Wom1TThere is still a lot of confusion out there about copyright. Basically, the copyright laws are a good thing. They ensure that the person who did the creating stands to benefit their creation; whether a photograph, painting, drawing, sculpture, or whatever. It’s an important issue for visual artists. Specifically, if you are doing a painting based on a photograph, and you want to sell or display that painting in public, you need to either a. have taken the photo yourself, or b. make sure that you have permission from the photographer to work from it. I encourage my art students to get themselves a camera. The prices have gone waaaaay down in the past 10 years for a camera that will take great photos. I have a small one with a 10x zoom that cost under $200. You don’t even have to buy a printer. You can take your camera card into a drug store or print shop, and get prints of just your favourites to paint from. If that really doesn’t work for you, perhaps you have a friend or relative who loves to take photos and would be happy to have you base some paintings on them. The days of painting from magazine or book photos are gone once you are no longer painting simply for educational purposes. Besides, when you have taken a photo yourself it’s a lot more special – you were there, you framed it, it’s yours to be creative with!