Wax Bloom

S.G. Chipman's Drawing Blog

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Deja Vu!

March 9th, 2008 · 7 Comments

I was reading through the portraiture forum on Wetcanvas this afternoon when I encountered this thread, featuring this painting:

Oild Portrait by David Simons

Oil Study by David Simons

“Hmmm”, I said to myself, “why does this look familiar to me”?

It’s a really great oil painting by David Simons, but I knew I had seen it before. Not the painting – the subject.

And where did I see it, you ask? Why, at the 15th Annual CPSA International Exhibition just this past summer! Here, have a look the colored pencil version of the same subject, as seen in “To The Point”, the organization’s quarterly newsletter:

Colored pencil drawing entitled Island Man by Sherry Eid

As seen in To the Point

I know, right? What an incredible coincidence that BOTH of these artists went to the Bahamas and sat practically on top of one another to draw this guy! But wait…five more minutes of digging through the Wetcanvas Image Reference Library and we find….

The reference photo for both works.

The Reference Photo

So, yeah – I now see how serious a matter it is that folks work from their own photographs if they intend to enter that work into a competition. I remember being really blown away by this drawing when I saw it at the Strathmore, but to be honest – I feel kinda cheated now. It’s a technically masterful drawing, but it has no soul because theres nothing original about it. And now, at least one incredibly similar work exists by another artist. And, judging from the thread on the reference photo’s page, probably more, all clones of one another. Thats just ridiculous.

Sort of makes me wonder how many other drawings in that show were staggeringly well executed yet meaningless reproductions.

And to be perfectly clear, it’s Sherry Eid’s piece that beat out one-hundred and twenty-four other portrait and figure drawings to be one of the elite twenty-seven that were actually accepted into the show that I take issue with, not Mr. Simon’s one-hour oil study..

Tags: Thinking Out Loud

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maggie Stiefvater // Mar 9, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Yes! Yes, I went to the Strathmore show as well (you might have seen my piece — the pony with the crazy-colored hair) and I saw Sherry’s piece.

    To be fair, Sherry made some great color choices and her technique is sooo good . . . but it just made me disappointed that she wasn’t tackling composition and subject as well.

  • 2 vivien // Mar 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

    good research!

    and it sadly happens a lot and I really don’t like it.

    I personally prefer to work from life but occasionally work from my own photos.

    If you work from other people’s then not only can this sort of thing happen but you don’t have all the information, you didn’t see the subject in changing light, feel the wind blowing, hear the sounds and you become a human photocopying maching – a xerox

  • 3 Katherine // Mar 9, 2008 at 10:27 am

    All I can say is I applaud all the artists who create their own concepts, who work out their own designs and then execute them.

    I’ve absolutely no problems with images from copyright free libraries being used for educational purposes – but I draw the line when it comes to competitive exhibitions.

    I think it’s up to art societies to make very clear that use of photographs from such sources cannot be permitted for competitive exhibitions.

  • 4 Katherine // Mar 9, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Sorry – I forgot to say! I linked to this post on my blog today.

  • 5 Paulette // Mar 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I am with you on this, if you are going to the trouble of doing a beautiful and time consuming piece it ought to be your own work from start to finish.

  • 6 Nancy // Mar 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Yes, I agree about the ref photos. If you’re going to enter a competition, you really need to be using your own material!! I use quite a few stock photos, but it’s either just for me personally, for my portfolio, practice, or to use a part of the pic along with several other elements from elsewhere to create my own composition. I will only use my own ref photos for anything I enter into comps. For example, this year I plan on entering a portrait of a young girl with whom I had a photo shoot, so it’s my own ref pic.

    Thanks for commenting on my article posted in my blog concerning using reference photos!! Appreciate the comment!

  • 7 ninja // Mar 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    i saw this photograph before……i think that painting is not even worth anything
    and u shud draw some asian-ameicans……i need some reference so…

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