by Jennifer Duclett '84
Meeting Paul Darrow was one of the highlights of my years at Scripps. Though I wasn’t an art major, I took a number of art courses. I wanted to discover if I had any of the design talent my brother and uncle were blessed with, and I wanted to become an architect.
I entered my first class with trepidation. I was a freshman, and a true beginner. The course was “Life Drawing,” and Paul was the teacher. It was quite clear that I wasn’t cut out for representational drawing. The model would be posing and I’d just sit and stare, thinking,”He wants me to draw that?” Paul didn’t seem at all fazed that my Conté crayon was not cooperating with my pad of newsprint. He was always there to keep me going with words of advice or an amusing anecdote.
As a sophomore, I signed up for Paul’s “Mixed Media” class. It suited me so much better. Found objects were applied in new ways, and freedom of expression was encouraged. It was a wonderful experience.
I think what I admire most about Paul is his ability to communicate. Of course, there’s the very personal way in which he communicates through his art. That’s a given. But he also has a great way with words. He talked continually with us in class. It didn’t matter that we were decades apart in age, for we all shared the human condition. He posted words of wisdom around the studio. He took us sailing. He let us into his world.
I respected Paul even when he disagreed with my idea to go to Manhattan for an intensive architectural program for liberal arts majors. He didn’t think my art reflected an architect’s sensibilities…no hard edges.
I went to New York anyway, and proved him right! But that didn’t mark the end of our friendship. My family and I still keep up with Paul. We attend his art openings; we’ve visited with him in Laguna; and we’ve even gone out sailing with him aboard that same boat my classmates and I graced so many years ago.
Last year, Paul sent me a greeting with the Zen passage,”The beginner sees many possibilities; the expert, few. Be a beginner every day.” I keep it in my office as a reminder that you should never stop learning—a lesson great teachers like Paul won’t let you forget.