Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Latest Painting And A Note About Artistic License

Here is my latest painting. It's a smallish, 16"x12" oil on linen. No title as of yet.

And, here is the reference photo I used for the bear.

The reason I'm posting these is because I'd like to point out the importance of taking artistic license when painting representational subjects...

I observed the bear in this painting for many hours over the course of a week in Jackson Hole, WY. He was a great example of a cinnamon-colored black bear. But, you may notice that in the reference photo I used for this painting, the bear's head appears extremely small — especially for his body. This wasn't due to photographic distortion, he just had a head that looked disproportionately small when compared with the rest of his body. So, I took artistic license and made his head much larger in the painting (among other things) because painting it as it actually was would have appeared strange, even distracting to me. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered anyone else, but it bugged me. So I changed it.

My point being, don't be afraid to alter reality if it means making a better painting. Because a good painting is always the top priority, and not necessarily anatomical accuracy (at least in this case).


  1. Don't let painting big heads out of small heads give you a big head.

  2. I had my artistic license revoked for be a very bad artist. :( Sometimes I still create art illegally though. ; p