Mother and Child
30" x 36" Oil on Linen
Besides the head size factor in the post below, here's another example of messing around with "reality". I had to use an example from my own work this time. (Sorry, I do not have a better photo of this painting).
The mother is a very petite woman. And her baby - based on my photographic reference - appeared to be much too large (in proportion to her) - a fact that only became apparent to me as I began to work out my drawing prior to painting.
I had to really "shrunk" the baby in this painting in order to make him "look real." Had I painted his size accurately (as in the photo) in relation to his mother's size, he would have looked very large and unreal.
I always try to paint to an archetype, i.e., "babies and children are small."
In a painting, "When it looks right - it is right."
When people claim that an artist should never use a photograph to paint from - I think that they may have little understanding of what must be done in order to translate a photographic reference into a painting.
Photos are good as photos - but an artist really cannot be expected to copy a photo exactly in order to make a good painting. It takes knowledge and skill (and a little trickery) to translate a visual image into something that looks "real."