One of the most common feelings I get when watching an artist working is “oh, that looks easy.” After all, the materials and method are all right in front of you: paint or ink, a paint brush or pen, and a hand that moves deftly across a canvas. What goes completely unseen of course are the years upon years of practice, the trials and failures, and the possession of innate talent. A great example of this are these Japanese dragon paintings that are rendered almost completely with a single stroke of paint.
According to Japanese culture blog Iromegane, the paintings are called Hitofude Ryuu (Dragon with one stroke), and the ones shown here originate from a small studio called Kousyuuya in Nikko, Japan. The studio has seen four generations of master painters who have been creating these stylized dragons for decades.
The process involves carefully painting an ornate dragon head with various flourishes, and then finishing the piece using a giant sumi brush in a carefully orchestrated stroke. The process has much in common with both ink wash painting and calligraphy, and similar to letterforms, the images are often repeated. From the videos you can see certain designs are reused in different colors or with added details. All the videos here start at the fun part where the torso is painted, but you can rewind them a bit to see the creation of the entire painting. (via Cineraria, Iromegane)
With the exception of the repurposed containers, almost every aspect of these artworks by Singapore-based artist Keng Lye (previously) has been rendered in acrylic paint, carefully applied within layers of clear resin. A fish in a plastic bag, a tin can of tadpoles swirling under a frog on a lilypad, and even a completely convincing betta constructed from carved resin and painted with acrylic—each work a strange, lifelike amalgam of painting and sculpture. These are just a few of Lye’s work over the last year, you can see more over on Facebook.
Japanese artist Shintaro Ohata (previously) currently has two new sculptural paintings on view at Mizuma Gallery in Singapore. Ohata places vibrantly painted figurative sculptures in the foreground of similarly styled paintings that when viewed directly appear to be a single artwork. In some sense it appears as though the figures have broken free from the canvas. These artworks, along with several of his other paintings, join works by Yoddogawa Technique, Enpei Ito, Osamu Watanabe, and Akira Yoshida, for the Sweet Paradox show that runs through August 10th. (via F*ck Yeah Painting, My Modern Met)
Artist Mike Stilkey uses the covers of books reclaimed from library trash heaps as a canvas for his whimsical paintings. He works with a mix of ink, colored pencil, paint and lacquer to create each artwork that can vary from anthropomorphic animals playing instruments to portraits of men and women inspired by Weimar-era German expressionism. Elements of his playful and at times emotionally exaggerated style have been compared to Edward Gorey and Egon Schiele.
The Los Angeles-based artist credits an immersion in skateboard culture during much of his youth as the beginning of his artistic career, as he simultaneously became exposed to graffiti and street art, though he received no formal training. His work has since been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally in galleries, museums, and libraries.
First: watch the shaky video, it’s all spoilers here on out.
On first view of this clip by Benjamin Dalsgaard Hughes, I was convinced the skewed perspective of the painting was some kind of digital trick on an HD display, somewhat similar to the dancing shadows we saw a few months ago. But then, the sudden disorienting reveal. What! This particular optical illusion is what’s known as reverse perspective painting, where objects (usually rooms) are painted on a physically skewed surface resulting in images that appear in reverse when viewed head on.
The painting above is by Brian Williams and is currently on view as part of a show on 3D art that just opened at The Gallery Ice in Windsor. Perhaps the most well-known artist working with forced perspective is Patrick Hughes. Here he is discussing his own work at Flowers Gallery a few years ago. Love the bit at the end where the entire crowd is squatting up and down to view the painting.
From onion peels to kiwi seeds or even bits of chocolate, it seems any canvas is sufficient for Turkish artist Hasan Kale (previously) as long as it meets the requirement of being incredibly tiny. Hasan delights in the challenge of depicting landscapes of his native Istanbul in the most infinitesimal of brush strokes, a feat that requires the use of a magnifying glass to appreciate the details of each piece. While the longevity of each object he paints is questionable, the steadiness of his hand is impressive to witness. See much more over on Facebook. (via Illusion)
It has long been suspected that some of the old masters may have relied on optical devices such as the camera lucida to help with scale and proportion in their paintings, leading to more lifelike interpretations of landscapes and portraits. Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor and computer graphics specialist, became obsessed with one such painter: Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, who created such realistic paintings that they seemed to have more in common with photography than paint. Could Vermeer have created a system for replicating scenes in front of him using lenses and mirrors?
Jenison embarked on an experiment to recreate one of Vermeer’s most famous paintings, The Music Lesson. It’s an obsession that would consume five years of his life involving the actual construction of the entire room seen in the painting down to the most minute details, the (re)invention of a 17-century optical technology using period-appropriate tools and materials, and then seven months spent painting.
The entire endeavor was filmed and turned into a documentary titled Tim’s Vermeer, the trailer of which you can see above. The film began its theatrical run in January, but just became available as a Blu-ray combo pack and digital download today. Jenison also wrote a detailed article about the entire step-by-step process that was published yesterday on Boing Boing.