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A Great Way to Find Subjects to Paint? Pictures

Plein air painting is enjoyable, relaxing and for some, a viable career pursuit. But many artists do not have the chance to get regularly find inspiration from luscious landscapes or mesmerizing subjects. In such circumstances, painting from a picture you like can be an effective substitute.


Painting subjects in a studio or on the street is the way many portraits are done. But increasingly, people will take photographs and send them to a studio to be reproduced in paint. This allows the painter more time to perfect the painted image, and ‘takes the pressure off’ to complete the painting in a short amount of time. Unlike landscapes, people have a hard time staying still for more than an hour or so.

This is also the case with famous subjects. Whether separated by centuries or continents, painters can recreate subjects for personal, business, entertainment or even political reasons. Acrylic and oil paints give a painter options that photographers and graphic designers simply do not have. And the one-of-a-kind nature of paintings can make them more valuable and interesting.


There are many reasons why an artist might reproduce a landscape in a painting. The most obvious is that the artist can’t access the location easily. If an artist in Missouri wishes to paint a Mongolian landscape, the choice between thousands in airfare and recreating or re-envisioning a great picture of that landscape might make the difference.

Similarly, artists who wish to create paintings of times past, such as civil war scenes, do not have the luxury of viewing the scene in ‘real time.” When distance or time separate an artist from his desired subject, photo recreation can yield excellent works of art.

Legal Considerations

In many circumstances, copyright laws cover the image of a famous event, place or person, either domestically or internationally. It is the artist’s responsibility to know about potential copyright infringements and protect themselves from infringement on these laws. One good way to avoid copyright infringement is by contacting estates or agencies related with the subject. If this is not possible, then searching the U.S. copyright office website can also help identify places where an artist might wander into trouble areas.

But legal considerations should not be a hindrance to expressing yourself, or simply creating art for art’s sake. Copyright infringements only pertain to art made for commercial purposes. Essentially, if you are not going to sell the painting or make money from it, you may copy and recreate whatever you like. In fact, painting from photos is a great way to practice! So grab a picture that appeals to you, get out your acrylic or oil paints, and hit the canvas.



Acrylic vs Oil Painting
Traveling with Acrylics
Getting Started with Acrylics
Getting Started with Oil Paints
What are Acrylic Paints
What are Oil Paints
Acrylic Painting for Beginners
Acrylic Painting Technique
Acrylic Painting Tips
Acrylic Flower Painting
Famous Oil Paintings
Still Life Oil Painting

Renaissance Oil Painting
Modern Oil Painting



Painting from Pictures
Finding Inspiration in Nature
Sketching First: How importaing is it in your Painting
History of Oil Paints
History of Acrylic Paints
What are Water Colors
Painting With Acrylic
Abstract Acrylic Painting
Acrylic Paint Canvas
Wholesale Acrylic Paint
Impressionist Oil Painting
Contemporary Oil Painting
Modern Art Oil Painting