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Dover hearts- colouring


Here is another reason that inspired me to change medium. When the colouring craze began I did one picture to display in the store to help sell colouring books. I found, though, after a few pages like this I felt limited by heavy black lines. So I decided to transfer photos to paper and colour that way. A good drawing is the basis to a good painting... 

I did discover that many GOOD painters DO use reference photos, although there is some debate.

So that's the story.


© Gail Steel

From the album:

Color Your World- Gail

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I see some painters like to announce that their painting came "out of their head." Most painters I know use photos for reference, and ethically they should either use their own photos or have permission to use someone else's. I see a few artists freely use internet photos without stating source, except "internet photo," but I am uncomfortable with that. There is a website called Paint My Photo that is full of photo references for free use; attribution is requested. A lot of them are not good photography, but it's the job of the painter to make their own composition from the inspiration. My personal enjoyment is enhanced, and who knows why, when I know a painting was inspired by something real.

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31 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

I have had some professional artists/painters who have asked my permission to paint one of my photos. :)

If I haven't so I would like to do that now. I know I have considered it many times.

As far as mine go, I do save a lot from the web. However I tend not to save photos with names attached or if copyrighted. If someone comes to me and says, Hey, this is mine I will add the credit and/or remove it from where I have posted.

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Sometimes all it needs is enough tweaking, combining photos or themes, changing composition, to make it yours.

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I save a lot from the web, as well, for inspiration, and I do copy other artists' works for practice. I believe I pick up skills I need that way. I don't share the results online and will not be selling any of them.

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1 hour ago, LynnDel said:

I save a lot from the web, as well, for inspiration, and I do copy other artists' works for practice. I believe I pick up skills I need that way. I don't share the results online and will not be selling any of them.

I'm like you, do not sell any of them. I did give the red sunflower to my son, tho

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I understand that oil painters of the past copied the masters as part of their art training. There should be no problem with this, though sometimes I hear disparaging remarks about the practice. Even now, I see no problem with copying paintings for the practice -- and with sharing one's progress in the medium. I have attributed two recent inspirations to Lunapic, though Lunapic is a digital filter site. I don't want to take the credit for the idea when it didn't come from my brain! If I wonder if I tried to sell a painting inspired by Lunapic, could they successfully sue me?

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Another thing about the masters is that they had studios with a staff. They might let the students finish something they started and the masters were nearby to give instruction. What an opportunity!

I pick up some photos from a couple of sites. On one you pay for better resolution, or a larger size. I just use the cheapies for what I do. It's only for me and family...

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That reminds me of the Thomas Kincaide paintings, where he is said to have a large staff under his instruction, and he'd add a stroke or two of paint and sign it as an original Thomas Kincaide. Once that story came out, I understand his paintings went down in value.

I have a Canadian friend who is a fabulous photographer, and he said I can use any of his photos for inspiration, as long as my paintings don't look better than his photos.

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We were talking about getting inspiration from the work of others, and I thought I'd share notes from a talk I heard today. Note #3 about "stealing."

Seven habits of highly effective artists

1. Daily work - always trumps short sprints

A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules. - Anthony Trollope, Novelist

2. Volume, not perfection - Get on with your next work

Being a perfectionist undermines your growth. Final touches that make it perfect do not improve your skill, it just slows down your volume and your opportunity for real growth.

3. Steal - Find your idols, steal from them.

"The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." David Bowie

"Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." Steve Jobs

Good theft vs bad theft - from the book, Steal Like an Artist:


Good theft honors, bad theft degrades

Good theft studies bad theft skims

Good theft steals from many, bad theft steals from one

Good theft gives credit, bad theft plagiarizes

Good theft transforms, bad theft imitates

Good theft remixes, bad theft rips off

"If you have one person you're influenced by, everyone will say you're the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you're so original!" Gary Painter

Find art you truly love and learn from it.

4. Conscious Learning - It's not always fun, but it's the fastest way to improve.

Don't doodle around. Be conscious of what you are doing. "Practice makes perfect" has qualifications. Need conscious learning, not doing the same thing over and over without being aware of what is needed to progress.

5. Rest - Take a break and see your work with fresh eyes.

Steven King says to work no longer than three months on the first draft of a book. Then take a break for six weeks and not look at it. When you read it again, it's like you are reading someone else's work.

6. Get Feedback - It's worth it's weight in gold

Be sure those who give you feedback feel free to be completely honest with their opinions. Seek criticism and listen to it.

7. Create what you love - You'll make better work and stay motivated

Don't let other people tell you what you should and shouldn't do.


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Gregory Matthews


My comment applies to copyright law in the United states, which may vary in some ways from that of other countries although on some levels there are international agreements on copyright.

A copyright begins at the time one produces a literary or artistic work, regardless of whether or not that copyright was registered.

Such a copyright cannot be enforced in a court of law, prior to registration.

A failure of the owner of the copyright to register it, or to enforce the rights that a copyright grants may result in the owner of the copyright losing copyright protection and the work may be considered to hve passed into the public domain.

Under the law, a copyright is limited in time and after the passage of that time period, copyright protection is lost.

An exception to the above applies to The Book of Mormon.  Under U.S. law The Book of Mormon is not limited in time to copyright protection. 

In addition, under U.S. law there are other very specific exceptions to what are generally copyright protections.  As these may be complex, I will not go into them here.

One common misconception that people often have is that they may use the work of another if there is no commercial profit in their use of it.  That is false.  Commercial profit is not a condition of copyright protection, even if it may be considered in a computation of damagers.

Application of the law may be complex.  On two occasions I notified a SDA publishing  plant of thier artistic works being used by someone else.

In one case, of one work, I was correct and that was stopped.

The second case involved a national author who regularly used SDA artistic works to make fun of Christ and those who believed in Christ.  I was informed that he had not violated the law and he could not be prevented from doing so. The best that I was able to do was to get the local newspaper to stop printing his   works.



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