studio or class setting, brushes swinging, turpentine in the air, with my resulting palette looking like a food fight on a dance floor, you know I have had fun!

And this model was fun. Sweet gal, with a cheerful personality. The little, thin braids made me think of my 14-year-old daughter who developed the skill of weaving thin braids like this all over her own head — front, sides and back — while watching TV or doing homework. Amazing.

This style of painting known as alla prima (all in one sitting) is the essence of studio learning. The same kind of lighting is used for intermediate to advanced students at the beginning of a painting course, such as in the workshop I will be teaching later this year, so that the shadow and light patterns can be more easily detected, and the abstract shapes they form can be more easily reassembled on the canvas or panel.

The trick is to imitate light with values in paint, diminishing detail in the shadows, letting the viewer's mind make up the missing parts and form a whole, becoming a recognizable object. In this way, an original oil painting becomes almost dynamic, with movement and life.

For more information on my upcoming 2007 workshop click here.

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Fawn McNeill Barr said...

Awesome! Do you teach at a University?

Jyoti said...

just wonderful :)