I was buzzing when I came up with this idea, I think it will be one of my best Christmas cards!
Yes, I know it’s only July!!
Need a new range ready for September though, only 6 weeks away!
First one, one of the liver birds, being painted on 12×9″ canvas…
Inspired by his passion and leadership during the Euro 2020 tournament, this 18×24″ painting will be a tribute to Andy Robertson
Having spoken to a friend who is an amazing wildlife photographer, she has given her permission for me to paint some of her images (in return for a small percentage of each sale). I finally feel like I am doing something pure and something that rewards the creativity of both me as the painter and also Bex as the original photographer.
Chester Zoo lion
This week has been a bit of an eye-opener and not really in a good way, to be honest.
I’ve been preparing for a big push, getting my greeting card range in numerous post offices/independent retailers in Liverpool and beyond. Before beginning this campaign, I did my due diligence and researched a little deeper into “intellectual property law”, which is a subject that has cropped up a couple of times with my printmaker over the years – we were always under the impression that if no logos or trademarks were painted (the Liverpool FC badge, for instance), then the work was entirely mine and not in breach of any UK IP laws.
It’s accepted that in the US and some European countries there are such things as “image rights”, where it is forbidden to paint/draw/recreate anyone’s image to re-sell without their consent, so I knew by selling globally on Etsy that I might have some issues – four times in five years I’ve had listings taken down by Etsy, which is fair enough. After the fourth occasion, I decided to change the settings and only sell to the UK for a while, thus avoiding any law-breaking or breach of intellectual property rights… or so I thought!
Having spent a few days researching UK law regarding IP, it has become shockingly apparent that the career and business I have been building up from nothing over the past eight years has been regularly breaching these IP laws in a couple of ways:
1. TV & film scenes/characters – apparently recreating such things in a painting (classed as a “derivative”) is infringing on somebody else’s creation (I always thought it would be seen as free advertising for their product). You need permission from the film/TV production company, which is almost impossible to get for small-time businesses & individuals.
2. Iconic people – painting a famous person, as opposed to their character, is fine (in the UK) but only if the photograph you are working from was taken by yourself, or you have permission from the photographer or their representatives (if deceased) – again, difficult to obtain. Of course, artists base their work on other people’s photographs all the time, but often create their own interpretation of the image which lessens the likelihood of any IP infringement.
I, unfortunately, specialise in creating accurate likenesses of the images I work from so, if by some stroke of luck I could get a response from a TV company/photographer etc, the commission they would surely demand in allowing me to reproduce their “creation” would severely impact any meagre profits being made currently.
Having said this, IP is still a bit of a grey area – aside from those four listings on ETSY (a US-based marketplace), I’ve never had any “cease and desist” instructions for any of my work on sale in shops or at markets etc. And I’m certain not every piece I have created is in breach of these IP laws – a lot of it is down to personal interpretation. In that respect, I will continue to sell the full range of greeting cards I have created until legally instructed to do otherwise, on a case by base basis.
From here on in, however, I will no longer be creating new paintings/greeting cards featuring “iconic” people, TV & film scenes/characters, musicians or sports people (unless permission is obtained from the relevant parties).
It looks like it’s time to stand on my own two feet and begin painting/creating my own designs from scratch. Daunting!
Series 3 of this brilliantly funny series should be out this year so just getting the portrait of main actor Joseph Gilgun done now in plenty of time. On 12×9″ canvas as usual
Following the roaring success of the ‘Line of Duty’ cards, I’m tackling another long-running BBC series. ‘Call The Midwife’ is now up to series 10, with 3 more series already commissioned.
This painting is on a 12×9″ canvas and will be used for birthday cards and possibly “new baby’ cards (more appropriate)
Getting into a nice creative flow now. This one is being painted on a 12×9″ stretched canvas, same as all the previous Liverpool FC personnel I painted in the run up to Christmas…
To coincide with the long-awaited return of ‘Line of Duty’ on 21st March, I’ll be painting “Ted Hastings”, “Steve Arnott” & “Kate Fleming” solely for the purposes of a new birthday card design (to be ready for 21st March ideally)
2020, the year that never was, is over! Yes, we are still in the midst of uncertainty with very limited freedoms but a new year always brings a fresh perspective and optimism. On a personal level, the events of 2020 forced me to be more honest with myself regarding the sustainability of this business, having to give up my little shop unit within a popular indoor Liverpool market being the inevitable outcome in November.
However, with the world being locked up, it meant my internet sales leading up to Christmas were 4-5 times that of 2019, which softened the blow of losing the shop unit.
Another aspect I was forced to admit was that painting itself has become an unenjoyable chore to me, besides one or two commissions which were great to tackle. So, this early part of 2021 will involve much soul-searching, revaluation and decision-making before I even consider putting paint on canvas again. Nothing worse than simply “going through the motions” – I want to feel passion for painting again. Hopefully 2021 will provide the necessary inspiration!