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Thread: Ethics

  1. #1
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    Ethics

    How do you feel about useing a photo to lay in traceing image lines (traceing image) and then useing it to pick off colors (reference image) in order to create an image that I don't feel I could have pulled out of my brain? I'm refering to my image in the gallery called "Venice".

  2. #2
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    I have no problem with it if you are practicing or just painting for fun.

    If you are doing it commercially, then you probably need to hide your source by changing it around. Done all the time, especially by illustrators.

    I mean there are times when somebody wants a painting of Abraham Lincoln or something, or they want the Taj Mahal, St. Peter's in Rome, and some Buddhist temple in Tibet. Or even pics taken from the Hubble Space telescope. What are you going to do? The reality is that you will use existing photos.

    That's one of the advantages of having a style. It automatically puts your spin on an image.

    If you're the one who's work is being copied, I'm sure they'll take a stronger position on it.

    Also, people who are learning copy things all the time -- to learn. And who can say how long that will take, But it's usually out of the commercial market.

    But I think it's a good idea to get into the habit of making your work unique. Otherwise you're just a wrist. And you're a slave to other people's reference.

  3. #3
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    I watched the PBS presentation of "Simon Schama's Power of Art" today. It happened to be about Jean-Louis David. I noticed that in one of his uncompleted works he was working from a sketch. And I also know that many of the "masters" started by reproducing extant masterpieces as part of their training. It seems to me ... not to answer my own question ... that it's the final product that matters. We all have eyes, we all have brains. A person blind from birth can't be expected to paint a portrait. But how much of a stretch is it from using a live model to using a photo? So, yeah. Were pretty much in agreement I suppose. I make no bones about the fact that I'm a learner.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    There is a lot of difference between how the eye/brain system sees and how the camera registers the same image. So if you are copying a photograph directly, you are essentially making a painting of the photo, not of the scene. If you lift colors off a photo, you will get results akin to a photo.

    I generally can detect such "cheating" most of the time. Photos have perspective, color and tonal peculiarities that scream "copied photo" at me. It takes a ton of skill to look at a photo and still infer what the scene would have looked like to the eye. Most people who do have such skill don't need to copy and won't bother unless pressed for time.

    It all winds up to the purpose, in the end. If you have to do an illustration on a deadline, a photo can be a time saver. If you want to record a particular scene to paint it later, photographing it can be a good supplement to sketching. But, for instance, copying another photographer's work will get you in trouble if you publish it - it fringes on or is a copyright violation. And given that if you copy a photo, you essentially surrender most of your creative freedom to it - lighting, color, composition, perspective - what is left to you? It's rather pointless to copy if you can avoid copying.

    (Copying the old master paintings as part of the training has little to do with getting an image. It is about practicing technique and brushwork. You cannot do it from a photo or a reproduction; you need to see the actual canvas to duplicate the brushwork. Without that, copying is mostly a waste of time better spent on life drawing.)

  5. #5
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    Good points.

    @ Bob, as to David and artists at the time copying the masters. those were the only imaged available. Photography hadn't been invented.

    But there were in existence tricks for copying like the camera obscura (sp?) and the grid. Some used them most probably didn't because after a point you don't need it.

    But the arguments about using grids as being cheats existed from the time it began being used. People will argue about virtually everything. But it comes down to who you listen to and what you personally end up adopting as a working method.

    I'm going to digress here a little.

    I'm familiar with what arenhaus is talking about and I agree. It's a joyous way to go. There's something really visceral and clear about that direction.
    It will however also be a very old school experience, removed from the computer unless you can come to grips with looking between the luminosity of a laptop monitor and a model or landscape setup with a normal lighting situation.

    Anyway, if you haven't ever worked from models or done landscape painting or drawing in the field, you have to try it. There is no substitute for the connection you can get, the infinite choices, the ability to move for a different angle, the smells, the personality of the model, the directions you can give and so forth.

    But one can be successful any number of ways. It very much matters though what's in your aesthetic sensibility and how that is developed. Those sensibilities often develop out of our working methods because one thing leads to another and so on.

  6. #6
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    Well, here's the same image done from memory of the photo and the memory of doing it once before. Needs some polishing I know but this took 4 hours so I'm not gonna work on it any more tonight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
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    Jun 2007
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    Vevey, Switzerland
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    I like the version from your brain much more than the "copied" one - you have such a nice style ... I think you really don't need to trace ... not that I'm against tracing at all ... but i think tracing is more the try really new things and to "relax" ... in my opinion you simply not need to do ... brilliant nice work!

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