Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bethany in Green

Bethany in Green by David R. Darrow 8" x 14" (20.3cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas
SOLD Collection of L. Grace
San Diego, CA – USA

About This Painting

I'm not as good at math as I should be.

And I am really lame at guessing ages.

In 1991 a little girl came into my life that would change my heart and my mind, and sway my resolutions, the subsequent blessings of which I could never have foreseen.


Because of Bethany, I have a wonderful daughter.

See, in 1991, my daughter did not yet exist, because her mother and I (mostly me) had decided a few years earlier to stop at 2 children. We had two fine boys, and were having plenty of fun, and absorbing the challenges that come with raising two boys on an artist's income.

That year our little family of 4 had season passes to what is now called Six Flags Magic Mountain and decided, for reasons I cannot remember, to take some of our friends' daughters with us. Bethany was 5, and her mother instructed her simply, "Now you hold on to Mr. Darrow's hand the whole time, okay?" Right there in her driveway before we even left for the amusement park, she looked up at me and smiled and grabbed my hand.

Like Superman too close to Kryptonite, I began to melt... little by little throughout the day, this warm, sweet, smiling little girl brought down the giant I thought I was.

At the end of the day, I didn't want to return her to her mother.

But I did. (It's the law).

Later that year we decided to expand our family and "try for a girl." And in 1992 God blessed us with a sweet daughter of our own who has been the subject of many of my paintings, and has her daddy's heart forever.

Well, in 1994 we moved away from that area, and I have never seen anyone in Bethany's family since. Fast-forward to 2007, Tuesday in fact, and I get an e-mail from Bethany assuming, of course, that I remember who she is.

I'm picturing a little smiling cutie looking up at me holding my hand, and I am mentally trying to stretch her image into an older person that has the facility to write e-mails (I told you math escapes me at times).

She attached to the e-mail a picture of her now... posing with a melancholy expression in front of a green wall... and that's when reality smacked me across the face.

She's in her early 20s now, married and just found out she's expecting a child of her own.

How did Bethany turn into a woman in — what's it been —three weeks? All I could write back to her was "Wow! You've grown up!" and then, "This picture looks so much like a work of art with that pose and lighting that I want to know if I can do an oil painting interpretation of it," to which she enthusiastically agreed.

I showed the finished painting to my oldest son when we got together for Thanksgiving and asked him if he remembered Bethany.

"Do I remember her?" he said, as if I asked him if he likes to surf. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have a sister!"

The Legend of Bethany, the 5-year-old girl who melted a man's heart, lives on.

And now she is immortalized.  ◙

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stephen erik schirle said...

nice painting, and great story behind it aswell!


kim shields said...

I love reading the stories behind your paintings. You should publish a journal about all your paintings and experiences. I would buy it.

m collier said...

This is just BEAUTIFUL -- I think one of your best !!! The green of the background, the tones of her skin, the dramtic lighting all work to present the viwer with a brilliant image.

Robin Weiss said...

This painting is as moving as the story behind it. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Great story well told and an excellent painting

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Lovely story and work.

Jennifer McChristian said...

Great painting followed by a great story!
I hope to see you at the Segil Holiday group show :)

A Reason to Paint said...

What a fabulous story and an emotionally charged painting - beautiful!

Stephen Magsig said...

Beautiful painting and beautiful story.

Anonymous said...

David, Great paintings, they are full of life!

I am looking for the best 50th anniversary gifts for mom-dad. My sisters persist they wanna turn a photo into a painting. My sister got proposed by her boyfriend with a ring and a great painting by these guys. They story 50 years old - do you think their story can be captured?

Thnaks, Mitch

sandra flood said...

Nice Piece!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

So sweet, David. You know I love this story... and the painting!

Also, you've been tagged, which means go to my blog and read the instructions to continue the game!

Michel McNinch said...

Wow. So glad I found your blog. When I grow up, I wanna paint like you! Love the compositions and brushwork.

Anonymous said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

Austin Maloney said...

Mick was right. Your work is verry good.

David said...

Great story, David. What a blessing that you had that afternoon. And a striking painting to boot.

Bill Brauker said...

David, what a wonderful story and a beautiful painting. Isn't it interesting how our lives are changed by those we meet in the passage through the years.

edub9 said...

I love this painting and I too have a "Bethany" who when at my very first show 20+ years ago wiped away any doubt in my work as well as the tears. She said she wanted to be just like me when she grew up. I never caught her name but I will never forget those perfect large green eyes.