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My Art Copied in Las Vegas Without My Permission: Should I Be Upset? What Was the Outcome?

Wine Affair ©Sandi Whetzel
Wino Wine Bottle

Imagine my surprise when I saw that a Las Vegas business intended to use an obvious imitation of my painting, Wine Affair, (above left) for one of their events. For a nominal fee the restaurant and painting studio provides painting materials to guests who are guided through a re-creation of the featured painting of the evening. Participants paint, socialize and dine on gourmet foods and partake of alcoholic beverages offered for purchase. What a novel concept for introducing people to a “painting experience” while capitalizing on the sale of food and beverages during the event! It sounds like a lot of fun. Above right, is the featured painting they intended to be re-created at the painting event April 17th, 2013. Is it inspired by my painting? Is it a copy of my painting? I’d be interested in what you think.

I think there are too many obvious similarities in the two paintings to leave any doubt this version was copied from my painting. First, I know my painting is an original. I created it out of my head from scratch in 2010. I had not seen anything like it anywhere before. The goblet is from my cupboard, but I painted it abstractly. I worked long and hard on several sketches of the goblet before settling on its shapely placement.

The treatment, shapes and placement of the goblet, bottle and moon are nearly identical. The swirls in and around the moon and around the bottle are another giveaway. The colors and their placement in the bottle closely resemble those in my wine bottle. The painter chose to use a shorter canvas format and alter the angles of the goblet slightly in an effort to change their version and avoid copyright infringement. However, as complicated as it is to determine copyright infringement, one guideline is:

The test of an infringement is whether an ordinary person would determine that one work is copied from the other; the copying need not be exact.
My first gut reaction when I saw this painting was to smile and feel good that somebody was so inspired by my Wine Affair painting that they wished to create their version of it for use in their business. The familiar quote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” came to mind. I had to laugh at the mere prospect that my work might be famous enough to be copied! If I had thought this imitation would reduce my ability to profit from reproductions of my painting, I would have been furious and demanded recourse. However, I did not feel it would be a threat to the sale of my original or reproductions of it.
Wino Wine Bottle is a playful piece. The sad thing about this imitation is that several sacrifices in the re-design of the painting were made, either in an attempt to differentiate it from my painting, or maybe the artist just didn’t know about more aesthetically pleasing elements of design. Even sadder is that they would have been encouraging their class participants to repeat those design flaws by copying the mistakes.
Crowding the bottle and the moon too closely to the top of the canvas and squeezing the bottom of the goblet and bottle too close to the bottom of the canvas makes the composition look awkward and amateurish. The weight of the goblet and bottle appear to be falling through the bottom of the canvas.
Allowing the goblet to share its edge with the curving silhouette of the bottle creates another awkward “crowded” sensation. One of the objects should be placed behind the other, or leaving some space between them would avoid the awkward look. I also feel that the color of the wine next to the harsh white of the goblet appears garish.
If I were a vindictive person, I might have seen an opportunity to go after this business for their copyright infringement and possibly be awarded a large sum of money. In this situation, I don’t feel it would have been worth the frustration. What do you think? You can either email me your thoughts from the link at the right sidebar, or you can use the comments section below this post.

EPILOGUE: Right after I first posted this blog I started thinking about the repercussions of having copied versions of my painting floating around the country and the internet if the business had used it. If people saw the copy and then saw my Wine Affair original, might someone question whether I had copied Wino Wine Bottle instead of it being the opposite situation? And was it fair for participants not to know they were copying copyrighted art? I also wondered how many other artists’ work might be exploited if I kept silent. I contacted the restaurant and studio to inform them of their copyright infringement. I am happy to report, they have ceased advertising Wino Wine Bottle as the featured painting and will not use it for their event.

By the way, the original of Wine Affair and reproductions of it and other of my paintings are available at my new print-on-demand website . sensual wine art art

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Simultaneous Exposure of Sandi Whetzel’s Wine Art at Seven Feathers Casino Resort March 2, 2013

Grape de Menthe ©Sandi Whetzel
Jewels of the Vine ©Sandi Whetzel

Call it serendipity or just blind luck–My wine art will be featured at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon in two different exhibits on the evening of March 2, 2013.

I am the featured artist of the “Greatest of the Grape” event from 7-11 p.m. in the Seven Feathers convention center March 2. (Tickets for that event have already sold out.) I also have two paintings hanging in Seven Feathers Gallery 7 on the first floor near the hotel lobby, across from the River Rock Spa as part of the “Vineyards” exhibit. That exhibit opens March 2 and runs through June 5. The artworks of 15 various media artists represent vineyards, grapes, wine and the wine industry of the Pacific Northwest. Opening Reception for “Vineyards” is from 5-7 p.m. March 2 in Seven Feathers Kabi Cafe. Gallery 7 is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Admission is free. For a sneak peek at the art in Gallery 7, visit

There’s never enough time to set up my art booth at the “Greatest of the Grape”, but if I can manage to be set up by 5-6 p.m., I will do my best to quickly trot across the expanse of Seven Feathers to put in a brief appearance at the Gallery 7 reception for “Vineyards”. There will be 5 awards including a Purchase Award” presented during the reception at 6 p.m. In addition to that presentation, I will enjoy meeting the people in attendance. Wish I could be two places at once.

The original of my painting, Grape de Menthe, (used to promote the “Greatest of the Grape”) is one of the paintings hanging in the “Vineyards” exhibit in Gallery 7. A high quality hand-embellished giclee reproduction on gallery wrap canvas of that painting will be auctioned off during the “Greatest of the Grape”. Wish I could clone myself, too.

To see more of Sandi’s art, visit her website

wine art

Continue reading Simultaneous Exposure of Sandi Whetzel’s Wine Art at Seven Feathers Casino Resort March 2, 2013

An Artful Valentine to My Art Fans: Abstraction, Romance, Elegance and Simplicity Revealed in My Recent Art

An Invitation to Romance 12×24 acrylic © Sandi Whetzel

How can abstraction and romance, elegance and simplicity all be used to describe my most recent paintings? These terms may seem somewhat contradictory, but they are all revealed in my three most recent paintings. Let me explain…

The first one, An Invitation to Romance, definitely suggests romance with the strewn rose petals leading the way to the elegant goblet and bottle of wine, waiting to be served up. The drama of the elegant evening colors against the black and atmospheric blues is devoid of distracting, extraneous elements. This drama and simplicity, exude romance and elegance, by design.

Wine Dream 16×20 acrylic ©Sandi Whetzel

The second image, Wine Dream, is an abstraction of a wine pour in a delicate goblet shape that forms a woman bathing in wineful bliss. Yes, the goblet itself is actually missing; adding to the abstraction of the piece. The simplicity and drama of the red, gold and black, as well as the shapely woman could inspire romance. This concept, so minimal in design, needed more elements. I decided to add the metallic gold and red ribbon-like strips and the red sentimental words to add some more simplicity, elegance, romance and abstraction elements to the piece.

The third image, Simply Wine!, an abstraction of a wine bottle and goblets is a simple, contemporary design with minimal detail. It’s that simplicity of design against the dramatic black background that gives it abstraction and elegance.

Simply Wine! 12×24 acrylic ©Sandi Whetzel

So, to all my loyal art fans, I want to wish you a happy Valentines Day. I hope I’ve inspired you to put a little romance into your life; even if it’s only to look at some contemporary romantic art. That’s my Valentine’s gift to you.

I’ve included the fourth image, Grape de Menthe, because it is an abstraction of grapes and because the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers have selected it to promote the “Greatest of the Grape” event March 2nd. To learn the inspiration behind that painting and details of the “Greatest of the Grape”,

To see more of Sandi’s art and order originals and reproductions in various print options, visit Sandi’s website

wine bottle art

Continue reading An Artful Valentine to My Art Fans: Abstraction, Romance, Elegance and Simplicity Revealed in My Recent Art

"Grape de Menthe" by Artist, Sandi Whetzel, Promotes 2013 "Greatest of the Grape"
Grape de Menthe 30×24 acrylic©Sandi Whetzel

These grapes have earned their stripes, literally. In my quest to capture the interest of grape and wine lovers, I wanted to do something really different and fun with grapes.
The Umpqua Valley WineGrowers liked this painting so much they picked it to promote the “Greatest of the Grape” gala event March 2, 2013.

I liked this sketch of a cluster of grapes because it had so many different shapes of grapes; some round and some showing off the oblong side views of grapes.

I decided to paint the background of large violet stripes even before I knew how I would render the grapes. After a while it became apparent that the grapes could be striped as well. I finally resorted to using a magic marker to stripe a chicken egg so that I could observe what would happen to the stripes on it when I viewed it from various angles. As a result, each grape assumes its own personality.

The grapes situated in the rear of the cluster recede because I used cooler colors to set them back. The grapes take on even more dimension with the addition of shadows cast below them and a warm, golden light at the top of the grapes exposed to direct sunlight.

It was a challenge to come up with a title for this painting. The striped grapes reminded me of mint candies. Then I remembered that there is a liqueur, creme de menthe, that is a sweet, mint-flavored alcoholic beverage. It was fitting that these striped minty grapes destined for wine lovers should be called “Grape de Menthe”. It was fun and challenging to dream up this new fun twist on grapes.
A hand-embelllished giclee reproduction of Grape de Menthe on gallery wrapped canvas will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the “Greatest of the Grape” event.

For event and ticket information visit . To see more of Sandi’s art and to order reproductions on paper, gallery wrap canvas, metal or on acrylic film, plus art greeting cards, visit her new website .

Continue reading "Grape de Menthe" by Artist, Sandi Whetzel, Promotes 2013 "Greatest of the Grape"

Expose Yourself 2013! A Public Hanging of Oregon Artists ‘Exposing Themselves?’ Sandi Whetzel Exposes Three Wine Inspired Paintings During A Public Hanging of Oregon Artists

“Stroked Ego” 16×20 acrylic©Sandi Whetzel

‘A public hanging of Oregon Artists exposing themselves’ … Now if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. Sounds frightful and maybe a little distasteful to me, but of course, Umpqua Valley Arts Association doesn’t mean that literally. It’s UVA’s biennial “Expose Yourself” exhibit of Oregon artists and it is free and open to the public from January 18 through February 28, 2013. It is actually billed as “A Public Hanging of Oregon Artists”, though. I didn’t make that up.

Please forgive my paraphrasing ploy to get your attention. If you’re reading this far, I guess it worked. It’s kind of like what I do with my art. I have to get your attention and hold it long enough to engage you on some level. Everything I paint is designed to do that and more. My art has to make you feel good, or inspired, or peaceful, or grounded; entertain you, impress you and those who see it on your walls, spark conversation and make you feel glad that you have it hanging on your wall.

My art is a reflection of some part of me that resonates with some part of you. I work very hard on that reflection of myself. I guess I’m in an “expose yourself” mood, but I just couldn’t resist sharing that little tidbit before a captive audience. Before I lose you, though, I’d love to see you at the opening reception of “Expose Yourself” at Umpqua Valley Arts Association, from 5-7 pm, Friday, January 18, 2013. It is located at 1624 W. Harvard Ave. in Roseburg, Oregon.

My three wine paintings will be competing for “Best Use of Humor”, “Most Innovative Use of Material”, “Size Matters”, and “Best Title”. I created these paintings without this competition in mind, but they do meet the criterion for the categories, so who knows. The main thing is, it should be a fun evening, seeing all the submissions and taking part in the refreshments offered.

I shared this stylized self-portrait, “Stroked Ego”, in this post because I don’t often get the opportunity to share it and it just seemed to fit the “Expose Yourself” theme. This is the only self portrait I have done. I enjoyed painting it. It hangs in my office and I can look up from my computer and see her smiling at me whenever I want. She makes me feel good about myself and she never judges me. To see the actual photo of me that inspired it and read the story behind the painting, click here .

Late breaking news!! I have a new website to order high quality reproductions of my art printed on various substrates; paper, gallery wrapped canvas, metal, or on acrylic panel, as well as greeting card art. You can now order online and have them shipped directly to you. The company that reproduces the art has 40 years experience producing museum quality prints. Fine Art America offers a 100% money-back guarantee of satisfaction. Matting and Framing of the reproductions are available, too, so you can see how those options will look before you purchase.

You can see all the wine art reproductions (and original art) at my new website . (If you want to make note of it, it is Time permitting, I’ll be adding all my floras to the website, too. Please keep this affordable art option in mind for your gift-giving and personal art collection. I’d love it if you share the website with your friends and relatives.

Other news: Once again the “Greatest of the Grape” has picked one of my images to promote the event March 2, 2013. This is the third time they have used my image for this prestigious event. My “Grape de Menthe” painting is on the posters, postcards and tickets to promote the event. A high qualityhand-embellished reproduction on gallery wrapped canvas will be auctioned off during the evening gala. I am the featured artist hanging my wine art at the event. For event and ticket information click here

To see more of Sandi’s art, visit her website .

Continue reading Expose Yourself 2013! A Public Hanging of Oregon Artists ‘Exposing Themselves?’ Sandi Whetzel Exposes Three Wine Inspired Paintings During A Public Hanging of Oregon Artists

Eco Oil Painting Tutorial Video

I’ve recently recorded an 8 minute video of me explaining how to eliminate all toxins from your oil painting practice. There will be tips and techniques and info on how to use only natural materials (nothing synthetic or petroleum based). Enjoy!

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SIMPLY WINE! Most recent wine-themed painting by artist, Sandi Whetzel

Simply Wine! 12×24 ©Sandi WhetzelSimple elegance, simply wine! And if there was any doubt, the cursive written wine design on the abstracted wine bottle literally spells it out. The inspiration for this abstract wine painting was the placement of two…

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Alternative Art Venue in Ashland, OR Welcomes Artist, Sandi Whetzel’s Mood Enhancing Art

Kaleidoscope 30×24 acrylic ©Sandi WhetzelA kaleidoscope of breathtaking color and graceful, animated images will lift your mood as you savor Sandi Whetzel’s vibrant art at Royce Realty’s opening reception during Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk, Decembe…

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Let Freedom Ring! 12×12 acrylic ©Sandi Whetzel

Let Freedom Ring! 12×12 acrylic ©Sandi Whetzel Originally uploaded by sandiwhetzelPlease join me in a toast to the freedom and liberties we enjoy in the United States of America: “Let Freedom Ring!”My recent art focus has been on the pleasures of wine….

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"Moonlight on the Vine" Unveiled at Seven Feathers Casino Convention Center: 3rd Annual Southern Oregon Festival of Arts

Moonlight on the Vine 12×24 acrylic, molding paste and metallic pigment ©Sandi Whetzel This, my most recent wine series painting, is unlike any other I have created so far.  My photography cannot do justice to the textures of the designs ca…

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