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David Delamare



DAVID DELAMARE (1951-2016)

Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about artist David Delamare. To jump directly to a particular section, click on a heading in this list, or scroll down to read the entire page. You may also wish to visit to read an interview.




Where did David get his ideas?

This is always a difficult question to answer. The best ideas always spring from sources unknown. But certainly ones milieu and interests play a part. David was an avid film and theater goer. (His favorite contemporary playwrights were Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter.) He also loved Shakespeare and attended the Ashland Shakespeare Festival every year. He listened to music while he painted (from Mozart to Gershwin to Randy Newman) and he was an avid reader (favorite authors included Samuel Beckett, John Cheever, Edith Wharton, and Alan Bennett.) These influences often found their way into his paintings. Typically, he heard a phrase in a play or a passage of music and felt compelled to translate the idea into a visual form. But, his creative process was very organic and often his finished paintings were quite different from his original conceptions.

Why did he use so many animal characters in his picture books?

David painted anthropomorphized animals to suggest human characteristics. An animal can be a great form of shorthand for personality types. When we say that someone moves like a cat or acts like a weasel, others understand us perfectly. While his picture books are enjoyed by children, they were actually created for adults. David believed that the best children’s stories are meaningful at any age, and numbered among his personal favorites Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wind In The Willows.


How long did it take David to complete a painting?

This was the most common question David was asked at signings. The answer depended upon when one decides a painting begins. Is it when the idea begins to take shape or when the brush first meets the canvas? Some ideas arrived suddenly while others percolated for weeks, months, or even years. When they finally arrived fully formed, the actual painting was achieved remarkably quickly. While a typical painting might have been completed in a week, some of his finest work was completed in less than a day.

What media did he use?

In his early years, David painted in gouache (an opaque water-based medium) but he discovered that acrylics offered more luminosity, resulting in higher quality reproductions. Later in life, he worked with oil paints which provided more texture and depth than acrylics. Oils also slowed him down, keeping him more aware of the painting process. Occasionally, as with the round Unexpected Vices figurative series, he used both, choosing acrylic for underpainting and oil for detailing. He also sometimes added other media such as colored pencil or oil pastels. He was very flexible, allowing the painting to dictate the medium. The one medium he never used was the computer (except that for his 2016 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book, he and I colored his pencil drawings using Photoshop.

Did he work with models?

Models were essential to David’s work as he preferred artificial light for its dramatic theatrical properties, and often required unusual poses. He found almost all of his models on the street or working in local shops and restaurants. (The model for his Cinderella book, for instance, was a waitress from the local Cup and Saucer Cafe.)


Which artists influenced David’s work?

David admired some artists for technique and others for imagery. He liked the technique of Parrish and Sargeant, for example, and the imagery of De Chirico and Seurat. He admired Edward Hopper for both. He also enjoyed the Medieval school of painting for its tableaus and stylization.

Any other influences?

Film, theater, and music each influenced David’s work, though it’s impossible to say exactly how. While we were attending a gallery opening in Bethesda, a Mensa group came in. One of the members casually noted, “I can see David listens to a lot of Mozart.” When I asked him why he thought this, he shrugged his shoulders, and answered, “It’s obvious from looking at the work.” It wasn’t obvious to me (even though I know that David often listens to Mozart while painting.) But that’s part of the mystery and joy of art. Each of us looks at a painting and sees something different.

David’s Favorite Plays and Films (in no particular order.)

Butley by Simon Gray
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Travesties by Tom Stoppard
Endgame by Samuel Beckett
An Englishman Abroad by Alan Bennett
Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
Hamlet & Hery IV Part I by William Shakespeare
No Man’s Land by Harold Pinter
The Ice Man Cometh by Eugene O’Neill
True West by Sam Shepard

Citizen Kane (Orson Wells)
Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
Fargo (Coen Bros.)
8-1/2 (Federico Fellini)
The Third Man (Carol Reed)
Black Narcissus (Michael Powell)
Hannah & Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
Great Expectations (David Lean)
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
Local Hero (Bill Forsyth)
The Servant (Joseph Losey)
Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder)
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway)
Babe, Pig in the City (George Miller)

Little Davy


When did David Delamare begin painting?

David painted all his life. Even as a child he was busy drawing, painting, and writing stories. He was strongly encouraged by his mother. Una lived just a few blocks away and was his greatest fan. She kept a scrapbook of his work, baked cookies for local gallery openings, and not infrequently dropped by with a roast beef sandwich or chicken pot pie. David knew from a very early age that he wanted to be an artist, and always earned his living through art. In his early years he set up a business painting signs and he occasionally taught art, but was proud of the fact that he has never had a “real” job.

Can you tell me something about his personal life?

David was born in Leicester, UK but spent most of his life in Portland, Oregon where he enjoyed the cloudy weather. Though he enjoyed travel, he never drove a car. He slept late and worked deep into the night. When he wasn’t attending films, plays, or concerts he could usually be found at home or strolling in Portland Oregon’s Hawthorne District. He was a bit reclusive and rarely made public appearances.


If you have further questions, e-mail them to me at I’ll do my best to answer each and, if appropriate, I’ll add your question to this page.

Best Wishes,

Wendy Ice, President (Bad Monkey Productions)

Bad Monkey Productions at
Artist's portrait by Samm Potts, 2000. Text copyright Wendy Ice, 2017.
Reproduction of text or imagery without prior written consent is prohibited by law.