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David Cochran is a northern Virginia artist who specializes in unique family portraits. He began his career in 1962 at the age of 10, and has been painting ever since. He works at the prestigious Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria, VA.

If you are interested in a casual family portrait, email for more information.

A Different Kind of Family Portrait

Dave Cochran's Casual Family Portraits


David has been painting full time for 29 years. He is well known for his Jazz Club, Billiard Room and Social Commentary paintings. For the last decade, David has been including clients in his paintings to create unique family portraits, which can include as few or as many people as requested.

David creates his casual family portraits by working with the client to come up with an overall concept for the painting, including setting, characters and other details. The client sends Dave some images, which he uses to create an initial sketch. After the sketch is approved by the client, David begins transforming the idea into a large acrylic painting which can be passed down in the family for generations.

"At first glance, these large paintings appear to be depictions of a Jazz Club or Cabana Bar, full of all types of social interaction and drama. Upon closer inspection, the viewer will begin to recognize various family members or friends in unexpected roles: a saxophonist, bartender, tango dancers, pool sharks or any idea you can come up with.

"Lately, I have been including images of Grandparents, from old family photo albums. For example, I used a photo of a client's Great Grandfather at age 25 as the piano man in a jazz club. The possibilities are endless with my unique family portraits.

"I can create casual family portraits of any size. I do not paint murals on walls, but can have stretchers made to fit any application. I use Acrylic paint on a heavy cotton canvas. Sizes begin at 3ft x 4ft. The largest I have done was 54" x 17ft (on two panels)."

Bringing Generations Together

Here's an interesting story from one of my most recent casual family portraits.

So I get a call from John, a former client who had commissioned this 5x7 foot Casual Family Portrait a couple years ago. 

"Dave, YOU GOTTA HELP ME OUT HERE!!....I'm in real trouble!!" (which usually means I'm the one in real trouble.) My mind descends into the worst case scenarios...(I want my Money Back!....or..... There's been a divorce and you must paint out a former spouse.) John assures me that it's the opposite of that. His son had a baby after I completed the painting and his Daughter-in-Law is really pressuring/pestering him to get her baby into this Unique Family Portrait.

"Can you help me out here Dave?" I assured him that I could (I always say YES first and then figure out how to get things done).

Here is the photo of his beautiful grand daughter. I next had to figure out how and where to paint the child so that she would feel totally natural and believable. I at first thought I would have Dad holding the baby, but I kept thinking that I could fit her between the parents, in one big group hug. The big happy family with another generation represented in this Casual Family Portrait.

John is very pleased that he is now a hero to his Daughter-in-Law, Monica. He is happy that further family discord has been alleviated (of course, that's only till the next grandchild arrives!! I know....Dad can hold the next one....HA!) ( Keep my Tel # handy John!)

Adjustments in paintings like this happen periodically and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out a solution. I have been painting full time for over 30 years and ......a family is sort of a...... fluid unit.

"I paint a unique kind of family portrait. It is not apparent that these paintings are portraits at all, as I mingle the clients with my own cast of characters.

Give me a call or Email with any ideas or questions about a Casual Family Portrait.