Self-Taught Artist Paints Beautiful Landscapes on Fallen Leaves

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16-year-old Joanna Wirazka has a very interesting choice of canvas. Instead of paper or fabric, the self-taught artist from Poland paints colorful artworks on fallen autumn leaves. Her works are not only stunning to look at, but also carry a strong environmental message.

Every autumn, Joanna puts aside her regular canvas for something that’s free, readily available, and in her opinion, juts as good – fallen tree leaves. She collects them from a park near her house and places them inside a book until they are completely dry. She then paints them black using water-based acrylic paint, before covering them with colorful landscapes inspired by bustling cities and natural sceneries alike.

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Gyotaku – The Traditional Japanese Art of Painting Fish with Actual Fish

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Back when there were no cameras for fishermen to record their trophy catches, the Japanese came up with a unique printing method called Gyotaku. Gyo means fish, and Taku means impression, and the technique involved just that – using freshly caught fish to make inky impressions on paper.

Hundreds of years ago, Japanese fishermen would take paper, ink and brushes out to sea with them. They would rub the fish they caught with the non-toxic sumi-e ink and then print them on rice paper. Most of the fish were then cleaned and sold in markets, but a few revered ones were released back into the ocean. In the mid-1800s, fishermen began to add eye details and other embellishments, giving rise to a unique art form.  

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90-Year-Old Watchman Turns Russian School into a Veritable Art Gallery

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After 25 years of teaching art at several schools, Valery Khramov finally retired from his job, but not from art. The 90-year-old spent the entire summer painting the walls at the school where he currently works as a watchman. He singlehandedly managed to transform the boring institution into an ethereal space, just in time for the new academic year.

“I spent the last three months at school,” Valery told the local media. “All I did was paint and draw. It has been 10 days since I slept – it was necessary to have time to finish everything for the new academic year.” And now that the kids are back in school, they’re absolutely thrilled with the new decor. In fact, first graders are actually being taken on tours of the ‘gallery’. What a fantastic way to beat back-to-school blues!

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This 87-Year-Old Woman Loves Painting Houses and She’s Incredibly Good at It

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They say age is just a number, and Agnes Kasparkova, a grandmother from the Czech village of Louka, in South Moravia, is a perfect example. At age 87, the adorable artist still spends most of her free time doing what she likes most – hand-painting her neighbors’ houses with traditional motifs.

Agnes Kasparkova retired from her work in agriculture 30 years ago, and has been painting houses ever since. Despite her frail hands, she manages to brighten up every building she works on with intricate ultramarine designs. “I’m just doing what I like,” she says, humbly. “I try to help decorate the world a bit.”



Artist Paints Incredibly Realistic Portraits on His Palms, Then Stamps Them on Paper

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California-based Russell Powell is without a doubt one of the most talented and original artists we have ever featured on Oddity Central. The young artist is able to paint incredibly detailed portraits on the palm of his left hand, before stamping it on a paper canvas to create a permanent imprint of the artwork.

Powell calls the process ‘hand-stamping’; it’s a tricky technique because not only does he use the irregular surface of his palm to create detailed works of art, he also needs to work fast to complete the portrait before the paint dries, for a clear imprint. The end result, however, is nothing short of breathtaking.



Mexican Artist Recreates Classic Paintings on Real Butterflies

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After experimenting with candy and toothpaste paintings, Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos is now working with preserved butterflies. He spends several hours pouring over each wing, painstakingly decorating them with detailed replicas of classical paintings.

Butterfly wings don’t naturally make for good canvases – they’re small, and the texture isn’t altogether right for painting. They’re each about 12 cm in length, so Ramos has to use a magnifying glass to get the intricacy and details right. He spends a good 56 hours painting each wing, meticulously applying one brushstroke at a time.



Artists Carve Replica of “China’s Mona Lisa” into Giant Piece of Fossilized Ebony

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A group of Chinese artists recently immortalized the famous Chinese painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival by replicating it on to a giant piece of fossilized ebony. Over 800 people, 30 structures, 28 ships, a harbour, a town hall, and a market, were painstakingly carved on to the 30-tonne chunk of ebony. It took the artists a whopping 600 days to complete, and the final piece was displayed at the 11th Annual China International Cultural Industries Fair in Shenzhen.

At 27.5 meters long and 1.92 meters tall, the ebony replica is more than double the size of the original scroll. The black fossilised ebony, known as ‘wumu’, gets its unique density and colors from being buried underground for thousands of years. This particular piece of wood  is 5,000 years old: It was discovered in the riverbed of Minjiang River.



Artist’s Painted Portraits Look More Like High-Definition Photographs

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Italian artist Marco Grassi paints portraits of women that are so perfect, down to the fine hair lines, pores and freckles on the skin that people often mistake them for photographs.

However, Grassi differentiates himself from other hyper-realist painters by giving his artworks a surreal twist. In one painting, for example, his subject’s back is adorned with a tribal motif that seems carved into her back revealing a hollow interior. Other of his ‘surreal hyper-realistic” include a woman with spectacular glowing tattoos that seem to emerge from her skin, or another with a futuristic glass necklace around her neck. Although his human subjects appear photographed, it’s these little impossible details that give them away as paintings.



Chinese Artist Paints Large-Scale Mountain Landscape Using Roller Skates

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Tian Haisu is the world’s first roller-skating artist – she cleverly combines her love of art and ice skating to create beautiful paintings. She specializes in traditional Chinese landscapes, but has long-since ditched the calligraphy pen for a pair of skates!

Tian, who started painting at the age of three, says that painting with skates makes her feel ‘one with her art’. Through this medium, she wants to give the traditional form of painting a ‘new lease of life’. To create these unique paintings, Tian uses a modified pair of skates with a pot of black paint attached to the wheels. She puts them on and skates in deliberate patterns over a large canvas.



Blind Artist Relies on Touch and Textures to Create Stunning Paintings

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Texas-based artist John Bramblitt perceives the world and everything in it through color. Fear, for instance, he says is a “red with a lot of black mixed in. It’s almost like the color of blood and dirt or soil – it’s really deep.” His paintings are stunningly vivid, bursting with color and texture. Ironically, Bramblitt is blind.

The 37-year-old has been suffering epileptic seizures since the age of two. As he grew older , the seizures became more and more frequent. “There would be months I’d have so many seizures I couldn’t count them,” he said. His vision gradually began to deteriorate since age 11 – at first it would become blurry and then eventually clear up. But with time, it cleared up less after each episode, and by 2001 he had become completely blind.

The loss of vision was a terrible blow for Bramblitt, sending him into what he calls the “deepest, darkest hole” of depression. “All of the hopes and dreams that I had for my life; all of the plans for what I would do after I graduated school were gone,” he said.



Artist Turns Human Bodies into Mind-Boggling Optical Illusions

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Oregon-based artist Natalie Fletcher is an expert at turning human bodies into optical illusions. Her artworks may seem cleverly photoshopped, but the illusions are in fact painted directly on to the skin!

Her project, aptly named ‘Just an Illusion’, features human canvases that are painted in bright base colors like cyan, fuchsia, yellow and green. She cleverly makes use of black contour lines to fool the eye into thinking that parts of the model’s torso are distorted. Some of them appear twisted, while others seem to have a gaping sinkhole in the center. She creates the illusion of depth by shading and positioning the lines.

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German Artist Creates Photorealistic Oil Paintings

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Hyperrealistic paintings are always awe-inspiring, and the works of German artist Mike Dargas are no exception. His precise paintings are so rooted in reality that it’s easy to mistake them for real-life photographs. In his artworks, the 31-year-old artist from Cologne depicts human models in a plethora of emotions – lost in thought or internal conflict, or simply relaxed and radiating a heavenly grace.

Mike has been painting since childhood, and developed his talents by later attending art school. He worked as a tattoo artist in his early twenties, and eventually opened his own studio in Cologne. Inspired by artists such as Dali, Breton and H. R. Giger, he began to experiment with surrealism and realism.



Artist Mother Turns Her Toddler’s Doodles into Beautiful Paintings

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Who knew that a child’s meaningless doodles could have so much potential? Toronto-based artist Ruth Oosterman takes creativity to a whole new level by converting her two-year-old daughter Eve’s scribbles into beautiful paintings.

Ruth is so artistic that she is able to transform Eve’s random lines into recognizable shapes. A random curve becomes an elephant’s ear, and crooked lines become the gnarled branches of a tree. Nothing seems to escape her eye – she can spot the outline of a woman’s face or the hooked nose of a bird where most people would just see haphazard scratches.

It all started by accident when Eve discovered her mother’s ink pen and loved using it. “That was part of the reason I used watercolor on that very first drawing because I knew the beautiful effect it would have on the paper. The ink pen marks immediately become a type of paint once you touch it with a wet paintbrush. It makes it easier to blend into the colors I add and also adds a dark intensity that I wouldn’t be able to create otherwise.”



Minty Fresh Art – Quirky Artist Paints with Toothpaste

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The paintings of Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos are, quite literally, like a breath of minty fresh air! The 34-year-old creates celebrity portraits using nothing but tubes of ordinary toothpaste. Some of his notable works include paintings of Robin Williams, Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson, Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John. They’ve all been crafted using various brands of the oral hygiene product.

Painting with toothpaste is a lot harder than it sounds, and Ramos spends up to 200 hours and 30 tubes on a single piece. “It is very difficult to make these as the toothpaste becomes very sticky and dries quickly,” he explained. “The smell can also be overwhelming, which was challenging during the long days of up to 10 hours painting.”



The Delicate Feather Paintings of Jamie Homeister

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Jamie Homeister, a folk artist from New Albany, Indiana, paints exquisite portraits of animals and birds on the most unusual canvas – feathers. Her magnificent featherwork is influenced by her Canadian heritage, but she also depicts themes from Native American culture.

Jamie receives the feather that she works on from the people who commission her to paint images of their birds – the same ones that actually shed the feathers. “I do much of it by commission – many of my parrot-feather paintings depict the parrots from whom the feathers themselves fell,” the artist explains.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the lifestyles of all those who walked this Earth before us, so feather painting just always made sense to me,” Jamie said. “Featherwork is incredibly humbling media. The feathers splice, buckle, splinter and shed under the weight of paint.”



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