Living Creatively without Fear (part 1)



I get asked pretty frequently about how I can post my work and my process so publicly online – how I can welcome people into my studio to paint along with me, and share all my marketing tips, packaging supply lists, favorite art materials, unique painting techniques…  really, I try to share anything and everything I can.


I do this, not to create clones of myself, and not to foolishly expose my work to copycats and thieves. I share because I am passionate & passion is pretty hard to stifle.
I share because for every one scoundrel there are 1,000 artists who are growing, trying new things, and are in desperate need of support.  If I can shine a tiny ray of hope, encouragement, or clarity into the sometimes-murky creative world, then the blessings far outweigh the risks.


The way I see it, living in fear of betrayal also equals alienation.


I am not afraid of being copied because the copier does not have my ideas or vision – and I put a lot of value in those two aspects of the creative process.
Copiers also do not have my hands.  My hands are trained and taught to move in a certain way.  And my hands will move differently than yours in the same way that your voice sounds different from mine.  I put a lot of faith in my hands.


Betrayal and being treated unjustly is concerning, but is not something to fear.  However, I am afraid of losing the beauty of community.  I am afraid that the walls of secrecy and fear we place around our work are harming not only those who are learning but ourselves.


Be cautious.  Know how to spot a scoundrel, but be generous to your community.  They will be the ones who support and nurture you when you need to grow and learn.  We all have wisdom.  Let’s share it!


(This is just the first post in a series of living the creative life without fear.  Stay tuned for more!)
Photos from my Instagram feed:

Emily Jeffords

Most days you can find me, in the studio with my little girls, speckled in oil paint (drinking too much coffee), creating artwork for collectors around the world and collaborating with select brands. Check out my artwork on


  • Well said. The world is so full of fear. Let’s do our part to keep from perpetuating that fear, and let’s make the art world a safe place to grow and become!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Emily, thank you for being such a kind, caring, sharing artist! I am inspired by your art and appreciate all the advice and thoughts you share in your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  • “I am not afraid of being copied because the copier does not have my ideas or vision.”
    Excellent. Basically, people can try to copy you – but nobody can BE you. I just finished reading “Steal Like an Artist” – this post reminded me of some of the excellent points there. Highly recommend that book for all creatives!
    Thanks for the great post!


  • I wish I could feel the same way about posting poems to my blog. But I’ve met one too many lazy students who will go online, copy-paste a poem, call it theirs, and turn it in. I should only post photos of hand-written, decorated pages! That would deter copiers. And be a lot of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this Emily! I think there is also a fear of being a copy cat and worrying that your work will start to look like someone else’s especially someone whose work you admire so much. But you’re right, i dont think anyone can truuuuly paint like someone else. I keep telling myself that I have my own unique voice that will evolve in time and truly become my own. I think the key is creating work that is honest and trusting the process of finding one’s style.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m really excited to read the rest! Effort is almost much more about climbing over the hills of fear; not necessarily fear of copiers, but often the fear of failure.


    • Oh yes… I think that needs to be another topic we delve into. Fear of failure. Such an important topic!! Thank you for reading! – Emily


  • Theives that try to still your style or blatantly steal your images always get caught. I’ve had one incident unfortunately, and my friends took care of it for me. I refused to let fear drive me into a hole.

    Usually the theives lack passion and are desperately searching for something. They typically fall off the scene and you don’t hear from them again. It still makes you furious in the moment, then you move on.


    • I’ve had a similar thing happen several times. It’s amazing how your tribe sticks up for you – making your job of justice pretty easy! Generosity = community = kinship = help when you need it!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Love this SO SO much! You hit artist topics so well and as an emerging artists, it’s so helpful and relatable. Thanks for all you do!


  • Thank you for posting this. I simply admire artists who wholeheartedly support and share their knowledge with others that are searching to create…searching for their own style and own kind of success.


  • I have been following your blog and Instagram since I picked up my paintbrushes again this year after a long vacation from using them. I really connect to your work–the light, feeling, and color all speak to my soul. I was curious where exactly you feel admiration crosses over into imitation or downright theft? Is it more about composition and content? I know I certainly have felt inspired to paint things after looking at your art that emulate the palette, or my attempts at making a vibrant moving sky, but certainly was never attempting to outright make my work look like an exact copy one of your pieces. I would think based on your generosity sharing your gift with all of us, this is likely not the type of thing that would be concerning to you, but I would love to know what you think constitutes someone crossing that line.


  • I love this post, supporting creatives is huge we all need support in the arts & creative field.

    I’m excited for the new series, your art is beautiful as well 🙂

    Lauren | LB Designs


  • Love this! I totally agree with you! Keep doing what you are doing! You’re work is beautiful and you are inspiring others (including me 🙂 )


  • thank you so much for posting this Emily. Count me as 1 of the 1000 artists who desperately need support! or at least I’m trying to cross that threshold from sahm/former marketing person to fulltime artist 🙂 I adore all your posts and your very generous spirit in sharing. If I lived closer, I would so enjoy spending time at one of your workshops! I’m still hoping you post an online painting workshop – would love to attend the class! but I know you’re super busy, so just a suggestion for future content 🙂 on another topic – would you have any suggestions on favorite classes, books, etc.. for a self-taught artist to pursue? I’m soaking up all the books at my library and the youtube videos – just wondering if you had any favorites? thanks again!


  • Wise words! I have a fear of posting my work online, but not because of copycats, I fear that people will hate it.
    I completely agree with what you said about being passionate. Now I am slowly starting to upload my work online even though I’m terrified.

    Thank you for writing this!
    Your work is amazing! And truly inspiring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • I totally agree with you- my husband always gets on my case when I post my drawings without signing or watermark but it’s like you said…they don’t have my hands or mind…great post!! Found you via pinterest and been reading most of your post and it’s inspiring me to keep on my creative path- I always question it but I have such a love for it…I’m sure you can understand… here’s my little blog would love your input


  • Many thanks for the post.I like your writing style and I’m trying to begin a blog myself, I think I may read thru all your posts for some
    recommendations! Many thanks once more.


  • This is a very inspiring piece of writing. you have provided very useful knowledge about important facts of copiers. this information is totally new for me. Thanks for raising my knowledge.


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