Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bard; Toning Down The Red

An email to my client did confirm that I'd gotten Bard a little too red. So, I let him dry a good long time and got back to work today.

My first attempt at correcting his color wasn't successful. Naples Yellow is too light. After wiping that off, I tried another mix of Yellow Ochre and Naples Yellow. I scumbled this mixture over his whole head and ears. It did tone down the red but also flattened the image, taking away some of the contrast, but since I need to paint another layer over this one to make some other corrections, that will be fixed later.

Then I decided that it would be best to scumble over the neck and shoulder with the redder mix so that the two areas would blend better. That worked out quite well, and now he no longer looks like a horse with a badly sunburned face! His color needs to be corrected further, and for that I think a trip to the barn, with canvas in hand, is in order. When I compare the painting to Bard "in the flesh", I will be better able to tell how to correct the color to get it to match more accurately.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Return of The Peppermint Kid

Now that the book work is again caught up, I'm getting back to work on Bard's portrait.

A few weeks ago, you may remember, that I painted the background in greens, blues and yellows. After living with it a while, I realized that the background color was too intense and was competing with the horse for attention. What to do?? Remembering that the way to dull down a color is to mix some of its opposite into it, I decided to use cadmium orange to do the job. The opposite of green on the color wheel is red, but I didn't want to turn the green any darker and thought that orange might be a good compromise. It worked like a charm! After painting Cad orange over the whole background, I took a rag and wiped off all but a very thin coating. Voila! The background was put in its place, and Bard was again the center of attention as he should be.

Yesterday I began the main layer of color on Bard and managed to finish his face except for his eye. Bard is a lighter sorrel than my horse, Scottie, and I tried not to get him too red since I knew that Scottie's color would be very much in my mind. Unfortunately, I think I did anyway. My husband had taken the laptop with him for the weekend, so I couldn't set it up next to the easel while I painted. Instead, I had to run back and forth between the big computer down the hall and the painting, looking for details and the correct color. Not the best of working situations by any means, so next time I'll print out a few of the photos to use at the easel if I don't have the laptop to use.

As usually happens to all us artists, today I can see several changes and corrections to be made, so after this layer of paint is dry enough, I'll go back and make all the corrections and make Bard's head less red by glazing some Naples Yellow over it. That should do the job.

In the meantime, you can see that his head now looks more substantial than the rest of him as the paint is built up. I'll move on to his neck and shoulder for now and hope I can match the two areas later.

Bard has been in the works for a very long time now, and I'm anxious to get him finished up and to his owner before another holiday rolls around.

On another subject, I cannot let this day go by without recalling that it was 19 years ago today that I bought Scottie, my second and most beloved horse. He was a dream come true and came along at just the right time in my life to help pull me out of a very dark time. I truly owe him my life, and he has brought untold happiness to me ever since.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Part III; Art Thieves Exposed!

Finally, we come to the last installment on copyright violators; the naming names part.

My encounters with art thieves have been varied.

The first happened a few years after I designed a logo for my husband's business. Amazingly, an unrelated business just down the road adopted the graphic portion of the logo and used it in promotional materials and a magazine ad for their business. The business and the magazine got a Cease and Desist letter from our attorney. No more ads appeared.

One of my images appeared on charms being sold on ebay. I submitted a Vero form.

A visitor at a horse expo told me that she had found another artist down in Ohio who had copied one of my images. Unfortunately she couldn't remember the artist's name.

A needlepoint dealer had taken one of my images (and one from an artist friend of mine) and turned it into a needlepoint pattern and was selling it. We notified her web host and then her. She removed it and promised to destroy the pattern. Amazingly, on her needlepoint blog, she makes a big deal out of not taking images without permission, so it's obvious that she knew better but didn't think she'd be caught.

Just last month, we found a website that was offering clip art horse images that included one of my images and another artist's. Before I could notify him, he removed my image and a few others. Obviously HE knew which images he didn't have the rights to.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto this artist's website who had copied one of my drawings. Notice that he even admits to having copied drawings from websites! As a musician, he should know better.

And, finally, there have been several encounters with kids. In the two cases below, they were exposed by others who recognized my artwork or recognized that the child had not done all that artwork herself. I figure that this negative exposure on the internet is a lesson learned that these kids won't forget. And, hopefully, it will wise up other kids to not do the same. Take a look;

Lauren Shelley Dreamer

Lauren Shelley Little Inspector

Youtube video Dreamer

You may wonder how we artists ever find our own work that's been stolen, given the vastness of the internet. Well, for one thing, the equine art community watches out for each other. Most of us are familiar with each other's work and notify each other if we find an image somewhere that we don't think it should be. We also have a formal online group that acts as a watchdog for equine artists and photographers, The Equine Arts Protection League. Many thieves have been exposed through member efforts, especially on ebay. I've also found several just by checking my stats and looking at the search results. The image search results are really helpful in turning up copies of my artwork, such as the pencilweb one above.

So far as I know, the Chinese haven't yet deemed any of my artwork attractive enough to copy. I don't know whether to be insulted by that or grateful. Grateful is probably the best choice for now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Part II; Who Are These Art Thieves?

The image above was stolen and sold as a needlepoint pattern.

Art thieves on the internet come in several varieties. They range from petty thievery to outright art fraud crooks. At the lower end of the scale are the kids who post our artwork on websites, sometimes claiming it as their own and sometimes just displaying it with no credit given to the artist. Unfortunately, some of the websites that they post it on, such as Webshots, allow visitors to order prints of any images they find on the website. Thus they are taking income away from artists who may very well be selling prints of that same image.

The next tier of art thief is the older artist who ought to know better who copies our art and presents it as his/her own original art. But by far the bigger threat to artists' livelihoods come from those enterprising web mavins who steal our images and offer them on products on their own websites - or offer prints of them. Usually, the copyright notice (which most of us are forced to place on our artwork) is carefully and skillfully removed to protect the guilty. When caught, they usually claim that they found the art on a free clip art site or got it from someone else who said it was okay to use. Yeah, Right.

I happen to know about one such particularly brazen individual who was so blatant in stealing artwork and so defiant toward artists when she was caught that she is now being prosecuted by the federal government for fraud, among other things.

Ebay has become both the boon and the bane of many artists. It has become a favorite outlet of the top tier of art thieves; the Chinese art factories. They copy the artwork of other artists in assembly line fashion, reproducing hundreds of copies of the same painting. Then these copies are sold in the United States as originals to Walmart and other discount stores and at those "starving artist" sales in your local community. The "artists" are paid starving wages, all right; by our standards at least.

If you've ever bought a painting at one of those sales, you now know that you didn't help to support a starving local artist; you helped to support the Chinese government!

Next I'll share with you some of my own encounters with art thieves young and old.

Part I; A Primer On Copyrights

Something we artists battle continuously on the internet is the problem of people taking our images and using them for their own purposes. There seems to be this widespread belief that if an image is on the internet, it's copyright free. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Amazingly, this belief is held by artists as well as non artists!

Let me spell out the most important facts for everyone to understand about copyright law.





If you don't know anything else about copyright law, know these four facts.

How do these facts translate into everyday living?

They mean that my artwork is protected by copyright from the moment that I make a mark on a sheet of paper or canvas. If you want to paste my painting onto your website to decorate it, you have to ask my permission. If you want to copy my drawing, you have to ask permission, and you cannot claim that your copy is your own original work of art. It is not; it is a copy. If you want to use one of my note cards to decoupage onto a wooden box, you have to ask permission. If you want to use one of my paintings on t shirts and sell them, you must ask for a licensing contract for the right to do so. I will rent to you the right to use that image on specific merchandise for a specific period of time, and in return you will pay me a royalty for the right to do so.

There is a fifth point about copyright that is important to remember.


See numbers one and two above. The only works of art that are not protected by copyright are those that have fallen into the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

There are also misconceptions about what is the PUBLIC DOMAIN. It is NOT artwork that contains no copyright notice or signature. It is NOT artwork that appears on the internet. It is NOT artwork and photos that you find displayed in Facebook or MySpace or on Webshots or Smugmug or any other photo display site.

Artwork in the PUBLIC DOMAIN is artwork whose copyrights have expired or whose copyright holders have released it into the PUBLIC DOMAIN. You can assume these days that a copyright has expired only after the artist has been dead for 70 years. That would mean that any artist who died after 1938 would still have valid copyrights held by his or her heirs.

And finally, one last point to remember which has to do with your own copyrights.


This means that all of your family photos that you post on the internet and all of your writings are also protected by copyright. No one else may use them or display them without your permission.

Be aware of your rights, and respect the rights of others. Ask permission!

Friday, September 5, 2008

More About Le Cadeau du Cheval

A few more words about the mural project, "Le Cadeau du Cheval" from Mural Mosaic.

A couple of the Equine Art Guild members who were able to attend the unveiling ceremony were kind enough to share their photos with the rest of us, and after seeing them, all I can say is "Awesome!". You really MUST spend some time looking at each of the panels. To do so, just click on the individual panel and you will be taken to a page where you can view that panel larger, see who painted it and read any story that the artist wrote about it. For instance mine is here.

I've posted an image above of the whole mural which may give you a better idea of its scope and what it's about. Thanks to artist, Twyla Wehnes for sharing this photo, and remember that it's protected by copyright and cannot be copied or used without permission.

Finally, I'd like to thank Phil and Lewis and Paul for inviting me to be a part of this incredible project. And also a thanks for the thrilling feature of my panel on Youtube.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Horse Gift Unveiled!

Well, this is it; the day that we've all been waiting for! Today the Mural Mosaic latest mural, The Horse Gift, is unveiled at the Spruce Meadows Masters.

You may recall that a few months ago, I was immersed in creating a panel for this grand project; one of many artists to be invited to create a panel. When put together, the panels form a large image of a galloping horse, while each panel is also a unique work of art celebrating the horse. There are some incredible works of art in this mural, so be sure to take the time to click on each one to see a larger version. Mine is located on the right opposite the horse's muzzle.

We've been told that prints and books will be available of the complete mural.

Although I've had grave misgivings about perhaps not having understood how to create the panel to fit into the mural whole, seeing it all together goes a long way to erase that fear. I am very proud to have been invited to participate as one "of the world's finest equine artists" and look forward to what grand events may ensue as a result. The touring schedule has still not been published, but it's very possible that this huge mural may come to a horse event near you. If it does, I urge you to see it in person for an unforgettable experience. I only hope that I can do the same.