View Full Version : Am I going in the right direction?

A Walk In The Park
08-20-2010, 06:57 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2010/226255-Ethels_flowers.jpgI am new to pastels, just started painting this summer. I have been learning from books and videos. After getting my feet wet by blatantly copying the Masters (McKinnley, Price and Secor), which I proudly posted on my personal blog, I was called on the carpet severely by a totally unknown folk artist for posting my practice pieces. Even though I stated in my post that the pieces in question were done from a tutorial for practice AND making sure everyone knew they were for learning purposes, not claiming them as my own, even contacting Ms. Price to gain permission to post my copy on my blog, I feel very reluctant to paint anything that isn't original.

With all this being said, I am combing through decades of snapshots to find things to paint. This painting, 16 x 20 is done on Wallis sanded paper. I started off with hard pastels, then soft pastels and am using pastel pencils to get some detail.

Since my background is in graphite and pen and ink, I tend to get bogged down in detail. Have I gone overboard on the brick? I see that the columns look a bit curvy, also. Should I try to fix these things, or just learn from them?

Kathryn Wilson
08-20-2010, 07:14 PM
It may be a bit of distortion from your camera, but get out that ruler we talked about in the other thread and see if it's straight or not. You've certainly done well on this piece with lots of angles and straight lines - much better than I could do!

I love the red geraniums

Paula Ford
08-20-2010, 07:29 PM
Hi Susan, Welcome to the Pastel Forum!! Your painting is very lovely!

What do you mean "I was called on the carpet severely..."?

A Walk In The Park
08-20-2010, 07:39 PM
When I said I was called on the carpet for posting a picture that I had copied, actually what this person said was that I was infringing on the copyright laws and even if I wasn't going to sell my work, I had no right to copy, even for learning purposes or as homage to the artist, any living artist's work. She had me pretty upset and my sister contacted Maggie Price to let her know what I had done and to make sure I wasn't going to get in legal trouble. Regarding the artist that scolded me, I think perhaps someone had done a painting similar to hers and sold it online and she felt compelled to avenge all living artists. By the way, it was NOT on this site, but on my personal blog.

08-20-2010, 09:39 PM
Nice work and Welcome! If you have permission from the copyright holder to use their work as a reference (photographer etc.) then you are perfectly in your rights to paint, display and even sell it. ... if you don't on the other hand...

Again Nice work and looking forward to more from you.

08-21-2010, 04:06 AM
WHAT A RIDICULOUS WOMAN! Doesn't she know that art schools take their students to art galleries specially to COPY works by great artists - ideally stroke by stroke - there is a name for this kind of activity which escapes me now, possibly it is called "transcription" (dont hold me to that) but it is a completely legitimate method of learning how to paint.


OF COURSE there would be copyright issues if you put your own name to those images, and tried to sell them - they would be forgeries then, if they were perfect copies!

Please ignore the silly woman. All she needed to do was warn you - nicely - that it is important, always, to ensure that everyone knows you were copying purely to learn, and that you never, ever sign your name to another person's work and try to sell it as your own. (Having said that, In fact, I believe it is OK even to sign it with your own name, provided you put the words "after Degas" (or whatever artist) before your signature. I am not convinced that a living artist would allow you to do this, however, and you would have to get their permission. )

As for your pic shown here...........whether you are going in the right direction or not depends entirely on what you want to achieve in your work.
If you want a very photographic, detailed look, then I would say you are going in the "right direction" to achieve that, your process simply needs lots of practice and refinement. But is this what you want? Given the people you have been using to copy, I wonder about this. If you want a photographic look I would not think you would gain a lot from copying McKinley, or Secor, since their works are not photographic, they are more painterly and somewhat impressionistic. You have to decide where your interests lie, and then you can move towards what you want to achieve eventually with a strong sense of purpose and direction.

Here is an example of the photographic, detailed style, a pastel by Andrew Hemingway:


here is an example of a more "painterly" image, apples again, quite different, a Cezanne:


You have to decide which one you aspire to - this will help you to know if you are headed in the right direction or not.