Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1958, Darnell currently lives and paints in the South of France. 

He received his painting degree from the University of Texas in Austin where he continued to live and work until 1992 when he moved to Europe. Along with his wife Nicole and their children, Joseph and Ava, Darnell currently lives part time in southern France where Matisse and Picasso drew inspiration. His landscapes, flower and still life paintings have a peaceful, dream-like, photographic quality while the luminous abstract paintings have a mediative and vaguely spiritual feel. 

Whether realistic or non-representational, Darnell's canvasses capture the illusion of radiant light through a technique which involves multiple layers of transparent oil paints and alkyde resins. His work is influenced by modern painters Gerhart Richter and Ross Bleckner as well as old masters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Perhaps as a result of these influences, Darnell's artworks can look either modern or very old depending on their environment.