Why use paper to paint on when you’ve palms? This thought may have guided Russell Powell to create incredibly realistic portraits of people on the palm of his hand. Of course, he later ‘stamps’ these creations on paper for all to see.
The works of this American artist are so realistic as to place him among some of the best portrait artists. What’s unique about this art is the inclusion of his palm lines and contours in his creations. These lines and contours not only give a unique touch to the paintings but also create a 3D effect when stamped on paper.
Powell’s portraits include celebrities, such as Bob Marley, John Lennon, Robin Williams, British model Cara Delevingne and the Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen. He has also recreated the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ portrait of the renowned Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, and other artists, such as the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Powell uses oil paints to create his portraits and stamp them onto the Hahnemuhle art paper that’s used in inkjet printers. Since he’s a right-hander, all his paintings are done on the palm of his left hand. He primarily paints in black and white, but at times provides a smidgen of colors to enhance their beauty. He also creates fully colored portraits.
Of course, painting on the palm of one hand on the other hand is a tedious, time-consuming job. And to become an expert in creating the exact image is much more so. Little wonder Powell had spent thousands of hours in perfecting his signature style of ‘hand-stamp’ art. What’s most challenging in this form of art is the time factor. Powell has to be quick to paint and transfer the painting on paper before the paint dries upon his palm.
With such an amazing style of art, Powell is still not a full-time artist. In fact, he’s a full-time teacher in California, and creating these unusual paintings is merely his hobby! It’s not surprising that he enjoys a huge fan following, over 135,000 on Instagram alone.