Friday, August 1, 2014

A Behind the Scenes look at the Hyper-Realistic paintings of Peter & Madeline Powell as seen in Sweet

I love sharing the creative visions and processes of my artists.  

In the current exhibit, Sweet, at The Design Studio in Bridgehampton (2393 Main street) it is a confectionary delight featuring the artwork of Hawaii Hyper-Realists Peter and Madeline Powell.  

Although many think they are looking at photography when they see they acrylic paintings, each is a pain-staking and time consuming process to create the exact shapes, colors, shadows, reflections and text within the subject matter.  

Here's a behind the scenes look at their process and the making of "Pile 'o Gummies" featured recently in the Sunday New York Times and "Lime Tootsie" (just sold to a collector who owns several Supermarkets!

Each painting starts with setting up and taking multiple reference photos of the subject matter -- in most cases over 72+ photos -- just to find the perfect shot.   They often choose to concentrate on close-up, “larger than life” images of everyday things -- especially childhood favorites including toys, crayons and sweet treats (but even cars, shoes and much more!).

  Then, the canvas is stretched and Peter and Madeline are both involved in the painstaking layout of each painting.  Every element is completely laid out in graphite on the canvas in detail, from the shadows and highlights, to the folds, crinkles, lettering and reflections. 

 The layout process can take several days, if not weeks to complete.

 It is only then that the actual painting process begins.  

First with the smooth layering of the base colors, which in some cases is done with an airbrush.  This allows for a very “flat” surface foundation without brush strokes.   

Each color is masked off separately.  Here you can see the step by step process with the Red Gummy Bears.

Then the lettering is painted in with fine sable brushes.  

In some cases, precision tools from other industries are used including an old style architectural ruling pen which allows them to fill the pen well with paint. 

With the base colors and lettering complete, the shadows and reflections are painted in, followed lastly with the highlights.

Here's a look at the Final piece, 30 x 32, acrylic on Canvas. 

 Isn't it just good enough to eat?!

 The behind the Scenes look at Lime Tootsie, really lets you see how precise the lettering and wrapper shadows have to be to make it a larger than life realistic piece:

 Precisely Drawn...


 Carefully Painted...

    And the Final painting:
Lime Tootsie, Acrylic on Canvas, 32 x 20

Having met on Maui in 1976, Peter and Madeline Powell soon started working on each other's artwork and before too long, it developed into a natural way of approaching and completing a painting for them. 

The Powells have exhibited their paintings throughout the US.  They are in public and private collections including A&M Records (CA), BMW North America (GA), OPI and The Slinky Corporation (PA).

For more information on the Powells and their artwork (and commissions), contact Lisa at or visit us at or stop by The Design Studio at 2393 Main Street in Bridgehampton.  Sweet is on exhibit through August 4th.