I took a painting that I had started on canvas and had abandonned and photographed it. I then imported into Photoshop and practiced my digital painting. I really love not having to wait for paint to dry and always having access to the "undo" button. I used a painting of Jennifers as my inspirational reference. Below is the reference and my final image. While I think I strongly referenced her painting I think I was still able to make the image my own.
I uploaded the painting onto Flickr and made a point of claiming my inspiration and contacted Jennifer to let her know about it. Jennifer sent me back the most wonderful letter to let me know that she was not only okay with me using her work as reference but that she felt honored. She also told me about a couple pieces that she has created inspired by others. The results are fantastic.
Here's a great painting of Jennifer's and the reference photo of a lamp that she found on Etsy that appealed to her. Love it.
While many of us hear of artists getting their images ripped right off their sites and used to make money for someone else, we can't deny the benefits to creativity to be influenced by other artists. What are your thoughts on this? What is the line between plagarism and influence? I think the work will always be better when you make it distinctly your own.