View Full Version : Can I sell/publish a workshop painting?

02-19-2010, 02:03 PM
Hi all,

I'm wondering what the protocol is on selling or using a painting that I completed from a workshop. In my case it wouldn't be sold but could possibly be published. I'm not sure this is okay since it was not an original composition - however, since the instructor used it as an example composition I wonder if now it's a free for all?


02-19-2010, 03:14 PM
PS I'm 99% sure that the workshop painting wouldn't be used - I sent in a bunch of originals for review as well. I'm just curious for future reference, and if it's not okay I have no problem telling her that that particular piece can't be used.

Is it just bad taste to even offer it at all?

Thanks again.

02-19-2010, 03:36 PM
I can think of several reasons not to use a workshop painting for publication or competitions... here's two of them.

first of all, the instructor should be asked if they have any reason to object to using it in publication.

second and just as important, if it is published and other people who were in the class see it, they may let the publisher know it is not your original composition and it was done under instruction in a workshop. that would leave you in a bad spot with the publisher.

I know you didn't include this concern in your question, but competitions usually have a stated prohibition regarding work done under supervsion.

As for sales - sure, go ahead and sell it. Your clients don't have the same reasons for wanting your work that a publisher may have. I've yet to come across a client who cares one way or the other that the work may have been done under supervision.


02-19-2010, 09:49 PM
Thanks for the info Peggy! :)

02-20-2010, 11:26 AM
Peggy, you've got a good point. I buy art and if something I loved was done in a workshop, big deal, it's still the same painting and my reasons for loving it are personal. There's a big difference between publication and selling.

I think there might be a difference depending on what happened at the workshop, whether it was one where everyone did plein air together and did a different painting with critique from the teacher, or whether the teacher set up a project that was the same for everyone.

I've still got my projects from Charlie's class and one of them turned out to be a fantastic still life, but the project description was for each of us to choose several round objects and set up a still life. So no one else's painting from the class was anything like mine. I think that if I were selecting paintings to go into an article I might use it, but would credit Charlie's class and mention the context around it just so it was clear to the readers where it came from.

02-25-2010, 01:19 PM
Great points, thanks Robert and Peggy. I ended up using a reference photo from the gallery for the particular piece I have in mind for publication, so no worries this time. And good to know for the future.

02-26-2010, 05:38 PM
hi Kim:

I have taken workshops from an artist or two who feel that since they design the still-life setups and models and everything, it would be totally wrong to use that painting for anything other than learning in a workshop. In essence - it is their idea and only your execution of the idea. Also, if an instructor picks up a pastel and demos something to you on your painting, it is not really totally your painting. I try to think of workshops as opportunities for learning, and don't expect to produce work that I would sell or enter into a competition. If a painting turned out well and I wanted to frame it for myself, that would be entirely another matter.

Of course, I don't use anyone else's photos but my own for reference for anything that might be entered into a jury or show or for sale. It is a personal preference of mine to have experienced the situation, whatever it may be, prior to painting it as I find the remembering of the experience important to the painting process. Feelings and smells are remembered looking at the photo that are also interpreted into the painting. I know people share photos on WC for the reference library for practice painting, and have nothing whatsoever against that - I just personally wouldn't use one for anything but practice. Another personal preference.

Just an additional take on this situation in which we often find ourselves.


02-27-2010, 01:59 PM
I belong to a local art organization that has two shows per year and we have to sign a paper stating that the work was either done by us on the spot or from a photo we ourselves took. We can't say "I got permission from the photographer." It's really made me more strict about using only my own photos.

I was glad to see your comment, Peggy, about not showing works done under supervision. I recently saw a work that was done entirely under supervision win a high award. It bothered me a bit at the time but I'm glad to see that I had a little reason to be bothered. We weren't told our work shouldn't be shown if done under supervision, but it just didn't feel quite right.