B.Y.O.B {Q&A} Lori McNee

tell us a bit about yourself : name, business, profession, years in business, etc. (describe your style and medium), website, blog. For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with birds. As a young girl, I would save injured birds and nurse them back to health. Sometimes, I would try to catch the birds that flocked to our yard. Finally, I decided to capture the birds on paper with a pencil. I have been drawing and painting birds and nature ever since!

Now, I have been a professional painter for nearly 20 years and I have been featured in The Huffington Post, Western Art Collector, South West Art Magazine, Wildlife Art Magazine, Art Talk Magazine, American Art Collector, Sun Valley Magazine, Sun Valley Guide, Plum TV, and many newspapers. Lori is a member and exhibits with Oil Painters of America in Regional and National Exhibitions. My paintings are sold in galleries throughout the United States.

Besides painting, I am also a professional blogger, art marketing expert and a public speaker. I share art tips, social media and business advice on her popular blog Fine Art Tips and was named,"Top 10 Up and Coming Women Bloggers," and currently ranks as one of the "Most Influential Artists” on Twitter and "The Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter” and was named a “TwitterPowerhouse” by The Huffington Post. Lori is a writer for North Light Books, The Artist’s Magazine blog and The Artists Network blog. She has been featured on the Art Heroes Blog, BlogTalkFM, Fine Art Views, Art Flow Magazine, Barney Davey’s Blog, and My Money Blog to name a few. To learn more about me, Lori McNee please visit, http://LoriMcNee.com or http://FineArtTips.com

have you ever been copied (your work, art, ideas?)
Yes, over the years I have been the recipient of copyright infringement for my paintings and lately, my writings have been directly copied. My still life paintings are recognizable and unique. Sporadically, over the past ten years I have found copies of my still life paintings in other countries including China, India, an Arab country, and most recently, Mexico. Years ago, I even found my artwork being reproduced as wallpaper. Last year, I discovered a ‘copycat artist’ on Facebook from Mexico who was (and probably still is) directly copying my paintings and signing his own name on them. Also, there are a handful of artists within the United States that copy the ‘idea’ of my still life paintings. In fact, this has even happened to me within my own hometown! At home, I am exclusively represented by the nationally known, highly regarded Kneeland Gallery http://kneelandgallery.com . A few years ago, a new gallery popped up in town and began showing paintings that were very similar to my still life works – the theme, color, compositions, even the birds and vases. This is a disreputable practice for any professional art gallery to follow, and sure enough, when the economy crashed, this gallery was forced to close its doors. Also, now that I am a blogger, I have to contend with my original content being stolen or slightly modified from my blog without attribution. With the popularity of blogging, this is a common problem in the blogsphere. I now use a plug-in that helps track when and where my content goes when it leaves my site.

how did it make you feel? Of course, this is a very disconcerting situation to have happen to any artist, writer, or creative person. My initial reaction was to defend my ‘rights’ as the copyright owner.

what did you do about it?
In the past, and most recently after the Facebook ‘copycat’ incident, I have consulted attorneys. But, unfortunately Copyright Law is a very complex subject and expensive to pursue. It is frustrating that the law always seems to protect the criminal. It is especially tough to pursue any copyright infringement outside of our own country.

I filed a formal complaint with Facebook and they immediately shut down the fake artist’s account. There was overwhelming support from my Facebook friends who blocked this man’s account and complained as well.

I thought we beat him, but unfortunately, a few months later a fellow Facebook artist found the copycat back on Facebook again with a new profile. However, he was still showcasing the copies of my paintings! Once again, Facebook shut him down and yet again he was back up and running…I finally decided to stop chasing my tail on this one.

Here is the complete story :


do you feel "copying" is black and white... or is there gray area?
For as long as there has been art, artists have been inspired by and copying each other, for this is how we learn. It is not uncommon for artists to be influenced by other great artists; in fact this is often reflected within our own artwork. However, a direct copy is undoubtedly wrong, as well as any piece of artwork or writing that can be identified as a close copy of another’s original work.

(like copying ONE of something just for yourself vs. a manufacturer copying an item and mass marketing?) Copying another artist’s painting or other art form for your own personal achievement or learning experience is acceptable. Back when I was just beginning in oil paints, I copied a Richard Schmid painting from one of his books for my own learning experience. I followed his palette and did my best to ‘copy’ his brushwork. Pleased with the result, I even framed the little 12x9 inch painting and signed it, “Lori McNee after Richard Schmid”. This is the proper way to display a painting that has been copied from another’s work. Plus, these types of paintings should never be sold or publically displayed.

what is your creative outlet?
I enjoy the camaraderie of getting together with my fellow artists for painting outings. Also, I love to listen to classical music and my water fountain while I paint.

how/from who/ where do you seek inspiration?
I am inspired by many of the great artists before me including the Dutch painters, the Luminists and Tonalist painters as well as some contemporary artists with whom I have had the pleasure of painting.

why do you thing "copying" is bad?
Copying is wrong because someone else is trying to profit from your years of hard work and inspiration without attribution.

what do you think could be done to eliminate copying? (Realistically or otherwise!)
As I mentioned above, the laws are complicated and I discovered that it is very costly to pursue a case. It seems there should be an easier way to prove blatant copyright infringement. I believe the outcome should result in fines to the plagiarizer and compensation to be made to the injured party.

please define, in your words the concept of - "inspired by vs. copied from"
Inspiration and concept are not easy to copyright. But again, when the artwork in question is compared to the original and can easily be recognized as an overt copy of someone else’s artwork or writing, this is then infringement.

define what "original" means to you.
An original work of art is fresh and inventive approach toward a subject. It is not an imitation of another. However, the artist should feel free to create a series within his or her own primary art form from which varieties are derived.

do you have a favorite inspirational/motivational/ creative quote or mantra?
I am a bit of a quote junkie. I have been collecting quotes for years. There are a few that really stand out, but I particularly find the following quote relevant to both art and life.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself.”

find more about Lori here:





(as per Lori... ) For more information regarding copyright protection, please read:




  1. Hi Lori. Im in this "club" it NOT ok to copy, I have sad experience of that..
    Sharing is caring:))

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  3. love your blog and concept- would you be willing to write a bit about it for my blog at designherbrands . blogspot . com? ~melissa