Friday, February 13, 2009


This piece is a work in progress (WIP). It was inspired by many different things, many different artists, and includes a number of different techniques.
I will not be "crediting" anyone with anything.

None of us can be sure of what sparks an idea when we are expressing something through our artwork.
If we have to pay attention to when, where and how we came up with the ideas it only serves to hamper our creative expression.

I recently posted some artwork I had done and credited a good friend with sparking the idea for the project. It was something simple and fairly basic she had shown me.

Another friend thought it was very similar to something she had done in the past. Her feelings were hurt.
I never connected the two projects.
I was just trying to be polite and conform to the current netiquette for this sort of thing.

Second friend expressed her hurt feelings on her blog. First friend was shocked to find that she was being accused of stealing an idea- even though she had never claimed credit for anything. I was the one who named her as showing me the technique.

So my reward for trying to do the right thing and saying who gave me an idea just ended up with my hurting two people that I love and admire.

I'm not going to do that again.

I think we, as artists who post work on the web, in public forums, need to get away from all of this. It hurts the whole community. It generates more bad feelings than it does positive sharing and support.

Ideas don't belong to anyone in a legal sense. If no one shared ideas we would all be working in a sterile void.
I don't think this is what anyone wants.

If this contentious atmosphere prevails I think we will see less and less of people posting anything new or innovative.
Either through fear of being "copied" or through fear of being accused of copying.

It doesn't matter who came up with a technique or who made it popular.
What matters is what YOU do with the technique.

Your work is your own- no matter who inspired you.

This isn't supposed to be about techniques. It should be about how we express ourselves through our art.

My artwork will stand on its own merits.
If you think I copied something from you- feel proud that you contributed by helping another artist find their way on their own path.

If you take something away from what I show and use it in your own artwork. YAY!! That has been my whole point in posting stuff to this blog in the first place. Please do not feel any need to give me credit for your artwork.
Your artwork is your own. I neither deserve, nor want, any credit for it.


Annie said...

I agree with everything you say Zeb. I know that all sorts of things spark my ideas, and I have no thought of where they come from, where I read it, saw it or was shown it LOL Often I do something and then maybe realise where I'd heard it, but not always!
Please don't stop posting your work, you are one of my inspirations, along with lots of other great artists.


Joanna Mackintosh said...

Well said Zeb. I totally agree with all you said there.

I am in the process of doing my own blog - a lot of stuff on there will look like 'copies' of work I've seen on the web but, they *are* my work, produced at my hands and therefore unique to me with a nod to others.

The written word doesn't allow our true emotions to be seen and can cause a lot of upset if taken the wrong way, as you are obviously aware. Maybe we all need to lighten up and just enjoy our art - surely if we put it out there for all the world to see then we surely hope that others will be inspired and should enjoy the fact that we are able to do so.

Craftgirl said...

Well said.

Mar said...

i was mulling over these same thoughts just last night!
how similar some of my work looks to some of the other artists i visit on line
i won't put some of my work on my blog because i don't want some one thinking i copied theirs
when i didn't
everything looks similar for the techniques that are being experimented with
passed along to try
and so it all looks great
but similar
so i put up glass one else in the circle of bloggsters i keep
does glass
so i am fairly safe for the moment
but it is true
if we are doing our own work how can we know where that inspiration comes from
inspiration is not the same as direct copy...
there is no answer
but i like your blog
i like your bottles too

Chaotic said...

1) dont apologize for speaking your mind
2) it's YOUR blog...say what you will
3) I wholeheartedly agree with your view...

I will see something and I can use that...
not "I can COPY that" but USE it as an espression, a technique
what *I* do with a technique/idea/etc is what makes it MINE
if you do the SAME technique, it is YOURS because your energy created that piece
I am sorry about the rather narrow-minded (IMO) view of friend #2
and, I think something important was learned by you in the process
YOUR work is awesome, and regardless of what sparks you... it is YOUR WORK


CindyLouMe said...

Zeb - I agree with you and Joanna. People get offended by things we write on the very impersonal internet. They add inflection or meaning that was not intended. Sometimes when one like me who flips between a very dry sense of humor and a silly one gets misuninterpreted*!
I'm excited about how your WIP looks so far and can't wait to see how it winds up.

*I did not make that word up. I'm quoting a forgotten, but appreciated language mangler.

peggy gatto said...


love your WIP!

Anonymous said...

Amen - to what you said & what the others leaving comments have said! If someone wants their art to be unique, their own, then they need to hide it in a cave - keep it totally to themselves. Heaven forbid someone be inspired to create from someone else's starting place!
Please continue to do as you do, Zeb - let those who want to stir things up go play by themselves...

sandyh said...

kudos to you, zeb! i agree heartily with all you've said!

Doreen G said...

I agree also with what you have written--techniques are passed on and changed in the process -how else are we all to learn anything.
I may be wrong but I thought that you couldn't copyright techniques only designs.

mary schweitzer said...

Bravo! Well said! I can't remember where I'ves seen every little thing. I never know what is going to flip my creative switch. I don't want to have to be worrying about all that.
I just want to create.

mary schweitzer said...
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mary schweitzer said...
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Zeborah Loray said...

Not sure how Mary's comment got posted three times- but I removed the extras. LOL

It is heartening to hear such a positive response to this.
My thanks to everyone.

liannallama said...

oh, (((HUGS))) to you! Your piece is beautiful!

rosebudinnh said...

Hip hip horray!!!!! Well said!! hugs Rose

torre said...

I also am inspired by such a talented artist like yourself, and agree that you make it your own (all artist get ideas from what the see and create it to be a part of themselves)! Don't Stop!

Anonymous said...

Here, here!! I totally agree with your point which took some courage to express very pointedly and expertly. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said! Thanks for sharing your opinion with us.

Nona Parry said...

Go Zeb! VERY well expressed!

Another Loock Creations said...

Important words Zeb!! I had to post a link on my own blog!

Max said...

A technique is just that! It is meant to be used otherwise don't post it on the net - a public forum! Also, just like any scientific discovery there is a convergence of ideas that seem to happen at close to the same times (e.g. the atomic bomb). Same thing happens with techniques. It's like - snap! - I think I'll do that and a new technique is born.

Donna said...

Amen, well said. I think we've all gotten too thin skinned and territorial. I see so many things on-line and in books I have no idea where ideas come from and a technique is just that!

Chris said...

Nicely said, Zeb - and GREAT work in progress!
Chris in OlyWA

Kathy L said...

Nicely said...I often give credit for my inspiration with the thought that other artisits might understand where I was coming from. I do think though, it is not necessary. Artists over the centuries "borrowed" from their peers. You don't see anyone criticizing Picasso for being influenced by Matisse or Gauguin. I am not sure how we evolved to this state.

Robin said...

Well said, Zeb!

Kim said...

Poor Zeb , I'm sorry to hear you got caught in the middle on this one. I've got a long windy theory of mine own on the subject that I won't bore you with - but you can't and shouldn't take responsibility for everyones reactions and feelings. take care ,

AK Stamper said...

I could'nt of said it any better!

Hugs Shell

Kim said...

Dittos to your comments, I teach techniques... I WANT others to be inspired and use the techniques! And I love the start of this piece too!

Sherry Goodloe said...

AMEN! This post was just soooo timely for me this morning. I just did a post last night on my blog about some dolls I'm trying my hands at.

Throughout my post I kept referencing the book, the technique, the artist. I did this because I've read posts like yours here, and wanted everyone that saw what I was doing to know it was "ok".

I've had people leave comments before like "oh, yeah, I saw that on tv awhile back" or "so and so makes those". I usually respond with "isn't it just wonderful that we can all learn from each other?!"

Fiona Whitehead said...

I agree with you too - how can we ever know what exactly sparks our imagination and whether it is something we created entirely by ourselves or it was something triggered by someone else's work. If its a direct copy then that's easy but we are all influenced, in some way, by others. What a shame your friend took offence.

Dawn said...

Zeb you are so right in what you say in this post...I see stuff all the the time in blogland and so a piece or technique could be in my mind and subconciously get included in my art... if you don't want this to happen then don't post!