Creating convincingly photorealistic paintings is challenging in its own right, but artist Craig Tracy's work adds another level of difficulty. The image below features a close-up of a snow leopard's face in stunning detail, but the painting requires a living canvas. In fact, the center of this majestic creature's face has been painted on a model's back.

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According to his website, the majority of Tracy's images are produced without photo manipulation in post-production. Rather, he painstakingly paints a backdrop, positions the model against (or in this case, through) the backdrop, then uses the model's skin as a canvas to fill in the gaps. The model and backdrop are photographed together to form a composite. Despite his use of photography in his craft, Tracy writes, "I consider all my work to be paintings, even when referencing the photographic or printed images of my work."

Scroll down to see the full image of this stunning piece, titled "Butterfly."

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Though the name may seem odd given the subject matter, "Butterfly" accurately describes the way in which the model was posed. Still not convinced this is an example of body painting? Here are some behind-the-scenes images:

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Don't forget to SHARE Tracy's amazing work with your friends!