Have you done something original today? Even if you have, isn’t there a minute possibility that it has been done before? I can’t speak for every artist on the planet, but I can try to explain my creative process.
When I sit down in front of my easel, staring at a blank canvas, I feel pressure to produce a painting that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is original. I will look at that canvas for what seems like forever, searching my brain for an unprecedented notion that will reverberate through my body and seep out of the paintbrush I’m holding in my hand. Nothing comes to mind.
As I sit there, seemingly defeated, I go to gettyimages.com, shutterstock.com or istockphoto.com and I’ll look for the ‘Search’ field on their homepage and type in a keyword. Examples include words like ‘Life’, ‘Sex’, ‘Hope’, ‘Flame’, ‘Chemistry’, and ‘Yearning’, among others. Once I see the yielded results, I ultimately narrow my search down to the most captivating image and use it as a model of sorts to start my sketch.
Does the painting I produce end up looking exactly like the photo or illustration I based it on? No. But am I wrong for using it as a starting point in my creative process? Let’s push the issue even further—would I be wrong for displaying that artwork in a gallery and then selling it for profit? Quite honestly, there have been scads of paintings that I’ve done over the years, and most of the time my initial motivation behind creating them was that I didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for the original. So, I found it more cost effective to recreate some of my favorite paintings for my own personal pleasure. But then, I would change the color, composition or perspective of my painting—so I would then classify it as an original.
Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing original to say, because it’s all been said before. Even that previous sentence is a quote I’ve heard somewhere, but I’m not quite sure who said it. Wow, doesn’t that drive home the point of this post? Within today’s post you will see four different paintings that I’ve done through the years. I’m trying desperately to track down the original photos/paintings that inspired me to do these, but nevertheless, if I hadn’t TOLD you that these paintings were based off of someone else’s concept, would you have liked them any more or less? Your thoughts are welcomed.