Lotus - Beautiful FlowerHave you ever wanted to use images from the Internet on your blog or website, or maybe you saw a beautiful, inspirational photo and wanted to make it into a shareable quote or make a painting from it…

But then you thought again and wondered if anyone would come after you for copyright infringement and gave up and decided it wasn’t worth it…


There are tools that can help.

Paint my Photo

Paint my photo headerPaint my Photo is this great site I stumbled onto where photographers share their images to be painted without any copyright infringement.

Presumably hobbyists, there are still a vast selection of beautiful photos to browse with the the knowledge that all the photos can be used for traditional art practices (no digital) without fear of copyright.

PMP Terms of Service:

My Photo (PMP) is a social networking site dedicated to sharing Photos for artistic inspiration without fear of infringing copyright. Note the following that applies to PMP…

In this document, PMP is PaintMyPhoto (this site,
We define Photo as a reference photo; Artwork as a photo of artwork.

You can make non-digital artwork based on Photos shared in the PMP Image galleries. You can exhibit, reproduce and/or sell your artwork. You can download Photos but only to use as art reference.

PLEASE NOTE: All Photos and Artworks remain copyright of the owner. You cannot download any Photos to sell or use commercially in any way other than art reference. You cannot use other artists’ Artwork in any way.

Photos are reference for natural media art only, not digital art (even if the photo is not directly imported into the artwork).

I searched “candles” (lots!!), “metal bucket” (nothing), “bucket” (1), “lily” (loads!), river (plenty – including rivers with castles on them!). This is a site for predominantly “pastoral” types of themes and stil lives, with landscapes, cottages and flowers well-represented.

I’m pretty stoked about all the candle photos. That’s pretty rad. Definitely glad I found that site.

Advanced Search on Google

Google Advanced Search

We can’t just be stealing images off the Googles to prettify our blog posts and use as reference for our art… As much as we’d love to – it’s rife with legalities.

However, the Googles has given us some tools to make the image search less fraught with fire.

If you toggle the little gear on the Google page, a drop down menu gives you the “advanced search” option.
advanced search full screen

There are many parameters of search, but for our post we only care about the very last one at the bottom: “usage rights”.

Click “usage rights” and you get a drop down menu with several different copyright options: “free to use or share” should be good enough to use on your blog posts. If you want to use a picture as reference for a painting or illustration, you should choose “free to use, share or modify, even commercially” which will give image options from which you are allowed to profit.
usage rights drop down menu
There is a caveat to this search function – if you end up on a photographers website or on Flickr – check the copyright attached to that image and make sure that it is in line with your intended use for the image.

I can think of nothing more heart-breaking than selling a beautiful image that gets an artist sued for copyright infringement.

Free Media Sites

Obviously your best option is to create your own image library and take your own reference photos and create your own blog illustrations.

But I”m lazy and have better things to do than create vector drawings of coffee cups so I check out the likes of Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay To search for copyright free images that can be used and shared – even commercially, without attribution.

Pretty sweet.

Let me know where you find images that inspire you – either for your art or to enhance your blog or website.
Flat Wash

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