My Thoughts... Exactly!

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Page 3 of 21

Sarah A

Sarah Aby David R. Darrow
6" x 6" (15.2cm x 15.2cm)
Oil on Panel
Collection of Dan Medcalf,
Indianapolis, IN – USA

About This Painting

This study is of one of the viewers of my internet broadcast (Dave the Painting Guy) who is an enthusiastic artist and my friend, Sarah A.

This started purely as an experiment to paint using our modern technological advances. Sarah, who lives 2500 miles from me, posed for me via a Skype video connection, and this ended up being painted from a screen-capture. I was going to try to paint her live, but was having tech-issues with the connection that day.

Sarah is a lovely young woman, gracious in personality and appearance and was a pleasure to paint. ◙

The Colors of Black

The Colors of Black - a Portraitby David R. Darrow
8" x 10" (20.3cm x 25.4cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
Collection of J. Arce,
Jacksonville, IL – USA

About This Painting

Ever since I was a child, I thought it was odd that they called some people black and others white, red, yellow or brown — okay, I got the “brown” reference, but it seemed to me, at that young age, that we were all some variation of brown, anyway… dark browns, light browns, pinkish browns, yellowish browns, reddish browns…

As an artist I have always been intrigued by the colors I see in a dark-skinned person’s flesh, and enjoy the particular challenge of mixing those colors. Color Theory tells me that, in its most basic elements, color is a combination of the following things: the color of the light landing on an object, the spectrum absorption of the object, and the spectral reflectance of that same object all combined with individual color perception (it’s possible others see the same color differently than I do, which theoretically makes it a different color than I see).

Color Theory says that an orange, for example, has properties that reflect the orange range (red and yellows) of the available light spectrum but absorb all the other colors, and therefore our eyes only pick up the “orange light waves” that are reflected at us.

So, from an observational standpoint, and depending on the environment, some people (their flesh tones) reflect or absorb colors of the spectrum differently than others.

Wen painting this, I observed that there were very few mixtures that included actual white pigment, and many that included blues or purples to balance the golden browns, while much of the other color was absorbed deep into shadow. ◙

John Wayne Portrait in Acrylic

John Wayne Portraitby David R. Darrow
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.8cm)
Acrylic on Panel
Collection of George Reis,
San Diego, CA – USA

About This Painting

The Duke. I grew up with this fellow on TV all the time. Our TV was black and white all the years I lived at home, so I never got to see John Wayne in color unless I ‘went to the movies’ or saw him on a friend’s color TV. The last movie I saw him in was his last movie The Shootist.

It’s reported that John Wayne’s gravestone is engraved with the inscription Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

I painted this one evening on my internet broadcast as a demo. Someone in the accompanying chatroom asked why I never paint in acrylic… and I responded with this acrylic painting of John Wayne. As an illustrator for 20 years, I painted in acrylic all the time, but 10 years ago I switched to oil. ◙

5-Value Head Study

5-Value Head Studyby David R. Darrow
6" x 6" (15.2cm x 15.2cm)
Oil on Panel
Collection of Linda Reynolds,
Tampa, FL – USA

About This Painting

The following may only be interesting to other artists. It’s a long-held principle that a good portrait has a reduced set of values. Five values is common among the great painters, especially seen in the work of John Singer Sargent.

I decided to give it a try, and I started by mixing 5 equally-spaced values using a mixing knife and two tubes of oil paint: raw umber and titanium white.

I quickly painted this head study starting with my darkest dark, then filled in the rest where appropriate.

Two values for shadow, and 3 values for the lights. ◙

Sofa Nude, Alla Prima

Sofa Nude, Alla Primaby David R. Darrow
14" x 11" (35.6cm x 27.9cm)
Oil on Stretched Canvas
Collection of Kathy Brusnighan,
Greensboro, NC – USA

About This Painting

This nude was painted as perhaps the first demonstration I ever did on my live broadcast Dave The Painting Guy. I was painting for no one, then someone showed up and started asking questions… the rest is history. ◙

Sitting Nude Alla Prima

Sitting Nude, Alla Primaby David R. Darrow
11" x 14" (27.9cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
Collection of Shelley Lampman,
Oak Harbor, WA – USA

About This Painting

This seated nude was done in 2009. Thick and thin oil on canvas panel. ◙

‘We Are the World’ Music Video – For Haiti

Of course, I was around 25 years ago for the original version of this song. This is quite a nice, sonic version of it, updated with today’s artists, styles and sound, presented in crystal-clear multichannel sound, too. There are a great many wonderful vocal vignettes in this version, but listen for Celine Dion’s amazing vocal run after ‘3:50.’

Interesting Documentary about Aspertame

I heard recently that “Aspertame sweetener is the excrement from E. Coli bacteria that have been fed toxic waste.” It sounded outrageous — and I have preferred diet drinks over sugared for several decades — so I started searching Google for answers.

I found this 1.5hr video that raises concerns.

For several years I have been mildly concerned about changes in people I meet: grown men I know going through long periods of debilitating depression, the changes in the health of entire populations, namely obesity, etc.

I remember buying chicken breast at a local Vons market, and the breasts were enormous. At the time, I was only thinking about a hearty barbecue, and was delighted to find ‘man-size’ pieces of chicken, but later I got to asking myself how ‘they grow chickens’ with such enormous breasts.” It has to be something unnatural, because when I was a kid, the chicken breasts my mom prepared were maybe 1/3 this size.

I’m not smart enough to know what the right answers are, but I’m getting increasingly concerned about any non-natural additives in food, manipulated growing techniques (genetically-modified foods, etc).

I think I am now done with diet drinks and artificially-sweetened foods. Why bother?

End of an Era – Fred Fixler Dies

It is with a sense of sadness and gratitude that I report the passing of Fred Fixler this afternoon at 12:50pm.

Fred was one of the most remarkable instructors I ever had, teaching tonal drawing, life drawing, portraiture and quicksketch. He was brought to my attention by a very young Morgan Weistling in 1988, when I asked where in the world he learned to draw and paint. Morgan pointed me to his school then in Calabassas, CA.

Just yesterday, on a whim, I looked up Fred’s son Evan to inquire about his father, asking simply, what’s the latest news on Fred?

Today I received the following message from Evan:

Sorry for not writing back yesterday. Dad Passed away at 12:50 this afternoon. He died from what we believe was a perforated bowel at Kaiser Woodland Hills. I do not believe there will be any services and his wish was to be cremated.

To say that Fred was influential, brilliant and loved would all be saying to little. I have heard him quoted by name form some of the world’s finest living artists, mentioned in virtually every Weistling video and interview, and honored by many who were fortunate enough to be under his teaching.

The world lost a remarkable man today, but beauty will still flow into this world because of what he taught, how he loved his students, how he insisted on following the fundamentals of great art, and his love for the figure.

“Draw near to God, now, Fred.”

The Sitter

Last evening

Last night I took a detour and decided to paint something loosely in acrylic. I painted exclusively in acrylic for years in my commercial illustration days, eventually adding colored pencil and airbrush for blending… I never could get the blending I desired with just brushes and acrylic.

This was an experiment with Atelier Brand acrylics. It was an enjoyable experience, and I was able to get a whole figure painting done in about 2 hours.

StartStage 2Finished
The Sitter • 7″ x 10″ (18cm x 25cm) • acrylic on gessoed paperboard
Click each for larger views


For a limited time you may get an 11 x 14 signed giclée for $39 and free shipping in the US. This represents a total savings of about 20% of Dave’s regular prices. (I accept checks via snail mail, or you can purchase now with Paypal)

Masai Warrior Initiation, Progress

Current Painting on the Easel

If you haven’t been watching lately, I am busy with an 18 x 24 commission, Masai Warrior Initiation shown below at exactly the stage it is as I write this. I will be continuing during the day today and this evening on the broadcast. (click image for a larger view)

Open Letter to Langnickel Royal Brush Co.

Contact Addresses: &

Royal Brush Manufacturing
6707 Broadway
Merrillville, Indiana 46410
United States

Please deliver to the President/CEO of Royal Brush Manufacturing

Dear Langnickel,

I don’t know if you guys realize what a gold mine you are sitting on, and how you are squandering the value of it through manufacturing inconsistencies (handle length, handle color, unavailability, etc.) and quality inconsistencies.

Admittedly, I don’t know if the market for your Royal Sable (series 55xx) is currently big enough to reorganize your manufacturing processes, but I do know that virtually every major portrait artist and influential oil painter I know who uses Langnickel brushes is actively looking for a suitable alternative, citing the same things I experience on a regular basis.

First of all, let me tell you that everyone I know, who I have convinced to give your Royal Sable long-haired, long-handled filberts a try LOVES them. It’s an absolutely BRILLIANT concept… The shape is flawless and the fiber length is unmatched. The springiness is superb, and the strength of the hairs is wonderful. I paint better because of these brushes.

Just a few of the names of influential artists I know who use your brushes: Morgan Weistling, Richard Schmid, Jeremy Lipking, Dan Gerhartz, Casey Baugh and many, many others, including myself. I personally have a live broadcast venue, (Dave the Painting Guy) that reaches over 500 interested viewers (and rapidly growing), many of whom always want to know what brand/series of brushes I use.

I always tell them the brand name and series, but I always add, “You will come to love and hate Langnickel Royal Sable brushes. You will love them because they feel right. They apply paint just right. But you will hate them because you never know what you’re going to get with them, and they do not manufacture enough for the market — they are very difficult to find.”

I tell them plainly that I can receive in the same batch purchased a brush that lasts for months, even years, and a brush that loses half or even all it’s hairs immediately when I pinch out the oil into a rag. Many of my Royal Sables have become useless in an hour or two because of so many lost hairs that the remainder do not stay on the ferrule any more. (Can’t you embed the hairs in an epoxy or glue to keep them inside?)

These brushes shed like no other brush I have owned. This is one of the only frustrating outside influences I experience when painting, interrupting the flow of the usual problem-solving that is the joy of painting.

One of my favorite brushes is virtually always out of stock, everywhere I look: the 5520 #8, blue handle.

By the way, what’s with blue handles and red handles in the same series number? It is my belief that the filberts, 5520-blue have longer hairs than the 5520-red — why don’t you have a different series number if they are going to be that different? If they are not supposed to be different, please note that they are extremely different, and these inconsistencies are hurting your popularity.

And if you’re going to have long-handled brushes or short-handled brushes, PLEASE make them a different series number. When ordering by phone (the only way I will order Langnickel brushes) I always request that the sales person get hold of the brushes personally so I can ask about the length of the hairs, the length of the handles, the color of the handles, etc., BECAUSE there is no consistency.)

Look, some of the most popular in influential artists in the US use Langnickel bushes, and virtually every artist who likes their work always wants to know what kind of brushes the artist uses. You cannot buy honest word-of-mouth advertising, and there is no such advertising more believable, therefore important.

Is there anything you can do to improve the quality, consistency, series numbering and availability of Your Royal Sables in the 5520, 5525, 5590 series and others?

I sincerely want to promote your brushes with no “buts”…

David R. Darrow
<address and phone number omitted here>

Update #1
I just received (less than 2 hours later) a phone call from ‘George’ who owns Royal/Langnickel who apologized for the inconsistency in the brushes, and promised he will see what he can do to introduce better consistency, check the cement inside the ferrules, etc. — I dunno. But he did say to send them any brushes I am dissatisfied with and they will replace them.

Please, if you read all this and agree, leave comments to this blog post below, and also write to Langnickel yourself. If they are doing their job right, they will be searching the web to find out what people think of their product. Be kind and be to the point. Be encouraging. Let them know how you as a painter would prefer their brushes could be improved. Everyone is having a harder-than-usual time of things these days.

Update #2
Following George’s call to send them any of my brushes which have been poorly manufactured, I mailed 3 of my brushes which had either become poorly shaped because of loose hairs/fiber or brushes the ferrule of which I had to crimp with a pliers.

(I mailed them by sandwiching them in a folded piece of corrugated cardboard 1.5″ loner at each end than the brushes; included a letter explaining that the fibers were coming out too easily; sealed it, addressed it, stamped it.)

Within a reasonable amount of time, I was shipped free replacement brushes, along with a letter explaining that they understood the handle/series confusion, and explained that they are aware of an issue with the glue or cement they are using, and are switching over to a newer one. Some of the brushes previously manufactured with the older cement are still in “circulation” in various inventories, so they cannot guarantee that won’t happen again in the short term, but the letter reiterated that “Langnickel stands behind all its brushes. You may return any that are unsatisfactory and we will replace them.”

Update #3
2014, October 7 — Langenickel has stopped manufacturing these, but the good news is you can get a far superior version from Rosemary & Co., a handmade brush company in the UK. The Rosemary & Co. Master’s Choice Series brushes, which solve all the problems of the Langenickels and match the specifications of leading portrait painters who worked with her to develop these fine brushes can be purchased from a USA distributor, Claudia Williams, from her website.

Dave the Painting Guy’s 2nd Online Workshop

I will be holding my second online portrait painting workshop, May 3o and 31, 2009 (the first one, May 23 and 24th filled up fast) from 8:30am each day, Pacific Time. That’s 12-hours total.

The second workshop will be the same as the first, except better most likely, since I will be learning from the first.

The online workshop will be limited to 16 people due to time constraints related to regular reviews of each participant’s work. Participants will view the instructors work via the “over his shoulder cam” and work on the same painting, using the same reference (shown at right), with step-by-step instruction from beginning to end, along with helpful assessments along the way to keep each participant on track.

There are still a few spots left.

Click here for detailed information on David R. Darrow’s GoFigure Online Workshop

1/2 Time

Drew at 26

For all intents and purposes, my oldest son, Drew, is now half my age.

On May 11, 1983, the day Drew was born, I was about 5 weeks from turning 26. Today, Drew is 26 years old. Close enough.

Here we are in the same position in life, wondering what was ahead. I can look back at the last 26 years and be absolutely delighted that he was there for all of it. The next 26 for Drew will go faster, at an accelerated rate, and many more changes than he can imagine will come into his life, his culture, his mind.

It’s all good, son.

Happy Birthday. I love you, and I am proud of you.

Just Thinking of Mom

It’s been a tough road for my mother without the love of her life who passed away almost 4 years ago — my dad, Robert A. Darrow.

Today is their 60th wedding anniversary, but they only made it together through their 56th. I say “only” very tongue-in-cheek since that is a milestone I likely will never see.

So, everyone grab a glass of champagne or wine and clink your monitor: here’s to a very loving couple, my mom and dad.

I’m sorry you lost your husband, Mom.

Dave the Painting Guy – New Show Time

Painting Alexandra, with my head briefly in the wayContinuing Alexandra

Dave the Painting Guy starts at an all-new time!

That’s right! Beginning tonight, the show will start at 5:00pm Pacific Time (GMT -7) instead of what viewers have come to expect, namely 5:00pm Pacific Time (GMT -8).

"But, Dave…" some of you object, while others simply ask, "Huh?"

A Brief History of Time
according to Dave the Painting Guy

The astute among my readers will notice the important difference (no, not the bold text styling), the GMT time reference. Greenwich Mean Time, is, to the best of my understanding, based on the location of the Greenwich (GREN-itch) Royal Observatory’s 24-hour solar clock, where the people in charge of keeping it’s time accurate are known to be exceptionally impatient, rude and vicious, hence ‘mean time.’

They were so stingy (the traditional British definition of the word "mean"), in fact, they announced that they would be the only ones on the planet with accurate time, and everyone else had to get their own. I know! Isn’t that mean?

Well, from that moment forward, the rest of the world has had to scramble around to figure out what time it really is. Of course, here in the USA, we have been fighting British Rule using passive/aggressive behavioral techniques since we started: having Tea Parties dressed like Indians, changing the shape and rules of football (including the use of hands!) and inventing Daylight Savings Time.

Don’t tell me American’s don’t know how to thumb their noses at the oppressive British.

Setting the Clock ForwardHow Does This Affect You?

Five-6ths of the population of the whole planet, except for two renegade US states, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, and some of our territories, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa will have to tune in to view Dave the Painting Guy one hour earlier than they used to!

If you live among the 48 US States* that wimped out when they came up with this crazy idea that you can ‘save daylight’ (really? where would you keep it?), you will just need to watch your clock (assuming that sometime this past weekend you set it forward 1-hour in compliance) and tune in to Dave the Painting Guy at 5pm California time, which is GMT -7, now. This is much easier to calculate in certain parts of the world than, say, Australia, where my Monday evening show starts at 10am Tuesday morning.

See? The folks in Greenwich are mean!

*To be fair, Indiana wimped out on April 2nd 2005.

Anyway, however you figure it, I will see you this evening, March 9, 2008 at 5pm – just click here.

Simple Gratitude

So, what’s with people?

Since I got my first digital camera in 2001, I have carried a camera with me nearly everywhere we’ve gone out to dinner or site-seeing. I snap pictures, I show people the pictures I have just shot of them, catching them being themselves… like the candid photo of the woman and her sleeping child, at left.

I always offer to e-mail them the picture when I get home. They write down their e-mail address and hand it to me, saying, “That would be great.”

I always follow through.

But only about 1 out of 50 ever even writes back to say “thanks!”

Isn’t that weird?

Tomorrowland Never Changes?

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicThe stage rises up out of the ground (note flower pots on roof). This is the Tomorrowland stage by the food court where my late sister Jan Geist and I danced in 1972 or 73 to “Let the Sunshine In” and other ‘groovey’ tunes.

It is now a ‘Jedi Training Academy.’

Corpsman Meeks Back in the Studio Tonight

Broadcast Screen Shot 

Kyle Meeks in studio for live portrait, last night.

I had an unexpectedly great time painting my friend Kyle last night, formally Corpsman Kyle Brock Meeks, U.S. Navy; Senior Line Corpsman for Alpha 3rd Platoon, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. 

Despite some technical challenges, and arranging the studio, cameras and computer monitor so Kyle could participate in the chat, the painting session was one of my all-time favorites.

I have never painted someone who, though present to pose, was also actively communicating. Of course, I asked him to, and I accepted the challenge of painting him while he was sharing so many fascinating stories of his military tour. (Tonight, however, I am going to have him pose with his mouth closed while I finish his mouth, which, subsequently to the frame shown above, I wiped off the canvas.)

Technical difficulties at the end of this broadcast caused a Broadcast FAIL and my show abruptly ended mid-sentence as Kyle was laying out a great story of the time spent alone in a Jordanian hospital while waiting for his ‘boy’ (an injured Marine in his care) was attended to. I attempted for some time to re-connect, but it was impossible for unknown reasons. I am so sorry!

The painting will continue tonight with Kyle in-studio one more time, tonight, starting at 5pm, Pacific time.

Click here to go to the show URL at the proper time.


As promised, below is a sharper photo of the painting of Emily, created last week for her mother. (if you want to see it a bit larger, click the image)


Bank of America Security Breach

This is 100% true. I got a bounced e-mail (the original of which I did not send) that had the entire account information of a gentleman in Arizona.

I suspect it is a hacked account and the e-mail is bouncing around to networks of thieves.

The text of the e-mail included a name, address SSN and all online info for the man in AZ. Since I am suspect of all these scam mails, I decided to see if any of the info was good. Since I am a bank of America online user, I know their interface.

Short story: I was able to log into this man’s bank account and look at his checking records (I could have easily transferred his balance to me).

I found a recent deposit form his employer, looked them up on Google and called the office in AZ, asking for him by name. I was transferred to him and told him about it. He was grateful, and got online immediately to change his passcode.

If you use Bank of America’s online services, I highly recommend you go online to BofA online now and change your password. Who knows how many accounts are compromised. The only reason this guy wasn’t cleaned out is because thieves had not gotten to his account yet. That, and the fact that the one person who tried accessing his account was honest.

I am not making this up. I was in his account.

Alan C. Campbell Portrait

Alan Campbellby David R. Darrow
11" x 14" (27.9cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
Collection of Alan C. Campbell,
San Diego, CA – USA

About This Painting

This portrait of my client Alan Campbell was started with Alan in the studio watching while I painted during the broadcast of Dave the Painting Guy.

I asked him if I could paint him because I like his face and I like him. He balked at the idea at first, but I talked him into posing for photographic reference for the painting, and then he became interested in obtaining the painting for his office.

So, what started out as a Fine Art piece for me to paint and sell, became a portrait commission. Either way, it was fun to paint.

Alan is a recognized, award-winning architect in San Diego. Visit the website of Alan C. Campbell. ◙

Nick’s New Home

Simon Wickstrom, a collector who purchased Captain Nick, graciously complied with my request to see Nick’s new home. I am always interested in seeing the environments in which my paintings end up.

This is delightful. Wickstrom found a prominent place in his office. “He’s at work because I spend more time here than at home, and most of my art collection is at home where I don’t get to see it much.”

I consider this a high honor, because, as he tell me, “I am the computer guy for the firm, so sooner or later every employee shows up in my office for something, and everyone notices the new painting and comments on it.” What a great way to share the painting.

Interestingly, the sale itself was a first for me in that Simon, who is subscribed to my newsletters & announcements mailing list, received my sale announcement and made the purchase via Paypal all from his iPhone. He was on a photo shoot at a cemetery at the time, received the new e-mail in his inbox, inquired as to its price with shipping via an email reply, then clicked my link for payment right on his iPhone.

* * *

Dave the Painting Guy on iPhone!Speaking of iPhone, you can now watch Dave the Painting Guy live, or watch any of the nearly 400 video clips of the show online on your iPhone or iPod Touch. If you have iTunes on your computer, iPhone or iPod Touch, you can click here to download the Viewing Application for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Install the application as usual, then go to the Show URL:

Jade Jewels

Several years ago — maybe 10? — my mother sent me off on my drive back home from visiting her, sending along the typical snacks and hot coffee for the 450-mile drive to San Diego, a traditional send-off. In the bag of goodies, she also included a snapped off branch from a Jade plant, with the message that this was from one of the same plants my grandmother had planted in the 1940s or 1950s.

They are easy to plant… you just stick the branch in the ground and water it once in while. They grow.

This plant is still with me, and today I noticed it has flowered. Raindrops bejewel it, adding interest and sparkle. Each flower measures about 5/8″ (1.6cm) across.

Inauguration Day 2009

What an exciting, historical day. At 4:13am, I awoke, and my first thought was about what a big day it is for America. Even though I did not vote for Barack Obama, I cannot help but feel the excitement of this time in history, and I find myself very enthusiastic about the celebration today.

The TV
in my
will be

They are saying that there hasn’t been this much excitement since President Reagan’s inauguration. And I regret that my kids were too young to appreciate what a unique, great man Reagan was. But I am glad they are all more than old enough to be impacted by this moment in history.

The TV in my studio will be on all day, I know, because I don’t want to miss a thing.

What is astounding to me is that in my relatively short lifetime — which has been about 20% the length of the age of our own nation — I have been alive and walking on the planet in a time that saw back-of-the-bus treatment for Blacks, lynchings, “Whites Only” drinking fountains, Dr. Martin Luther King’s marches and speeches, hearing him described as a rabblerouser, his assassination, Rosa Parks, the Watts Riots, Rodney King, OJ’s slow ride, and so much more… to a black man being elected President of the United States.

I always knew that someday we’d have a black president, but for lack of any black candidates that I would want as my president based on their merits — and believe me, I wanted to vote for a black man, if for no other reason than to prove to something to myself — I just never really thought I’d see this in my lifetime. I guess I just thought I would see an endless parade of also-rans every four years for the rest of my life, and someday I would pat my grandkids on the head and tell them, Yes, someday, little ones, there will be a black president. We’re getting closer… would’ve loved to see it.

Today is like a wedding party (except that the honeymoon messes with the metaphor). It’s a huge day that signals a new beginning — and the party should be huge, the champagne should flow, the smiles should be broad. But then real life sets in. We get busy. We have a bride and a groom, yes, but the bride is in traction, she’s lost a lot of blood, her pulse is strong today, but her vitals signs are in question. Not a great start for a new marriage, though not an impossible situation.

* * *

I keep hearing about what a remarkably smooth transition the transfer of power has been at the White House. But I have not heard one commentator say what I believe in my heart, that the reason for this is, in large part, due to the class and dignity of the man who is still president at this moment as I write, George W. Bush. Say whatever you like about the man, but there is nothing surprising to me at all that he would demand the highest standards of cooperation from all involved in handing over The Power and White House. I would imagine that he led by example alone. He’s shown nothing but the most extraordinary humility and dignity from before the election, right through this day.

I contrast that to 2001, when the new staff entered the White House to find, amidst the estimated $20,000 in vandalism connected to the former administration’s staff, childish acts such as removing all the W keys from the computer keyboards that were left behind, and the re-routing of over 100 incoming phone lines to the White House, just to cause confusion. Moments like these — including this current transition — have helped me see the difference between ideologies and the people behind them.

I generalize, of course, but therein lies the beauty of generalizations.

I voted for someone else in the Election, and still someone different in the Primaries, and the outcome drew the same response in my soul: my disappointment will not cloud my respect for the office or for the dignity of the person holding that office.

Barack Obama, just like anyone that has come before him, is just a man. His blood is red like mine, and he breathes the same air. But he has a job that demands my respect, unbiased scrutiny, understanding, and even forgiveness for inevitable mistakes to come, and a heart, soul and mind that deserve my prayers for Wisdom.

I would hope that every American feels this way today.

I have a Dream.

Update: Second Term
I could not disagree with the policies of an Administration more than I do with this one. —dd, March 11, 2013


I don’t know what the 6th gets you. First anniversary is paper, 50th is gold, and if you make it to a 75th, you’re supposed to get the most expensive one, titanium, and all I can figure is that if you get something made of titanium it comes with a Last Will and Testament for you to sign.

Well, we got married barefoot on Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, six years ago. It was a Sunday afternoon, and our 6th was a Monday. So we went to Trader Joes to find a wine to commemorate our anniversary. There wasn’t one wine with a six in the name. We thought of getting two bottles of Tres something. And we have our eye on a bottle of No. 8 for two years form now…

So we settled on Barefoot Chardonay, which we drank while watching the second installment of the 24 season opener.

It was a great anniversary!

Jan Darrow Geist, oil on canvas

Jan Darrow Geistby David R. Darrow
11" x 14" (27.9cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
This painting is not framed
Not For Sale
Collection of Doris Darrow
Sunnyvale, CA – USA

About This Painting

I started this painting on the one-year mark of the passing of my oldest sister Jan. She passed away on September 29, 2007 after a several-year battle with breast cancer.

During those years, she truly lived as a survivor, full of life, eager to help others and help carry the load of women at the hospital with whom she shared the room while getting regular chemo treatments.

have been
her 57th
if she’d
the tradition

In the end, her passing was a blessing as she was finally free from her tired and broken-down body. We miss her, but have so many fond memories, and so, in that sense she lives on with us.

Today would have been her 57th birthday if she’d continued the tradition, but she resides now in a place of Greater Celebration centered around honoring an Awesome Creator rather than the years she spent on Earth.

This painting now hangs on the wall of my mother’s home in Sunnyvale, CA. It is on a wall facing the entrance to the hallway, where my mom sees it every morning when she wakes up and walks down the hall to the kitchen to get her morning coffee.

On my Dave the Painting Guy show while I was creating this painting, I mentioned that I would probably give it to her husband, my brother-in-law Dan Geist. I hadn’t really thought much about where the painting would end up, and it was fairly last-minute that I even decided to paint it on the anniversary of her passing.

* * *

There are certain things that in the interest of decorum we just don’t talk about with some people in some circumstances. I had wanted to tell Dan at some point that I respected him highly for his marriage to my sister for some 32 years, but that I wanted him to know that I actually wanted him to find new love in his life… that I respected him so much as a man, a father and a husband that I would consider it a shame if some fine woman out there missed out on spending the rest of her life with this fine man. I wanted to tell him that I would never consider it the slightest dishonor if he decided to date or remarry.

A week or so after I painted this, Dan called to have a heart-to-heart and to tell me that he had been seeing a woman for the past few months, and he was feeling very strong feelings for her, that they got along wonderfully, and — always the gentleman — he wanted to know how he might “break it to my mom.”

I told him that he probably ought to tell her exactly as he told me, and that he should expect that she will be delighted at the news. Our family understands that “till death do us part” is, in fact a promise, with a distinctive limit. “Jan’s gone,” I said. “You can love her memory, but she’s not here anymore. You need to move on with your life — I believe Jan would have wanted that.” I knew my mother and siblings would agree.

Not that it mattered.

As we brought the phone conversation to a close, I said to Dan, “Oh, by the way, out of respect for you and your new love, I think I will send the original painting to my mom, instead.”

He laughed and told me “That would be great.” ◙

Captain Nick

Captian Nickby David R. Darrow
14" x 11" (35.6cm x 27.9cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
Collection of Simon Wickstrom,
Alameda, CA – USA

About This Painting

I first met Nick at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, CA. He was a ‘morning greeter,’ welcoming people as they walked in the front door, greeting them with a big smile, friendly eyes… and something you just could not help but notice: the biggest hands you’ve ever felt giving you a handshake.

My own hands are large; Nick’s are massive.

When I moved my studio to Oceanside in 2007, I discovered Nick was my new neighbor, and we chatted from time to time. He’d had to retire due to a heart condition, the treatment of which seemed to be barely tolerable. His weight increased rapidly over a few months, and this once grizzly, hulk of a human was reduced — by increased size — to a man at the mercy of distances, stopping to catch his breath every 15 feet or so when merely walking. He was always kind, generous and jovial, with endless stories of days in Hollywood as a stunt-double, or other bit parts.

A few months before I moved to Encinitas, Nick told that me a good friend in Costa Rica had invited him to come down there and help him out with his new Club for mostly American tourists, right on the beach, free grub and free rent and a small paycheck.

I asked him if I could come, too.

One day, in those last weeks, I dropped by with my camera and asked him if I could shoot some pictures of him for a painting.

“Me?” he gasped. “I thought you wanted to be a successful painter,” he winked. A moment later he was up scrounging around in some of his packed boxes for his hat collection, and pulled out this delightful captain’s hat. I suggested that he’d look official if he had a pipe. “Oh, I have one right over here, he said, turning around to get one out of his china hutch.

I snapped about 10 shots and left him alone, thanking him for the inspiration. A week later his apartment was empty, and Nick was on his way to Costa Rica.

I have not heard from him since.

Nick left me several hats as costume props, and several Hawaiian shirts, most of which I wear on my broadcast, my favorite being the one I was wearing in last night’s broadcast — the parrot one. Thanks Nick!

* * *

This is the painting I completed January 2nd — my first painting of 2009. I began it on the Dave the Painting Guy broadcast on January 1, 2009, and finished it the next evening. Most of it was recorded as a public clip at the uStream location. ◙

Amazon Gives Back

You know how it went down.

I got this idea in my head that I could make money from my website… turn my blog into a million dollars. Just build it and they will come. Free money just for tucking ads in your pages.

Sad reality: you probably did not know that any ads exist on this page. But they do. My first ads were placed on my site in 2001, and they were for I figured that as long as I was going to mention some of a small handful of art books I would actually recommend, I may as well get a referral commission from someone selling the books. Amazon.

Between 2001 and 2007 I made $1. Yep, that’s one dollar. And it should further be noted that it is 1 US Dollar, which has gone down in value over that same time period.

They only pay out when you reach a specified higher balance in the account — which I have observed will never occur in my case if they keep taking my money back.

Also, in that same time period, Amazon determined that there was no existing live on my Mars, so they took away the dollar.

If you click on the thumbnail above you’ll be treated to my private information regarding the financial exchange between Amazon and myself, and will not that Amazon is a giver.

Amazon Gives Back.

To the State.

The Prince and His Panties

In high school, early 1970s, my new friend Don Blackburn had a remarkable record collection, including the vinyl album of Mason Williams’ that contained the hit Classical Gas. Mason Williams [wiki], brother of unrelated to the crooner Andy Williams [wiki], was a nut/genius, and composed, besides Classical Gas, little known, fully orchestrated gems such as Life, which, if I am not mistaken took up 30 seconds of play time with its verse, transcribed here in its entirety…

Isn’t life beautiful?
Isn’t life gay?
Isn’t life the perfect thing to pass the time away?

Today, on my Facebook I got a Wall-To-Wall message from Sue Humphreys Thompson who commented that my rendition of Mason Williams’ other classic from the same album had suddenly come to mind. I don’t recall exactly which performance of mine it was to which she is referring, but she mentioned that it was odd that it would so randomly come to mind from the distant past.

I recall performing it on many occasions, guitar in hand, to the bewilderment, and, no doubt, admiration of my available audience.

No, I am not referring to the too-difficult Classical Gas, rather

The Prince and His Panties

There was once a price who
Acted strangely, in that
He thought life was stupid
And it was for him so
He made up a world
In which he liked
The things we like
But he had diff’rent
Reasons why he liked them.

He liked butter
For its color
He would order
Toast and Color

Waitresses, confused would utter
Sir, I’ve never heard of
Toast and Color.

He’d get angry and
Begin to choke them;
The Law would come and they’d
Arrest and book him
So his life was a
Mess of trouble.
Still, he kept it up.

He had dogs
One Hundred Cocker Spaniels
And he called them ‘Panties’
‘Cause they
Did that mostly

And he did not care at all if
They would bark and fetch sticks,
Run and jump, roll over,
And play dead tricks. No, he
Liked them only For their panting
So he would
Run them ragged. Then one day
They got mad and
Chased the prince
Right up against a fence

And the prince was eaten by his panties.

Ashton’s Morning

Ashton's Morningby David R. Darrow
14" x 11" (35.6cm x 27.9cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel

About This Painting

Ashton is a young woman I met when her family was on vacation to Carlsbad, CA.

She had me at the Coke machine.

Really! I was walking by the soda fountain on my way out the door to the back patio with my new, ice cold Palapa Pale Ale at Pizza Port when this striking beauty with large, dark eyes and cascading black curls turned towards me as she finished filling her glass. She smiled and turned to return to her table.

I have to paint her.

I followed her to her table, where she joined her family. Her mother and father, also very attractive people, looked at me with raised eyebrows as I stumbled through my introduction, telling them I am a real artist — “See, here’s my card, and it has one of my paintings on it…” — asking them if I could possibly arrange some time to paint their daughter.

They both looked at her.

She gave a look to her dad that was sort of a wide-eyed head-shake that communicated Hey, I don’t know any more about this than you do, but it sounds fun! They explained to me that they were just down here on vacation, but if they could squeeze in some time before heading home, they would call me.

They called and dad brought his 17-year-old treasure over to my studio for a quick photoshoot. It is rare that I have gotten so many paintable reference pictures in such a short time. She’s as photogenic, as she is beautiful, but her face, eyes, head-shape, hair and mouth are as easily paintable as anyone I have ever met.

And she’s a truly sweet soul.

* * *

This painting was completed on my Dave the Painting Guy live broadcast.

It is available as an 11 x 14-matted giclee in my online store. ◙

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