Featured Guest Writer: Darryl Funk – Finding Cobra

Darryl W. Funk is a Canadian artist working out of Abbotsford, BC. He studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta and the Center for Arts and Technology, Okanagan in Kelowna, BC.  Darryl has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree specializing in printmaking.

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There is nothing like the feel of taking a brush and moving Cobra oils across a freshly primed canvas.  As a matter of fact, I sometimes forget about the image and just watch the paint as it glides gently across the substrate, blending with the other colours so effortlessly.  It so happens that my experience with oils wasn’t always that way.

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but the first time I tried my hand with oils was back in the mid 90’s when I was in my mid 20’s.  I was young and wanted to broaden my artistic horizons.  Up until that time, I had been doing mostly illustration, using pen, ink and water-colour.  The problem was however, that a few years earlier I had a stroke and was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called, “Takayasu’s Arteritis”.  I’d had my first open heart surgery by age 21, so exposing my immune system to harsh solvents was out of the question.  Acrylic paint had its uses, but didn’t have that lustre that oil offered.

Fortunately for me, water-mixable oils had just become the new kid on the block.  I literally had no idea what I was doing, but that was okay.  It seemed fairly straight forward and clean up was easy.  Still, it seemed thick and pasty and didn’t last for more than a few sad experimental paintings.  Years later after getting my degree in printmaking, I decided to give it another go.

By this time, other companies had started making water-mixable oils and they had improved.   Artist quality paints were available and while working at an art supply store, I had the opportunity to try out a few different brands.  I found some that allowed me to define my style and find my place as a painter.

After leaving the store, I continued to do visiting artist demonstrations using water mixable oils.  I felt it important that people were aware of a much safer alternative to traditional oils.  During this time, Royal Talens released the Cobra solvent-free oils.  I picked up a few colours and squeezed them out onto my palette.  It was one of those, “Stop the presses!” moments.  The rich colour and buttery texture felt like something I had been waiting for all those years!  As I continued to do visiting artist demos, it was no longer just talking about a safer alternative.  It was about creating beautiful art and enjoying every moment of painting.

There’s the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!”  I remember telling my wife that I loved painting with Cobra so much that I wished I could represent Royal Talens, showing off this fantastic product.  Luckily for me, there weren’t any artists representing Royal Talens in Western Canada, and that wish came true!  I take great pride in being an ambassador, travelling around to different cities, making new friends and sharing the joy that I have every time I put my brush down on that freshly primed canvas.

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