Lines and Colors art blog

How to Paint a Portrait
(David R. Darrow)

David R. Darrow
Here’s an interesting take on the process of painting a portrait – from the subjects point of view. Geoff Bouvier had his portrait painted by artist David R. Darrow, who I profiled previously in the context of one of my earliest reports on the practice of creating a “painting a day” and a later related post on the Daily Painters Guild.

Darrow worked for many years as an illustrator, but has since moved into gallery painting and commissioned portraits. He received his formal training in illustration at the Art Center College of Design and later had the opportunity to study figure drawing with Fred Fixler.

Darrow has an immediate, painterly style and seems to revel in the physicality of the paint, with lots of luxurious brushstrokes in his subjects and broad swipes of textured color in his backgrounds.

Darrow has galleries on his site of figure paintings, charcoal sketches, his “Everyday Paintings” and a selection of recent works. He also has a page of information on how he approaches commissions, a subject that is explored in much more detail by subject Geoff Bouvier in a five page article he wrote for the San Diego Reader in June.

Darrow has since posted the article on his web site, filled out with larger images and some annotations and comments on the process.

The intention to write the article was there from the start, and the result is a talkative process in which Geoff asks Darrow about his methods in addition to observing them.

Although he takes some photographs for reference, Darrow is working from life in a traditional process that starts with a color sketch, then works from a charcoal drawing through the finished painting.

It’s enlightening to get the impressions of both the sitter and the artist on what is generally a non-verbal process. In the course of the article both reveal their thoughts about expectations, the likeness, the artist’s intention and the sequence of events in the course of painting a portrait.

How to Paint a Portrait by Geoff Bouvier (from San Diego Reader, annotated by David Darrow)

My Thoughts Exactly (Darrow’s blog)


7 responses to “How to Paint a Portrait
(David R. Darrow)”

  1. Jolie Elman Avatar
    Jolie Elman

    David is a wonderful artist. I appreciate seeing him in the press.

  2. Nice piece on my closest friend. As a guy that makes his living by writing, I particularly enjoyed reading this:

    “Darrow has an immediate, painterly style and seems to revel in the physicality of the paint, with lots of luxurious brushstrokes in his subjects and broad swipes of textured color in his backgrounds.”

    I think that’s a wonderful description of Dave’s style and it’s a great bit of wordsmiting, as well.

  3. Thanks for the nice article about my fun-loving son, David.
    I think I saved every sketch he ever drew while sitting quietly in church. (Giving him some paper and a pencil worked wonders in keeping him occupied and quiet). He sketched people in the same pew, or the choir director, or whoever, and the drawings were recognizable, even at such a young age. Fun for me to see his talent being used to bring pleasure to others.

  4. As an artist that regularly visits and enjoys immensely David’s online Art, it is a pleasure to see him recognised once again for the brilliant talent he possesses. Well deserved for a very generous and highly regarded man.

  5. Wonderful & masterful work. The process of your painting is a great illustration of progression to the final product. Excellent post.

  6. I am teacher in Iran . ardebil . hoeinie street . amini alley .
    your work is very nice .

  7. I am visual art teacher in iran . your works very nice