Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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)

Road Trip: New Mexico

Teresa and I will be attending the Artisan Art Materials Expo in Santa Fe, New Mexico from September 17th through 20th. More info at their site:

Signed and Matted Giclée Reproductions Sale

Ends (after) August 31, 2009 - See available works and sale pricing here:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Excellent Point

Monday, June 15, 2009

Open Letter to Langnickel Brush Manufacturer

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."

Below is my original letter to Langnickel:

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>

Monday, June 1, 2009

2 Successful Workshops Completed

It's a Monday, and I am pleasantly exhausted after a busy, intense and focused weekend; my second 2-day online painting workshop.

The most rewarding thing is the results, I suppose. It's one thing to sit and chat to what I have every reason to believe are real people out there who have logged in to watch... I'm actually kind of use to that. But to see what they produce over the course of 12-hours is quite remarkable.

More workshops to come. Info to be found at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dave's 2nd Online Portrait 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

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Did I Get Booted from the Chatroom?

Lately, I have received e-mails from people asking why they got booted from the chatroom during a Dave The Painting Guy Paintcast™. Since there are possibly hurt feelings, I wanted to address it here so that I can direct people to this explanation of the possibilities. Many people believe they are excluded from the chat unfairly, and I need to deal with some presumptions that may exist.

First of all, know that it was probably not me that "axed you." I am usually too busy painting or operating the video camera to busy myself with chatroom tasks. Besides, I have long patience for most things, most questions and most personalities. However, I have assigned several trusted "moderators" to keep watch on the room so that I can paint, and the chatroom stays civil (since I do not watch the chatroom much).

Most of my moderators have been viewers of my show for a very long time, and are, as best I can tell, aligned with me in a desire to keep the chatroom a warm, family-friendly community of artists of other interested parties. They are individuals who have demonstrated a sense of "ownership" in the success of my show and the environment it provides to the public. I am delighted that they feel that it is "their party" and they will protect it as they deem necessary.

With varying personalities comes varying levels of tolerance for irritations, and I know, from what I have read on the chat that, with regard to some anonymous personalities that wander through, some of my moderators "have their finger on the button, ready to nuke an unruly visitor." While I never want to intentionally hurt someone's feelings, I stand by and take responsibility for the choices of my moderators, because I know they have my best interest and that of the Dave the Painting Guy Paintcast™ Community at heart.

At my request, they are sensitive to several chatroom behaviors which — although perhaps acceptable in many chatrooms where anonymity and one-upsmanship seem to prevail over social skills — are behaviors or manners which I strongly wish to keep out of my chatroom, including but not limited to:
  • profanity
  • sexual innuendo
  • derisive comments
  • publishing links without permission in the chat
  • changing nicknames in unhelpful ways
  • excessive off-topic or attention-getting comments
  • or obvious "showboating" — typically the behavior of the less mature visitors
On occasion I have had people leave the broadcast only because of the behavior of others in the chatroom, and, frankly, I don't like that.

I walk a fine line with my show. My mind thinks of things that are funny to me, and I say them, albeit with — believe it or not — many filters running at the same time. Besides whatever benefit there is to watching a guy paint and talk about it, the humorous element is what, I believe, makes the show entertaining to the people who show up so often — many of which never log in or participate in the chatroom. I have reason to believe that my banter and playfulness on the show encourage others to "let their hair down" and join in, injecting their own humor into the environment. Some of these people, from time to time, may push it too far, presumably, in an effort to get a more satisfying response from others.

I don't know. Who am I to judge another's sense of humor?

I merely have standards for my chatroom, and am grateful for the volunteers that watch over it, in spite of the fact that from time to time mistakes are made.

That having been said, please consider that what may appear to be sudden exclusion from the chatroom may, in fact, be the result of me or my moderators issuing a chatroom command that initiates an automatic, more restrictive level of chatroom moderation to which even my own mother fell victim on the evening of April 1st.

In its simplest form: when moderation is turned ON, no one is allowed to participate in the chatroom unless they have logged in with an official username. This effectively blocks everyone from the chat that does not have and use a account, though they can still see the text of the chatroom. Moderation ON also excludes people who drop in and change their name from, say, ustreamer-37865 to jonny-artist, since they have not officially logged in.

If you suddenly find yourself blocked from chat, you have either failed to log in officially and I have turned on moderation, or you have been booted by one of my moderators, or me for one or more of the behaviors listed above.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Corpsman Meeks In Studio Again 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 my wife's birthday. (if you want to see it a bit larger, click the image)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Live Pose on Dave the Painting Guy, tonight

Kyle and his Father, Brock Meeks

Kyle Meeks, left, with his father Brock days before Kyle's deployment in Nov. 2008

Tonight, starting at 5pm until 8pm or so, Pacific Time (GMT -8) I will have a friend in studio sitting for a portrait. I expect the painting will carry into tomorrow night's show, same time, and so have scheduled him to pose again. Click here, at 5pm, to go to the show URL.

My subject (the sitter) is Corpsman Kyle Brock Meeks, U.S. Navy. He's the Senior Line Corpsman for Alpha 3rd Platoon, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He just returned recently from a tour to Afghanistan, if I am not mistaken (details to be corrected during broadcast, I am sure).

Kyle is my friend Brock's second youngest son of 4. I have known Kyle since the day he was born, though due to the way life goes, until last Fall I had not seen him in 15 years or so. I found out he was stationed at the nearby military base, Camp Pendleton, CA and invited him out for a beer, catching up and a couple of prayers before he headed off on a tour of duty -- his first tour, but less than a year before he'd completed his contract with the military.

Teresa and I have met many Marines decompressing over a cold beer at our favorite pizza and ale hangout in Carlsbad, CA, and, despite the expected "we're the best branch of the US Military, to a man they always admit that a Navy Corpsman (their walking Emergency Room on the battlefield) is the most respected man from another branch, maybe even more so than their own brothers. 'He's there to save your life.'

My live broadcast is always about oil painting, and I do work hard at keeping politics out of online discussions. It's a painting show. I do, however, want to honor the men and women who serve our country and the cause of Freedom, by singling out the one man I know personally who has gone to Hell and back, by painting his portrait. Plus we'll get to hang out together again.

The set-up will be multi-cam, special lighting, with a camera on my blank canvas and a close-to-my-vantage-point camera on him while I paint, discuss my thinking as I paint, all the while having a conversation with him about his tour. As he sees fit.

I know I have viewers on both sides of the war issue, and I respect your thoughts and feelings about it. I'd just like to ask in advance that the chatroom is used respectfully. The broadcast is about painting.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook is too Grabby -- REVOLT!

Manuela Valenti brought this to my attention. Here is the full text of her comments:
Watch out!! Facebook changed their TOS!! Your pictures might appear on some merchandise somewhere!
As of February 2009 Facebook changed their TOS (Terms of Service), and by uploading anything to Facebook you are granting them FULL copyright over all your images, works, content, etc. According to their new TOS your images could end up on some t-shirts. I don't wanna see the images of my kids or my works for that matter printed somewhere, so as of TODAY I'm removing my images from my Facebook account until Facebook changes their policy back to acknowledge and respect our copyrights.
Scroll down to see section titled "Licenses" here, or read the text reproduced below:
You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses."

The full TOS is found here

So what does this mean?

Handing over an exclusive license allows Facebook to protect themselves from lawsuits if, for example, a shot of my Facebook page and artwork or art photos ends up in a magazine ad. However, granting them an exclusive license -- which, according to the TOS, I am doing by signing up for Facebook -- means they can literally profit from my images directly, as if they are theirs, because in fact I am saying they are theirs.
Whether or not they are motivated to put my images on mugs or t-shirts for sale and Facebook profit is a separate issue, but the wording there in the TOS says that I am agreeing that it's okay for them to do so, and I will not be compensated nor will I have a case against them.
Essentially, they don't have to ask me, because I already gave them permission by posting images.

What can I do?

To me, the idea of NOT posting my images and videos makes Facebook nothing more than a fancy chat-room. I believe my images confirm my business as a serious and dedicated artist, and attract others in the same business as well as others interested in my business.
I will likely re-post images with a very obnoxious ©David R. Darrow - across the image at 50% transparency, so viewers can still get the gist of my art, but not use it anywhere without advertising for me. :-)
Downside: I will lose earlier comments friends have posted when I delete the un-marked images.
According to this article,
Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

By them adding the word "forever" and you agreeing to it you have already unprotected yourself. It's too late, because they changed the agreement after you agreed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alan C. Campbell Portrait

Alan Campbell by 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.  ◙

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