Friday, June 29, 2007

My 15 Minutes of Fame

Click to see it largerIf you don't count the time I was on Wheel of Fortune, on June 22, 1980 (it's true), I finally got my Andy-Warhol-guaranteed 15-minutes of fame.

Oh sure, you know me as the Everyday Paintings guy, but San Diego County folks get an entire article about me in the cover story of this week's San Diego Reader, a free, weekly publication that gets distributed all over the county at locations such as pizza places, 7-Elevens and Circle-K convenience stores. You know: places where wealthy art buyers go for a heads-up on up-and-coming, 50-year-old artists.

Click for Large viewThe author of the 8000-word cover story, Geoff Bouvier, e-mailed me in March listing his substantial credentials, and asked me if he could do a story about the experience of getting one's portrait painted. He wanted to write it from the perspective of the paintee but also learn about the whole process from the painter. Sounded interesting to me.

I agreed to it, and managed to work it all into my schedule, which at the time, back in March and April, was about as easy as juggling porcupines.

Well, yesterday was the big day, and the published Readers have been distributed.Click to see this larger

If you are one of my San Diego neighbors and you're interested in reading the article and owning a copy, run out and get one today... they typically go quite fast.

Anyone else interested in reading the article? You have two choices:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Jessi by David R. Darrow 9" x 9" (22.9cm x 22.9cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
SOLD Collection of Dean E. Bailiff
Palm Harbor, FL – USA

About This Painting

My wife invited me out for a beer one evening last week. We met at our favorite pizza and beer place in Carlsbad after a long day for each of us, in an already long week full of ups and downs.

She placed the order at the counter and I wandered outside to find a spot in the warm summer evening air. I could see it would be a challenge — with summer in a beach town off to its official start, it seemed everyone in town had gone from the beach to Pizza Port to wind down before heading home.

I plopped my superfluous jacket down across the mostly-crowded picnic-style table, at the same time asking the guests to my left if there was room for my wife and I to squeeze in and sit across from each other. As the head of household gave me a murky response along the lines of "we're expecting a few more" a couple to the right of where I was trying to squeeze in suddenly scooted further down, making more room and said definitively, "Sure! Have a seat."

I looked back at the gentleman who had attempted to decline our presence and said with a smile, "I like their answer better."

Just then my wife showed up with our cold beers and I scurried around the table and sat down next to Jessi, opening the seat across from me and next to Josh for my wife.

We would learn that they had just recently met and were out getting to know each other better.

The two of them were just plain fun folks. We talked easily, joked and laughed together like old friends that had just met. Unusually friendly, I thought. A breath of fresh air.

Eventually the conversation got around the the traditional so-what-do-you-dos and Jessi, a pretty mid-twenties brunette dipped into her purse quickly pulling out two business cards announcing that she is a massage therapist working her day job at what is arguably the finest five-star spa and resort in San Diego County, and at the top of many lists worldwide. We were impressed.

She went on to tell us she trained at Lauterstein-Conway School of Massage in Austin, TX, and was recruited from school directly to this prestigious position in San Diego. "That credential will never be any lower than first position on my resume," she beamed.

Josh — whom I hope to convince to sit for a painting soon, too — is, as we later learned, an officer in the military, having already served 2 tours in Iraq.

Now, I am a scraggly-haired, sun-weathered, California-grown, has-been surfer/artist, and when I ask a short-haired fellow if he's in the military, the typical response is a hesitant yet authoritative "Yes, sir." I guess I might indeed look like a peacenik from decades ago, you know, from the pictures in Time-Life, but honestly, I admire these brace young men and women for taking on the exhausting, dangerous and now highly controversial task of serving our country and the cause of freedom in so many different capacities, and so I stood to shake his hand, smiled and said "It's truly an honor to meet you, sir."

Eventually, the conversation got around to Teresa's work, and finally mine. "I'm an artist. I paint portraits and stuff," I nonchalaunted. Turning to Jessi, I added, "You have great eyes. Can I paint you?"

"Sure! That'd be great," she shot back. And so, just like that, it was settled.

She's as fascinating to paint as to know.

And the whole thing has been a confirmation that it is often serendipitous to talk to complete strangers.  ◙

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Checkin' The Fit

Checkin' The Fit - Relisted by David R. Darrow 8" x 10" (20.3cm x 25.4cm)
Oil on Panel
SOLD Collection of Jeffery McCabe
Port Huron, MI – USA

About This Painting

In very few professions these days, the hat still makes the man.

I live in California, where the only people that wear hats as part of their job, anymore, are cowboys, baseball players and workers in hard-hat areas.

I sometimes wish I lived in the '30s and '40s when even California men wore hats to work, to dinner parties, to town – on a date.

I always fancied myself a hat-person. I got myself a little English-style brimmed cap when I was thirteen. It didn't fit well, though. I have a deep head, front to back... even size XL will give me a headache. I like to think that God gave me extra thinkin' room, for coming up with more ideas, pictures and words.

I console myself with that thought when I walk out of hat stores with nothing on my head.

It's funny, too, because you really can't fake it. People can tell if you're a real cowboy by the look of your hat. And there are such a variety of cowboy hats out there, too. People like to keep them neat and clean, others like to crumple them up and make them look well-worn, some like straw, others leather, others felt.

It's a distinctive American thing, too, the cowboy hat. And getting a good fit is what it's about.

My oldest son, Drew, modeled for this painting. You'll see more of him the near future.  ◙

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Green Chair

Green Chair by David R. Darrow 8" x 8" (20.3cm x 20.3cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas
Framed and Ready to Hang
Collection of Randall and Valerie Hasson
Santa Fe, NM - USA

About This Painting

I always love it when an artist names the painting after, perhaps, the least important part of the painting.

Then again, naming it Oh my gosh! You have really grown up! wouldn't work. And Beautiful Young Lady is rather banal. Or, as my daughter would say: Duh!

Holly, my model in the Green Chair, is the daughter of a friend and fellow artist, Randall M. Hasson and his wife Valerie. (Take a look at his work. His art is amazing. He does large paintings that are a combination of painted subject matter layered with amazing quotations, poetry and scripture in a variety of lettering styles and calligraphy. You've never seen anything like it. His work has to be seen in person to really get the intensity of his work.)

But enough about him.

His daughter was 12 or 13 when I first met Randy and his family. Randy was just developing the style of his work at the time, and we hit it off as budding artists. Mutual back-patters always make good friends.

Well, four years later, Randy opened a gallery for his work and I was invited to the opening. And standing next to him when I arrived was this tall, elegant, striking young woman, now 16, whom I barely recognized as "little Holly" from four years earlier, the last time I had seen her.

I asked if I could shoot some reference photos of her for a maybe-painting someday, and last year ran across those photos and put together this head study of Holly's beautiful features and sculpturesque face.

It hung in a small gallery for a year, and now it's time for it to be seen by a wider audience.

This painting is framed in an imported, distressed gold-metal-leaf frame and is ready to hang.  ◙

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Stolen Glory

Stolen Glory by David R. Darrow 12" x 5" (30.5cm x 12.7cm)
Oil on Panel
SOLD Collection of Bridget Baker
Deer Park, IL – USA

About This Painting

There's a woman in my old neighborhood who loves gardening and especially tending her roses. I commented that this one beautiful variety, with its brilliant yellow-orange center and deep magenta "blush," was one of the most beautiful roses I'd ever seen.

She told me it is a "Chris Evert."

"Like the tennis player?"

"Named after her," I was told. I never knew about that kind of thing. And I never forgot this was a Chris Evert rose. This particular bush produced rose after rose of incredible shape and intense color.

For weeks at a time recently, however, I rarely saw the woman... working too many hours I surmised. Scurrying off early in the morning and not seen again until after dark. But the roses bloomed day after day into perfect blossoms, then fluffed and then dropped their petals in piles all around, and died. Day after day I walked by these perfect roses watching this sad cycle occur again and again.

One morning I saw this perfect bloom, and almost in anger that it would suffer a similar fate, I grabbed my clippers and walked straight out to the rose bush and brazenly cut the blossom off and took it inside.

I never heard a word about it from the woman. Not a word.

The irony was that I had to end its life to enjoy it. Which was, in my opinion, much better than being neglected.

And I was able to extend its life by painting its portrait.  ◙

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Unforeseen Conclusion

Unforeseen Conclusion by David R. Darrow 13-7/8" x 8" (35.2cm x 20.3cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
This painting is not framed
Click here to bid on eBay
Opening Bid: $99 / Buy It Now™ $399.00 Ends: Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 1:55 PM (Pacific Time)

About This Painting

This may seem a little odd, and I want to assure you I have not slipped into "my dark period..." This is just a slightly different approach to finding and representing beauty in everyday things.

On my first morning in my new place, I awoke to find this bird on my balcony, at the foot of the sliding glass doors. She likely died on impact, trying to fly through what she thought was an open passage, instead coming to this unforeseen conclusion.

I stared for a moment, then muttered aloud, sadly but somewhat understandingly, "Didn't see that coming, did you?"

I thought briefly about how to properly dispose of this beautiful but lifeless creature and suddenly flashed on a time when my oldest sister Jan helped me put to rest my pet hamster. I was 12; she was 18.

Late that night I was awakened by noise under my bed, and when I peeked under, I saw that the escaped hamster had met his demise via a higher link on the food chain, our cat.

Jan helped me coax the 'toy' away from the cat, and then she prepared a shoebox lined with tissue into which to lay its body for disposal. We both wanted a little diginity for the little fellow under such otherwise humbling circumstances.

All this flashed through my mind as I gathered up the bird. It was right about at that moment that I decided I would do a painting about this...

I see metaphors... they're everywhere. Sometimes they don't even know they're metaphors.

Death had come to us both.

I had slept in my new place only once and, on my first morning, this is what I awoke to. Far from being 'creeped out' I just felt what I felt... there are times in life when you start off on something wonderful and just don't see how it's going to end.

Four years ago, I stood on a beach marrying the woman I was sure was the love of my life, my closest friend, the woman I wanted holding my hand when I passed from this life. From there, on that clear, sunny day I could not have seen the actual conclusion that lay ahead in the distance. Today I live alone.

Unlike this bird, though, my life is not over. I've found a new place to live. A new place to paint. A new place to think. To move on.

But it is very still, and very quiet now.  ◙

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