At first glance, the work of artist Cj Hendry looks like pictures of oil paint photographed on a smooth canvas. But, look again—they’re actually a series of hyperrealism drawings called Complimentary Colors. The Australian artist—a former finance student—has produced the luscious blobs using only colored pencils. Thanks to her expert handling of the medium, she has layered the dry pigment so that it has the sheen and viscosity you’d expect from paint.
The vibrant series is a departure from Hendry’s typical style. Prior to starting Complimentary Colors, she worked exclusively in black and white, with subject matter depicting objects in pop culture—like a Chanel perfume bottle and Kayne West’s face on a $100 bill.
So, why the change? It was thanks to the fashion brand Christian Louboutin. They commissioned Hendry for an exhibition of the same name that appeared during Art Basel Hong Kong. To prepare the original pieces for the show was a meticulous process. It took anywhere from a “day or two” up to four weeks to complete one drawing, because of the effort that goes into creating a single hue. Hendry explained she used “12 different colors from black to brown to white. It [was] way harder than I thought.”
Artist Cj Hendry fools the eye with her hyperrealistic art.
Using colored pencils and a lot of patience, she perfectly recreates luscious blobs of oil paint.
Here’s Hendry in action, putting finishing touches on some silky pink paint.
All images via Cj Hendry.
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