Collage, Creativity, and Copyright

An entire classroom of people bent over their artwork today, placing painted pieces of paper onto an underpainting in the technique we learned from Elizabeth St. Hilare Nelson. Using the paper we painted yesterday, we tore, shredded, and ripped pieces no bigger than a quarter and glued them onto the underpainting. At points in the day, my fingers were numb, coated with glue from pressing the work flat. At other times, my shoulders cramped from the concentration of bending over the work.

And at the end of the day, here’s the apple. Everything you see is paper glued onto a canvas board. No underpainting is showing.

I have a few corrections to fiddle with tomorrow morning. I want to extend the shadow under the apple just slightly on the right side tucking it under a bit more. And on the wall behind the apple, in the upper right-hand corner, there’s a bit too much unbroken blue–a piece too big. It needs to have a smaller piece placed on it to make the blue look more like a part of the rest of the wall.

appleThe parts I like are the words hidden in the collage and the gold threads defining the curve of the apple.  Sheets from my journal went into the work, as well as stamped words, done for pattern. That is going to become the way I make this technique mine–adding texture through words and letters. Tomorrow–on to the more difficult koi image.

While I was thinking of putting this piece on my blog, I was thinking of copyright again. With artists showing their work on the web, and more people caring about speed and less about giving credit and accuracy, it’s hard to own your own artwork and writing.

On one hand, most artists and writers don’t want to be so private that none of their work is seen. On the other hand, no artist or writer wants to see their work claimed by someone else. Not much better is seeing your work on Pinterest or on another blog with no link back to your website or blog. Mash-ups and sampling are popular, giving credit and linking back, not so much.

Copyright won’t protect you from theft, and it’s often hard to find the person responsible for a blog in order to contact them and ask them to give you credit or remove your work.

The DIY Doyenne has an excellent blog on the matter. Margot Potter, better known as Madge has some great ideas. KevinandAmanda will help you discover if your photos are being used on other blogs.  If you are searching for the original source so you can give credit (thank you!), you can use the tips from The Graphics Fairy.

To protect your work with a watermark, Madge suggests using the easy directions at Picmarkr or Stipple. And after passing on all that great information on Madge’s blog, I should mention that Madge has a pdf book out called The Fine Art of Shamelss Self-Promotion. Because unless we promote our own work, it’s a slim chance anyone else will.

Quinn McDonald may never get all the glue off her fingers.