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About Me

Hi World!

I'M Darla donley

 I was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. My family and I have lived all over the country and made Florida our home in 2016. We currently live in Palm Coast, Florida, which is just south of St. Augustine.

My art journey began when my husband, Brian, signed us up for a painting class on a Saturday in February, 2014. The class started at 10 a.m. and by noon, I knew I wanted to pursue art and become an instructor. 

Although I started out learning how to paint landscapes and seascapes using a popular wet-on-wet technique, I quickly realized that I wanted to learn how to paint more detail. I discovered Wilson Bickford along with several other artists that teach more detailed wet-on-wet styles. 

I signed up for a 4-day portrait class with Valerie Stewart in November 2017. It was at that class that I fell in love with the portrait technique. Valerie invited me to a semi-private class and recommended that I take her certification class. I had finally found my niche. I became a certified portrait instructor under Valerie in less than a year.

A very instrumental mentor to me is Marion Dutton. Marion’s online portrait courses helped me improve my skills in a very short period of time. I then became a MazArt Associate Painting Partner. Learning Marion’s approach to the portrait technique was able to help me achieve more realistic portrait paintings. I will always be taking classes to learn new techniques so that I can teach them to my students.  

My  painting, November Breeze, made the cover of the St. Augustine Entertainer magazine for November 2019. My painting of Santa, The Nice Book – Santa, made the cover of the St. Augustine Entertainer for December 2019. 

Current Galleries and Other Markets:  

  • The Art Box Gallery - downtown St. Augustine, Florida
  • The Art Studio at the Beach - St. Augustine Beach, Florida
  • Coconut Barrel - Artisan Market


  • Valerie Stewart – Certified Portrait Instructor 
  • Wilson Bickford – Trained Teacher for a variety of wet-on-wet techniques 
  • Marion Dutton – MazArt Associate Painting Partner 

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.


Many of my portraits are from excellent, high quality reference photos. I get inspired when I see a beautiful composition of a person or animal with unique lighting or backgrounds. I challenge myself to see if I can capture the beauty of the photo on canvas. 


I use an old master's technique for portrait painting, traditional oil painting (wet on wet), acrylic painting, and enjoy doing projects with resin on wood. 

career highlights

My career highlight is when I became a certified portrait instructor.  I'm bless and pleased to be represented in several galleries in St. Augustine. 

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