Hello everybody!  Recently I have done a few posts on how to be your own best original.  Here is another illustration (ha!) of what I mean.  I fell in love with the image below, in fact the whole article.  It was featured in the now nonexistent (sad!) Blueprint Magazine and ran under the title Small Wonder.  Thomas Loof took the photos, Sarah Humphreys wrote the text, and if I remember correctly, owned the apartment.  Anyway, I fell lin love with the painting in this photo!  I couldn’t figure out how to get/pay for one of my own, so I decided to try my hand at it.  I think the original is better, but at least I satisfied my craving.  I didn’t give up, and I got some painting practice.

I tried to make the painting look different, ie: I swapped the location of the tree.  I was kind of hoping that changing the composition and lending my own hand would make this my own painting, but it did not.  I should have realized this at the time, but the first reason is because I was looking at the picture while I was painting.  The second reason is that it doesn’t look different enough.  It doesn’t look like something I would have come up with on my own, and it doesn’t look like a scene I would have just stumbled across and taken a photo of in order to paint.  It looks like a knock-off of the original, because it is!  It is my own private painting, but not one that I would make prints of and sell.

I  am sure there are copyright rules out there that deal with more ‘shades of gray’ but I think a good moral compass and perhaps having something of yours ripped off one day (not that I would wish that on anyone!) can help clarify things more than anything.  I close with a sad story.  An artist friend told me about how a former high school chum found out that he’d been painting.  She asked if he would be interested in helping create an image having to do with an upcoming high school reunion.  Not only did she love the image, she ran it, without asking, onto dozens of T-shirts and proceeded to sell them for the high school reunion.  I know that the artist did not see one cent of the profits.  Pooh!  Sometimes it’s friends who step on your boundaries because they want you to do something for them as a friend.  I am not the queen of boundaries, but everything I’ve heard on this subject says to keep business and friendship separate.

I have not been unfortunate enough to have anything ripped off (that I know of).  But after a few uncomfortable situations I’ve been in where I feel my boundaries pushed, I realize it is due in part to the fact that I haven’t decided ahead of time what those boundaries will be.  Next time I can be ready with a gracious reply!