Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Copying someone else's art (again) . . .

In a previous post, I talked about copying someone else's art, not the whole work, just the structure, and how you can make something completely different, but the "bones" of the piece were inspired by the original.

Let me show you another example, which is, indeed, a blatant copy of someone else's work.

Rich and CJ had (maybe they still have) a painting hanging in their house which I've always liked. The top photo here shows you what it looks like.

I took a cellphone shot of the painting and then, purposely, tried to replicate that painting in the computer. It's slightly different, but who am I fooling? It's a copy. I would never offer it for sale. It was a fun exercise for me and I like the result. But it's still a copy.

What making that copy led to, however, is something quite different. I used the forms and the colors to make a photomontage called "Science." The photomontage was even more fun to do and I consider it my own work.

What copying the painting did give me was a lovely palette of colors to work with. On my own, I doubt I would have put those colors together, especially the green and the slightly purplish-blue.

So yes, the colors and the forms in "Science" are the result of my copying Rich and CJ's original painting, but what I created in this case bears no resemblance to the original. I had no attack of conscience when I uploaded it to Fine Art America, and no attack of conscience when it sold.

An aside: I admire a Vermont artist by the name of Jane Davies. She posts video tutorials all the time of her work and how she creates it. I followed one of her videos, made eighteen images using her colors, her technique, and liked them. I then uploaded them to Fine Art America for sale. It bothered me a little when I did it. And it bothered me the entire time they were up. I took them all down last week and feel much better. I'm just happy they didn't sell!

Bottom line? Copying someone else's work is an exercise that encourages you to expand in your own art, whether you're a photographer, painter, quilter, collage artist, etc.

By playing with someone else's compositions, color palettes, techniques, you will gradually move away from their style and (hopefully) create your own look, your own style, your own way of expressing yourself through whatever medium you choose.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!