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Tom Darrah

An accomplished artist of long professional standing, Tom Darrah gained his early training by attending several art schools including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA.  Thanks to a generous invitation from the U.S. government, he was able to leave Philly in order to visit exotic and exciting new places.  This also allowed him to further his education through the G. I. Bill.  Darrah chose to attend the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, where he studied with Herman Rose of the Art Students League of New York, and was also fortunate enough to meet and gain instruction from renowned landscapist, Wilson Hurley.

Throughout the 1980’s Darrah lived and worked in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, where he also opened his own studio, The Red Oak Gallery.  In addition to painting landscapes, the artist also produced a series of canvases illustrating scenes from working ranches in West Texas.

Darrah’s art took a new direction in the 1990’s when he painted a series of contemporary works for an exhibition at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and he also created a set of four military scenes for the New Mexico Arts Commission.  In 2000, the artist moved his Red Oak Gallery to Ruidoso, and began to concentrate more on portrait painting.  He currently works in La Luz, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

Darrah’s landscapes are a unique blend between reality and conceptualization. “For me, the subject matter is just an inspiration to get the creative ball rolling.  I love to go out and sketch, starting the painting on location, and then I return to my studio to allow the painting to evolve into a style that becomes distinctly mine.  Over the years, I have taken thousands of photos of clouds and skies, and I like to choose the one that is perfect for the setting.  Therefore, what I do is not truly a plein aire painting, but one that is more a visualization of the ideal landscape.”

Recently, the artist has been working on a series of oil paintings which focus on missions including those in El Paso, San Antonio and northern Mexico.  In contrast, he also produces what he describes as ‘drawings’.  These are acrylic paintings on paper, either figurative works or still life.  “They are large pieces done in a very spontaneous manner.  What I am really looking for are ‘accidental happenings’ with the figure.  At heart, I am an abstract expressionist, and these pieces allow me to tap into that feeling.”  Darrah exhibits these figurative works in Houston and Ruidoso, and he also has three pieces of work in the permanent collection of the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico…

Hal Marcus comments, “Tom is one of the very best artists currently painting in this region.  He is famous for authentically capturing southwestern vistas with endless skies and huge, billowy clouds which really give his paintings a sense of place.” – Myrna Zanetell

Artist Galleries Artist Work

A Collection of Fine Art
Telephone: 832-457-7678
P.O. Box 19645 Houston, Texas 77224