When is painting from a photograph a copyright infringement?

South Texas Watercolor Artist

Today, I was asked during my Zoom workshop if I could actually ‘sell’ paintings that I took from free, stock photos.

Many artists paint from stock photos. I paint from a number of free photo sites to get inspiration on subjects, particularly animals such as dogs. I do a lot of dog paintings, most are commissions, but a few are sketch paintings that I do sell from free photo websites. Many of these paintings are smaller paintings from my sketchbook. All of my paintings outside my sketchbook that I would not consider “sketch paintings” are made from my own photos.

Ideally, you want to take your own photographs if you plan to sell presentable art or enter art contests.

I had to think about the question of ‘selling’ work from free photos. In my opinion there is a distinct line as to when you can paint and sell work in…

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