Friday, September 14, 2007


FLEUR LUMINEUSE - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
(Thanks to Rima Koleilat for the French lesson and assistance in naming this mandala)

I have been trained and instilled with certain artistic values. One that runs deep is that of non-appropriation, i.e. using other people's images in my artwork. When digital art was in its infancy, one of the criticisms was that people were stealing images from the web and using them as their own. Im sure that is still occurring, given how easy it is to download and save from any person's given website directly to your desktop. I think for a long time digital art was not considered a true art form. Im sure those attitudes are still prevalent in the art community. I am the only digital artist in my Art as Business group.

I remain conscious of only using images for my mandalas that I have photographed myself. Anything I have used that is not mine has been done with the permission of the photographer, and I give that person credit on my greeting cards and the labels that come with my prints. I have spent as much time this spring and summer learning to capture the light in the images I am shooting with my camera as I have in creating their portraits of light in photoshop. It is much easier to create with a good photographic source image than it is trying to heal the source image digitally.

The first time I touched a computer, before there was barely anything known as a Mac or PC, I knew I was home. It took me another 20 years, though, to really walk through the door.
On Being an Artist: Artmaking involves skills that can be learned. The conventional wisdom is that while "craft" can be taught, "art" remains a magical gift bestowed only by the gods. Not so. In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive. Clearly, these qualities can be nurtured by others. Even talent is rarely distinguishable, over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work. It's true that every few years the authors encounter some beginning photography student whose first-semester prints appear as finely crafted as any Ansel Adams might have made. And it's true that a natural gift like that...returns priceless encouragement to its maker. But all that has nothing to do with artistic content. Rather it simply points up the fact that most of us (including Adams himself) had to work years to perfect our art.

~ from Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland
(Credit goes to Tammy Vitale for pointing me to this book. Merci.)



dianeclancy said...

I LOVE this collage - as you knew I would!! So beautiful!

And you are reminding me you wanted to use some of my paintings to play with ... let's talk - I would be glad for you to do that!

Great story about yourself and a wonderful quote!

~ Diane Clancy

lebanesa said...

I like what you say about copyright and artistic integrity. Absolutely right. and yes Diane, it would be really good if you let her use some of your paintings.
I love these artworks. The light and integrity of the colours and patterns are breathtaking. Looking forward to your next tutorial. Thanks for all the work you put in to these things.

Bobbie said...

I love this image, light just flows from it and where the blues and purples blend is very exciting. I am getting a little better with my last attempt having figured out the canvas horzontal rotation. I need to work on my template as it is very bad..I made it myself and it looks it. I'm looking forward to your Sunday tutorial!

Anonymous said...

I also love what you said about artistic integrity. That being said, I would love it if you wanted to use some of my images to make mandalas. I wish you would do something with the amazing celosia or the balloon flowers. If you need a higher resolution image of those, I would bemore than happy to email you one.

Artists With Artitude said...

Sue, you raise very deep questions here. I read it earlier and I wanted to come back and leave an intelligent comment. But here I am again, pondering the question of appropriation. I am really proud of you for not compromising your integrity because (1) this is honest work and (2) the process is so much more fulfilling from start to finish.

Now, over the years and with the new stringent copyrights laws, it has been more and more difficult to be a traditional collage artist (the paper and glue kind). Collage is fundamentally and by its derivative nature an art that re-interprets other materials. This is my artistic dilmma right there. How can I be genuine and yet use appropriation (even if it is just a sliver of paper) and call my artwork my own? I find it very difficult...Help?!