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Portrait of Melissa

Melissa, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 in., © Copyright 2002 D.D. Click image to enlarge.

In 1996, my mother suddenly, quite unexpectedly died. It was a terrible shock to my elderly father and me; we took stock of our lives. One thing that particularly affected me was how precious and irreplaceable the images of our loved ones were. With my software publishing coming to a close, I answered the innate call to develop my latent talents for art; my “right brain” instinctively needed to mature, to balance out my much-exercised “left brain.”


Moreover, what I discovered as I studied the works of the Old Masters, learned the timeless concepts of design as well as the newest media and techniques of painting, and created a portfolio of portraits in acrylic and oilwell-received by my subjects, patrons, fellow artists, and international art critics — was that balance is the key to “good taste” in art. Inspired, I wrote about that and other significant themes in respected arts forums and elsewhere online:

Art and Science ... A Marriage Made in Heaven

A Posting to New York Arts Magazine Online Forum, In Response to SCI-ART: Science and Art — So Different, So Similar?, by “M-1000,” August 7, 2003


As a university-educated scientist and an autodidactic artist — not to mention an admirer of Leonardo — I am particularly moved by this discussion.


To me, pure science is the search for truth in the universe, which exists independent of the observer, the scientist.


Art, however, is not only the search for truth in the universe but also the communication of its meaning, which is utterly dependent upon the observer, the artist, and, typically, an audience.


Both science and art may be either pure or applied — applied science being technology; applied art being technical drawing, commercial art, etc.


But at their most basic, science and art both stem from the truth — worshipped, in one form or another, by virtually all major religions as the Supreme Being (or source of existence itself) and, being everywhere around us at all times, typically taken for granted (like the force of gravity or the passage of time) ... that is, taken for granted by those who are not theologians, scientists, or artists.


If you believe as I believe that the soul of Homo sapiens exists within the mind of Homo sapiens (and to argue otherwise raises such romantic notions as the heart being the seat of the soul or the controversies surrounding abortions within the first two trimesters, before the neurological formation of consciousness), then science and art are as inseparable as the left and right halves of our brains ... each an entity unto itself, but each more significant in light of the other.


Art and science ... a marriage made in Heaven.


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Art Lives!

A Posting to New York Arts Magazine Online Forum, In Response to Art Notes: A New Agenda, by John Perrault, October 24, 2002


Thank you for stating what needed to be stated — that art is adrift — and for challenging us who believe that art is important to human life to think and do something about it.


At its most fundamental, “art” is artifice — the thoughtful acts of a thinking species attempting to change its environment to its own liking — and at its most sophisticated, art is an entity taking on a life of its own — a dynamic system calling upon its past (hence the “neos”) and inventing its future (hence the “posts”) as the sum total, greater than its parts, of countless works by countless artists both renowned and anonymous, studiously and unwittingly influenced by and influencing one another.


Perhaps the aimlessness or stasis in various quarters of art is simply the reflection of a generally aging population, having lost the verve of youth and/or comfortable in its familiar ways; but perhaps the organism we call art is a grand pupa, dormant to the world (“as if art were asleep”) but actually undergoing significant, perhaps even dramatic structural changes, which may start at the most microscopic level but may not become apparent at the macroscopic level until there is an appropriate, yet unpredictable change of “seasons.”


Perhaps, then, it is the role of the artist to be but one “gene” of the organism of art — to express oneself as effectively as possible, within the context of the feedback (the “critiques” you mention) from other components of the genome and within the limitations and positive influences beyond our control from the environment at large.


Art can be both a domestic animal, in service to us, and a wild beast, incapable of being tamed. But as long as artists keep creating, art persists (“because you have to”), art consumes (and is con$umed), art reproduces and evolves (“pluralism” becoming ever more so) — art lives!


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“I was honored & flattered by his [portrait] work.”

The Honorable John Van de Kamp, Former Attorney General of California

“Drenkow demonstrates that the art of portraiture is in the interpretation of souls, achieving a final composition that is pleasing to the eyes, for aesthetic effect, and to the heart, for success in the arduous challenge of transmitting, on the flat dimension of the canvas, the most varied states of the soul of the one portrayed.”

— Translated from the article Estados da Alma [States of the Soul] by Oscar D’Ambrosio, Member of the International Association of Art Critics (Brazilian Section)

“When you look at portraits of Douglas Drenkow, you feel that they radiate such fine mood that you begin to smile. What is [the] reason? Sincerity? Readiness to please? ... Without any doubt ... Douglas Drenkow achieved great results in his self education, [as] he became a professional artist.”

— Dr. Jurate Macnoriute, Lithuanian/International Art Critic and Theorist, in The Secrets of Perfection

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