Tom Darrah studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Fleisher Art Memorial, the Hussian School of Art, and the University of New Mexico. While in Philadelphia, he also worked as an artist for the Evening Bulletin. Thanks to a generous invitation from the U.S. government, Tom was able to leave Philadelphia and visit exotic and exciting new places across the globe. This also allowed him to further his education, which brought Tom to the Southwest, where he studied with Herman Rose, from the Art Student League of New York – at the University of New Mexico. While in Albuquerque, he also met and studied with Wilson Hurley.
During the summer of 1978, Tom found himself at a show in Ruidoso, where he met and fell in love with the Sacramento Mountains. Six months later, he and his family had moved to Cloudcroft, where he opened his studio, the Red Oak Gallery. From 1978 to 1991, he lived and worked in this area, going from watercolor to egg tempura, and finally acrylic and oil, and concentrating on commissions of public works from the New Mexico Arts Council. He also began delving heavily into portraits and in 1995 he reopened his gallery in Cloudcroft before moving it to Ruidoso in 2000. Since then, he has been showing work in numerous galleries throughout the Southwest. His work is in the permanent collection of the Albuquerque Museum, and the Western Heritage Center, Hobbs.
Today, Tom concentrates on contemporary impressionistic work, and is considered a modern traditionalist. Considering art a lifetime learning effort, he also works heavily on large figure drawings. Collaborating with writers, Tom has also begun mixing art forms by adding poetry to dreamscapes, and painting illustrations for children’s literature – all in an effort to express his views on life and philosophy with fresh eyes. He is noted for brightly colored cloud scenes, portraits and nudes, as well as area landscapes and a number of mission series. He currently shows in Austin, El Paso, and Midland, Texas and in Ruidoso, New Mexico.