Meet Artist Darren McGrath

Southeastern Ohio Artist Darren McGrath
You often hear people say things like “do what you love” and other such motivation comments. I am a firm believer in that for many reasons. But in order to do what you love you have to find it, and to some that never happens. They are always worried about what they have to do, or what society says is the “right thing to do”. But sometimes the lucky ones figure out what they love to do at a very young age.

That is where artist Darren McGrath started. He knew at a very young age that being an artist and painting was something that he loved to do. He was an only child and has he says “I had to find ways to entertain myself . Drawing pictures of King Kong , Superman , Spiderman and Batman were my favorite subjects and my love for drawing would be sometimes used against me when my parents wanted me out of their hair for a while , especially when packing to head to the Hocking Hills area of Ohio to visit relatives on the weekends.” It was his favorite uncle who himself was an artist who inspired Darren to paint.

Darren McGrath painting of Ole Roy.That started a long love affair with painting that included him getting his first pastel set that was a gift from his mom and dad and then subsequently getting them taken away for getting paint on his clothing as most kids will do. He did not see his beloved pastel set for several years. So it was back to Crayons for the budding young painter. His great uncle and grandma brought him to lancaster to buy my first bob ross master paint set in 1990.

He used his drawing to get through the blizzards of “77” and “78” and through high school. A transfer to a new school that is traumatic to most teens especially when you do not connect with the school or the other students saw him use his artistic talent to get through it and as he says he won more art awards there than any other time in his school career.

Mountain Painting my Darren McGrathHe first saw one of his favorite artists William Alexander in the late 70’s or early 80’s and fell in love with his style of painting. He also saw Bob Ross and felt that Ross was copying Alexander’s style. Darren watched the show with his mother who loved Ross’s paintings of water falls and compared them to the waterfalls at the Hocking Hills State Park in Southeastern Ohio. In early 1986 he lost his mother to cancer and made her a promise that the would continue to paint in the vein of Ross and Alexander. He does admit that he stopped drawing for a time after his mothers death but started again.

Darren has painted his entire life and has had such honors as having his work displayed at the Lancaster Art Walk during the Lancaster Festival in 2009 and in 2010. His work was also used as promotional material for the 2010 and 2011 art walks.

He also donates some of his work to charities, where he says his saddest memory was when he donated to his first auction for a young lady who was suffering from the same cancer his own mother had suffered with years before. The bidding started at $25 and rapidly grew to $200. He feels every time he donates a painting to a charity for auction that the unknown outcome is hard to watch.

Darren paints several types of things from Ohio State athletes, Scenery and animals in the styles of Alexander and Ross. He has been asked several times why he continues to paint in that style and his response is very simple. He “asks himself the same thing, I sometimes ask myself the same question when I can use soft pastel and paint traditionally just as well . I guess it all comes down to those days when I felt like my life couldn’t get any worse and watching “The Joy Of Painting” and “The Magic of Oil Painting” took my mind of all my problems . I also know my Mom wouldn’t want me to paint any other way . “

Darren’s artwork and desire is something that I admire and found very inspiring. That is the thing about doing what you love isn’t it. To do what makes you happy and being good at it comes naturally.

Personally Darren is a very funny and friendly person. He is personable, intelligent and easy to be around. This shows in his work on canvas as well. He has a love for life and for the arts.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.–Harriet Tubman

Everyone has a dream, something they want to do or achieve. It is up to you to decide that you can do it. Remember if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Darren has painted his entire life. It is something that he loves. He works hard at it, to learn more and to be better. Be inspired and motivated by his story.

If you would like to get in touch with Darren you may on his facebook page.

You can purchase Darren’s paintings at Fine Art America

This is a reprint of an earlier published article.

About the author

Bradley Finnearty


I am a certified webmaster who has lived most of my life in Southeastern Ohio. I enjoy local indie musicians, entertainers and artisans and finding out about why they do what they do. I have lived a life filled with problems of having bipolar disorder. My blog is a diverse hodgepodge of things that interest me and my life with Bipolar1 disorder. I write as I talk and hope you feel like I am having a conversation with you about these topics and not like I am telling you what or how to feel. If you enjoy my blog please leave me a message I enjoy hearing from people who read my words. 

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