"Sydney Harbor National Park"
9x12 acrylic on canvas
Available through DPW gallery/auction
This painting is for this months VPO which is visiting New South Wales. The location I chose here exists on an island just outside of Sydney called Clarks Island. The original Google map view can be seen here.
I love to paint trees - they are so intriguing with their bark textures & sprawling roots. And I loved the backdrop of Sydney in the distance.
A recent "conversation" that took place in the Facebook group I am in called "Photos for Artists" concerned the "originality" of a painting. This Facebook group is a large group of Photographers and Artists, and as it's name indicates, the photographers are uploading their images with permission for the artists to paint from. Artists can interpret or be inspired by the photos - the art they create they are free to post & sell. The one rule is to give credit to the photographer whose photo you used as reference.
The "conversation" happened when one artist pointed out, as a heads-up to other artists, that the paintings done from these photos may not be admissible in some juried art shows/contests. Needless to say, this caused quite an uproar and I'm not sure it was ever fully resolved. Some artists interpret "free to use" to mean they can use it anywhere. Other's felt the poor artist giving the heads-up was all wrong. And others (like myself) knew this was true, that paintings done from someone else's photos can not be deemed "original." Even with permission from the photographer.
It's up to each show or contest to post their rules, and many (most) that I've been looking into of late, do state "Originals" in their prospectus. No matter how you slice it (or yea-but it as I call it), if you give credit to someone else then it is not your original image. It is your original painting. Even if you paint it abstract, and it's barely recognizable - if you give credit to a photographer, then it is not an Original in the eyes of most judges. Of course you can withhold credit to someone else, but that is deceiving and in some ways, a theft.
This entire episode had me thinking of my own work of late. I went back through my database of the art I've been creating in the last 5 years. More than 1/2 of it I could not call "original!" And this seriously limits what I can honestly enter into shows or contests. Since juried shows was on the top of my to-do list for 2016, I have a conflict. But, it is one I can correct.
Much of my "originals" are from my earlier years of painting, when I used my own photos or outdoor scenery to paint from. But the internet does open up so many more avenues for images - not an entirely bad thing.
So I plan to start using my own references more. Of course, that can't be done very will when doing commissions. And some challenges, such as this Google monthly challenge, I do not plan on giving up. But my daily paintings, my scenery - I have many photos that I can utilize without having to borrow another person's image. And I should get back out there to photograph more references for myself as well.
Funny how you can travel down a road and not even realize you are on it! And funny also how 1 simple thing can point out the fact that you are not on the road you intended to be on!