Dara's education includes an MA degree from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, and a BA degree from Chico, California State University, Chico, CA. During her college years, she gained extensive experience in figure drawing and most painting mediums, but her focus was mainly on sculpture techniques and the female form. Her graduate show consisted of life-sized, expressionistic, figurative sculptures made of cement and steel. She continued this work until about 2009, when she transitioned to painting, first in pastels then in oils and acrylics. She also became more interested in landscapes - wildflowers, trees, birds, marshes, and creeks. In 2016 she transitioned once again and began painting the horse, which brought about a renewed inspiration and excitement to her creative process. She discovered she loved the bold shapes of horses and was enthralled with capturing the animal's spirit in motion.
Dara uses a palette knife to apply the paint mediums and uses techniques such as molding pastes and gels to build up forms and add rich textures. She layers squares and rectangles of handmade papers with Gesso onto the surface of the canvas before applying paint, creating a textured, grid-like pattern while adding interest and depth to each composition.
Her most recent series of abstracts are about color, tones, shapes, angles, curves, and texture. As she describes her process: "It is refreshing and incredibly freeing for me not to think about a subject. Instead, I can respond to just colors combined with other visual elements and how it feels. But, not unlike my figurative paintings, my abstracts are expressive and interpretive as I continue to be spontaneous and intuitive during my process. I also turn each of my abstract paintings on all sides while I develop them to ensure that they can work in any direction."