Friday, February 17, 2012

Copyright issues when painting from a demo

:-) Hi Susie Happened upon your site as I was looking for sea scapes/waves breaking, I,m a beginner In art, I was enthralled by your easy demo of waves, may I ask you the gram weight of the water colour paper you use, as well as to ask if I follow your patterns and instructions and do a painting, I see it is copy right, does that mean I am not allowed to show the finished article at a art gallery, and put my name on the finished painting? obviously I will change as much as I can to make it look different, I would not like to do anything illegal, waiting in anticipation for your answer.   YVONNE

Hello Yvonne,
Thanks for writing. I like to use Arches brand watercolor paper for most of my work and for the waves I use 140# Cold Pressed paper or 140# Rough watercolor paper.
The copyright applies to my rights concerning the instructional content, protecting my instructions from being used my another for monetary gain. As with most patterns and reference material used for instructions you are welcome to paint from it and sign it with your name. Some instructors recommend if you work from their patterns or painting examples you sign the your painting as a study. Example: Your Signature, Study of Making Waves by Susie Short.
I’m not that strict. Understand that many other students will be painting from the same resources so your painting will not be as unique as it would if you were working from your own resources.
  • As for showing or displaying the study…Let your conscience be your guide. You will know how much is “copied” and how much is original or adjusted by you to make it your own work.
  • Displaying the study in a group or personal show is acceptable as long as it is identified as a study.
  • I do not think a study qualifies as an entry in a juried competition.
  • It is ok to give a study as a gift.
  • It is not against any “rules” to sell a study as long as you are not misrepresenting it as an original work. Art work for sale in most art galleries is presumed to be original work created by the signing artist. It’s not worth the risk of ruining your reputation or relationship with a gallery to display a work that might be questioned at a later date.
  • It is not ok to make reproductions of a study for personal profit.
I hope this information is useful and answers some of your questions. I’m not a lawyer so please do not consider my opinions to be legal advice.

Happy Painting!!!

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