thomas darnell


Based on a personal, spiritually transformative event, my first abstract paintings were of hazy clouds of pure light emerging from darkness; a theme I often return to. Later works explore the idea of visual memory and are created via reactive processes somewhat like making a very complex soup, tasting and adjusting as needed.

thomas darnell


I’ve spent many years painting so many flowers that the process has become almost like a mantra. Sometimes they appear half dissolved and others fully realized, photo realistic, lush and sensual. Flowers symbolise human enlightenment and serve as brief reminders of the highest aspects of our nature: love and joy.

thomas darnell


Most of these landscapes depict where I live in the south of France near the Mediterranean Sea; an area which has beckoned artists for centuries and is well known for its beauty and quality of light. Water, earth and sky imagery speaks of life’s eternal cycles which in turn are echoed in the creative process.

“paintings which stand out for their poetic and mysterious quality” – EL PAIS

About my art

My painting requires little or no thought. I mean that literally. For over 2 decades I’ve painted images based mostly on intuition and feeling. I take time to look at the world around me in a visually meditative way constantly looking for the light and life, the calm and profound. It is only when forced to speak about my work that I actually think about what it is I am doing and why.

At first glance, my body of work seems pretty scattered: realistic landscapes, trees, skies, flower paintings as well as abstracts of light, color fields and vibrations. I occasionally venture into new territory only to return to familiar themes. There is however a common thread of consistency underlying my many diverse works; they all orientate around light and beauty which in turn evokes a peaceful and soothing vibe. They are like visual shortcuts to a contemplative state.

My first professional exhibitions* were based on a personal, spiritually transformative event that I experienced in 1989. The abstract paintings were of hazy clouds of pure light emerging from darkness; a bit like distilled light from a Caravaggio or Rembrandt painting. This formless light or energy is a theme that I return to often with the intention of conveying the sensation of that original experience. As my painting evolved, that light eventually took shape in the form of flowers; some half dissolved and others fully realised and photo realistic.

I have spent so much time painting flowers that they became like a mantra to me. To paraphrase Ekhart Tolle: Flowers were probably some of the first living things that people valued for their sheer beauty and not just for utilitarian purposes or survival. In a deep way, they symbolise human enlightenment and serve as brief reminders of the highest aspects of our nature: love and joy. 

My landscape paintings depict where we live in the south of France near the sea; an area well known for its beauty and quality of light. The sunlight warms the sea which creates the clouds in the sky which will eventually return to the sea. Murmuration of starlings in the distance, undulating wheat fields, shimmering olive trees and sunlight changing colors over the vineyards at the end of the day leave me spellbound as they must have the ancient people who used to live here. These hills and valleys used to be under water but now provide sustenance until eventually they are covered by water again. 

The creative process echoes these cycles. Energy causes ideas to spark from seemingly nowhere. Thoughts wanting expression emerge through pigments on canvas and once manifest, can affect people for centuries. Neuroscience shows that when one witnesses beauty, blood flow actually increases in a specific pleasure center of the brain which is the same area that is responsive to feelings of love. Like love, beauty can be very powerful and therefore subversive and transformative in a healing and nurturing way.

We habitually take care of our physical selves on a daily basis but often ignore our psychological, spiritual and emotional health. My work takes ephemeral beauty and makes it more accessible for longer. While darkness, fear and pessimism are an integral part of our world, creative arts can lift us to our higher selves and remind us that life is worth living.

*1994 Foster Peet Gallery, NYC and Galerie du Temple, Paris

Video Inspiration and Process


Email:  Text or Face Time: France +33664284247 Skype (by appointment): the.darnells1

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