This morning, I was spending a few minutes on Facebook, and Dorte Jensen, who was accepted in SAQA as a JAM member at the same time I was, posted a picture of a piece she made of Lincoln to the Art Quilts page. Given the recent discussion of the use of historical photographs in your artwork, I couldn’t help but think that comparing her picture of Lincoln to mine makes my argument all too clear — that the use of a photograph as inspiration does not mean that the artist is merely copying the photograph. Obviously, there is immense skill in drafting a pattern from any photograph and rendering it in your own style.

Although the inspirational photograph for her piece is slightly different than the one I used, it is obvious that our styles are completely different.

This is Dorte’s piece.


And this is mine.


If our pieces were merely copies, they would look almost identical.  Clearly they do not. They each have their own spirit and life and attributes that make each one special.

Dorte has also recently made a piece of Ben Franklin that is marvelous. I hope you enjoy her website.

As portraitists, it is inevitable that we will turn to historical photographs if we want our work to be marketable. The skill with which they are rendered are no less than if we were to use one of our own photographs. As long as the copyright is clear, they are a wonderful source of inspiration.