Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sweets: Jelly Bean Masterpieces

Jelly Belly officially hired painter and illustrator Kristen Cumings to produce several works of art to add to their collection entitled Jelly Belly Masterpieces of Confectionary Art. The California-based painter takes between 50 to 60 hours to complete each life-size painting using approximately 9,000 to 12,000 jelly beans each. The enormous 4 x 6 feet murals each depict classic masterpieces, including Vincent can Gogh's The Starry Night to Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

She starts the artistic process by looking at a close up of the reference photo, and then visualizes where each colored jelly bean has to go. She then paints an acrylic version of the photo on a blank canvas, and once that dries, she begins applying the small beans and tries to match the colors as best she can. The painter/illustrator uses spray adhesive to make sure the jelly beans stick, and usually likes to start her artworks by recreating the main features, like the eyes and nose. Then she just starts applying the other jelly beans from the bottom up until the piece is completed.

Cumings' process involves spray adhesives to initially stick the beans to the canvas and then coating the finished product in acrylic for protection. The intricate detail and blend of colors in each piece is brilliantly executed. Cumings is clearly an expert at work. Her keen eye has an unmatched grasp of jelly bean color configuration that adds shade, tone, and definition impeccably. It's hard to believe that she not only manages to recreate these works but has done so in front of a live audience.

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