Hitofude Ryuu – The Japanese Art of Painting Dragons with a Single Brush Stroke

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The talented Sumie painters of Kousyuuya Studio in Nikko, Japan can paint the body of a dragon with a single stroke of the brush. The delicate technique is known as ‘hitofude ryuu’, which literally means ‘dragon with one stroke’, and it’s been around for four generations.

Watching these painters create a perfect dragon – with all the shades and scales – in just a couple of seconds is a true delight. It all looks so effortless, but there’s a lot of hard work and practice involved in getting the stroke right.

To create a single dragon painting, the Sumie artists first make the ornate head with various flourishes, using a smaller brush. Then, they dip a much larger sumie brush into the desired paint color and simply swipe it across the canvas in one swift movement. You really have to watch a video to realize the brilliance of the technique.

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Artist Uses Melting Ice-Cream to Create Deliciously Colorful Paintings

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While most people prefer their ice-cream frozen, Baghdad-based artist Othman Toma likes it melted. He uses multi-colored melting treats as a medium for his art, instead of normal paint. And it works incredibly well. In fact, to the untrained eye, his artworks seem painted with regular watercolors.

Toma paints all sorts of stuff using ice cream – lions, tigers, women’s faces, popular monuments, and more. It’s  just marvelous how he manages to get such a wide array of colors with very few shades of the cold dessert. All he needs to do is reach out into his freezer, and he’s ready to paint!

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The Photo-Like Paintings of Hyung Jin Park

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Korean artist Hyung Jin Park uses photographs as inspiration to create equally realistic paintings of young Asian women. He generally paints bust-length portraits of a monumental scale, up to seven feet high, depicting women at close range. The hair, lips, eyes and skin are painted with a high level of precision, making them unbelievably real. His photorealistic technique is so accurate that once he completes a piece, it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a high-resolution photograph or a painting.

But Park’s work can be identified if you are aware of his signature style. He often makes distortions of the women he’s painting, like enlarging the eyes or shrinking the chin, to give them an otherworldly look. He also gives the women a universalized, glazed appearance, softening features just like in Oriental ceramics. So his paintings do appear to be like photographs, but they’re also rather surreal. And although the artist chooses his subjects from among his students, the women in his paintings are really quite different from the real-life inspiration.

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Meet Paintboxer – The Dutch Artist Who Paints with His Fists

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It’s hard to imagine boxing and painting combined to create something artistic. But Dutch boxer Bart van Polanen Petel demonstrates that it’s really quite possible to mix a brutal sport and a delicate art form. He puts on his boxing gloves, dips them in paint, and throws punch after punch at a blank canvas wrapped around a punching bag until it is completely covered in chaotic color patterns.

“If life is ultimately a Darwinian struggle for survival, then boxing at least has the virtue of being open about it,” says the philosophical boxer. Inspired by its primal nature, painting is Bart’s way of paying tribute to the sport of boxing. “Instead of crushing bones and shattering teeth, I use my fists to create,” he explained.

Bart says that when he’s boxing, he feels a deep connection with the men of the Stone Age and the Middle Ages. He feels a certain animal within him, an aggression that he learned to curb in boxing. But with painting, he’s able to let out all that aggression on to the canvas.

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These Photos of Beautiful Women Are Actually Amazingly-Realistic Oil Paintings

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Each time we feature hyper-realistic paintings on OC, I think, “This is the best I’ve ever seen.” But then we get to see another artist’s work, and I’m amazed all over again. This time it’s the work of New York-based Israeli painter Yigal Ozeri. I’m still having a hard time believing that these paintings aren’t actually photographs of women.

Seriously, there’s no denying the fact that Ozeri’s taken hyperrealism to a whole new level. You can’t spot a single brushstroke in these photograph-inspired paintings, that’s how perfect his work is. He starts each piece by photographing beautiful women in nature-themed sceneries, while staying hidden at a safe distance from his models. Back at his studio, he alters the shots with Photoshop and prints them out. Using the prints as a reference, Ozeri then spends days recreating them with oil on canvas

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Can You Believe This Isn’t Trash But Expertly Painted Pieces of Wood?

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I wouldn’t blame you if you thought these were just simple photos of discarded trash. I was fooled as well, until I actually read the story behind them. In reality, these are pieces of wood expertly painted by super-talented Kentucky artist Tom Pfannerstill. From crushed Starbucks coffee cups to crumpled Goldfish cracker packages, he is able to create perfect replicas of all sorts of garbage he finds on the streets.

Tom calls the series ‘From the Street’; he starts off by choosing a real piece of trash and traces the outline of the object onto a flat piece of wood. Once his wooden canvas is ready, he fills it in with acrylic paints, in painstaking detail. The two-dimensional painting soon comes to life, looking exactly like a piece of trash it was modeled after.

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Talented Artist Paints Detailed Landscapes on Incredibly Small Pieces of Food

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Talented Turkish artist Hasan Kale specializes in creating micro paintings on incredibly small objects, like butterfly wings and snail’s shells. In his latest project, he’s taken his micro painting skills to a whole new level – by using food as a canvas.

The list of edible objects that Kale has painted on includes peanut husks, split almonds, banana chips, fruit seeds, beans, onion peels, mini breadsticks, and even bits of chocolate. As long as it’s tiny, it appears that Kale will paint on it. He uses an extremely fine paint brush tip and a magnifying glass to paint intricate landscapes of his native Istanbul.

Through Kale’s work, you can enjoy a picturesque view of the Nusretiye Mosque and other scenes from Istanbul on a Milka Square, painted with such amazing detail. Of course, most of his work is microscopic, and therefore not very visible to the naked eye. You’d need some sort of magnification to be able to see the paintings clearly.

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Woman Born without Arms and Legs Overcomes Odds, Become Successful Painter

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Zuly Sanguino is a talented young artist and motivational speaker. The 24-year-old Colombian creates beautiful, colorful paintings of flowers and landscapes that have been exhibited in various shows. She has also given several motivational lectures at corporate organizations, schools and prisons. Zuly is an exceptional woman, mainly because she’s managed to achieve so much even though she was born without fully formed limbs.

Born with phocomelia, a congenital disorder that affected all four of her limbs, Zuly was destined for a life of disability. The doctors had informed her mother, Guillermina, that Zuly would have to be lying down all the time for the rest of her life. In spite of their poverty and terrible living conditions (they lived in shacks with dirt floors), Guillermina wouldn’t give up on her daughter – she taught young Zuly to sit at first, and then walk on her own without external support.

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Hong Yi Strikes Again with Football Painted Portraits of Popular World Cup Players

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Shanghai-based artist Hong Yi, a.k.a. ‘Red’, has combined her love for football and art in a very unique way – she recently painted a massive portrait of three superstars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup – Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi – by dribbling a paint-covered football on a canvas.

Red didn’t use a single paintbrush to create her amazing portraits of the three popular football players! Instead, she kicked a paint-stained football around on the canvas, and actually managed to paint highly accurate pictures of her subjects.

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The Incredibly Realistic Painted Frescoes of Patrick Commecy

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Not all forms of wall graffiti are acceptable – most are viewed as vandalism. But in the case of French street artist Patrick Commecy, homeowners actually invite him to paint on their walls. Along with his team of muralists, he transforms boring, dull patches of wall into vibrant scenes, full of life. In fact unless you have a ‘before’ picture, you might not even realize it’s a painting.

Patrick and his team travel across France, painting hyper-realistic windows and balconies on bare walls that resemble the rest of the building. They dress up these painted windows with plants, birds and sometimes even rocks and waterfalls. It all looks so real that it’s confusing for a moment – it’s hard to tell the difference between a real tree and the painted one.

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Surreal Animal Portraits Expertly Painted on Wild Turkey Feathers

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If you thought painting bird feathers was difficult, wait till you check out this super-talented artist who paints on bird feathers. That’s right, Connecticut-based Brenda Lyons paints the most stunning animal portraits using moulted turkey feathers as a canvas, as a part of her ongoing series called ‘Painted Feathers’.

I seriously appreciate the kind of work Brenda does, because I can’t even hold something so delicate without eventually destroying it. And to actually apply acrylic paints directly on these feathers to create something so beautiful – it just blows my mind.

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Can You believe These Are Hyper-Realistic Acrylic Paintings and Not Actual Photographs?

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We’ve seen lots of artists creating portraits that look like photographs, but very few have come as close to the real thing as Sheryl Luxenberg. Her work is fittingly called ‘hyperrealism’ – her paintings are just too real to be true. You probably need to stare at them for hours to spot one feature that doesn’t look utterly lifelike.

Sheryl is an award-winning visual artist living in Ottawa, Ontario. On her websites, she says that she tries to present the objectivity of her subjects, taking advantage of illusionistic depth and emphasizing with paint a flattened three dimensional look. I’m an art-dummy, so I really have no idea what that means. But it’s apparently the hallmark quality of the Photorealism Art Movement that began in the United States in the late 1960s.

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Artist Uses Ashes of the Deceased to Paint Portraits of Them

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Adam Brown, a Missouri-based painter, is offering his clients a unique way to connect with their deceased loved ones. He mixes the ashes with paint pigments and uses them to create portraits of the dead, as a ‘lasting memory’.

The 32-year-old artist said: “It hit me that having ashes in an urn on a fireplace would be a good way to remember that someone died, but having them in a piece of art is a good way of remembering that someone lived.” For Brown to paint the portraits, his clients need to send him the cremated remains of their loved ones. “Out of respect, I still wear gloves when handling the ashes,” said Brown “And whatever is left over, I am careful to return. I only need about four to six ounces, depending on the canvas. The ashes would go into the background.”

He takes these ashes, which have the texture of sand, and mixes them with paints, craft glues and resins. Brown also incorporates the deceased’s favorite colors and personality into the artwork. He puts a written inscription at the back warning that the painting contains human remains. This is “in case it ever leaves the family and goes into auction, so people know what they’re buying.”

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Artist Uses Her Fingers to Create Mind-Blowingly Realistic Paintings of Icebergs

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Zaria Forman’s paintings of icebergs are so realistic that just looking at them actually gives me the chills. Her 2012 collection, Chasing the Light, is a tribute to her mother who died from brain cancer. She also hopes to raise awareness to climate change through her work.

Forman has a unique style of creating art. “When I travel, I take thousands of photographs and make small sketches. Once I am back in the studio, I draw from my memory of the experience, as well as the photographs to create large scale compositions. I add layers of color onto the paper, smudging everything with my fingers and hand,” she said.

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This Portrait of Morgan Freeman Is Actually a Finger Painting Done on an iPad

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26-year-old iPad artist Kyle Lambert has created an ultra-realistic finger painting of Hollywood star Morgan Freeman. If you put Lambert’s painting and Freeman’s photograph side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. The features are practically lifelike, down to the last freckle.

The British artist from Cheshire took one month and used 285,000 finger strokes on his iPad to complete the painting. He used an application called Procreate that allowed him to zero-in and layer his work. Using the app’s features, he reduced the brush size to only a few pixels for extra precision. This enabled him to zoom in to apply stroke after stroke, producing the amazing, photo-like portrait.

Lambert says that Procreate was crucial to his finger painting process. “It captures every brush stroke automatically and you can export it to the camera roll,” he explains. “It has the best canvas size and video export. It’s the most like Photoshop.”

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