Art Studio and Life #11 featuring artworks and painting

Hello lovely family and friends


What do you think?

I shall plunge right into the ChatGPT debate/protest currently raging around the world. Please add your thoughts and comments below the blog, I would love to hear your ideas.

One of my email crew sent me some images he had generated using ChatGPT trying to copy my polar bear painting. Here they are (and, do you know, I felt guilty about copying them, probably because I am not a robot, so I asked his permission to use them):

My Painting (5 weeks of work)

5 minutes of typing in ChatGPT:

I showed my younger son the images, really wondering if he would think they were cool. But he said “But that’s stealing!” I guess, it is stealing my concept, my intellectual property so to speak, but once it is out there, anyone is free to plagiarise it. It’s the perpetual artist dilemma – you have to show your work in the hope of selling it, but as soon as you do, other people will copy it. And unlike, Michael Moebius, I can’t afford a lawyer…

Speaking of copyright, all the images that were used to generate these pictures were stolen from millions of images on the web, copied without the creators’ knowledge, let alone permission. If you steal from one person, you can go to jail, but if you get away with stealing from millions, you are either a big business, or a government.

One hundred years ago, you would have to have been a painter to create your own version of one of my paintings. Some years ago, I was taking part in an art exhibition and noticed someone surreptitiously taking a cell phone photograph of one of my award-winning paintings. My friend also noticed and said “Aren’t you going to tell them not to?” I said no, because I know it is going to happen, and because I know just how hard it is to paint what I paint. But now, a computer is more and more able to replicate what I do. My older son looked at the Chatgpt pictures and said “They look kind of cheesy, so don’t bother about it.” They look kind of cheesy now, but in six months? They will just get better and it can generate in seconds what takes me a month to paint. They won’t make an actual oil painting, yet…

If I was a digital artist, I think I’d be bleak, but perhaps they are already using it themselves as a jumping off point.

As some photographers are:

Years ago, I watched a black and white promo film made in the 1950s narrated by a cheery, quick talking man about how machines were going to make our lives better and by the Twentieth century, people would be working three day weeks, with four day weekends, because machines would take over more and more of our menial jobs…

So where are the robots that can clean the windows, toilets and sink? Even robotic vacuum cleaners are deeply confused by chair legs. It’s ironic that AI is threatening our creative livelihoods, but can’t clean a toilet…   How sad is that?

I saw this posted on Facebook:


I suppose artists were stressed and upset when Photography was invented, as they feared losing their jobs, but more people paint now than ever, and photographs enable us to paint better. We will have to figure out how to make it work for us.

Some people are stressed about losing their jobs, and the actual creators of AI are concerned about that too:

I did roll my eyes when I read that article. That’s not like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, that’s like closing the stable door after you have sold the horse to the dog meat canning factory.

Well, we always have to adjust to the continually changing world we live in, and this is just another change to figure out.

I shall keep my part-time cleaning job (grateful not to be replaced by a robot), and keep painting and writing, because creating brings me joy. I won’t be asking ChatGPT to write my next blog, because I actually ENJOY writing to you. I paint because I am miserable if I don’t.

And in terms of other people’s creativity, I don’t want to read computer-generated poetry mish-mashed together from real poets’ work. I’m bored by the concept itself. I want to read the distilled essence of one person’s thoughts, vision and experience. That is poetry. To my darling poet friend reading this (you know who you are), please write more of your poetry! You bring joy to my heart.

  I don’t want to read an imitation patchwork AI novel. I want to marvel at the wisdom, morality, humour and insight of Jane Austin’s original novels, or be inspired to grow in courage and faith through reading Dee Henderson’s books, or the Lord of the Rings for the twentieth time. I don’t want cookie cutter entertainment; I want to be inspired and challenged by a real person. You gifted writer friend (you know who you are) I want to read your vision and wisdom! I need more than a computer collage to grow my soul. Use AI if it helps you to embody your vision, but refine it, and let it be YOUR vision.

And to those of you who want a painting, or a print of a real painting, by a human artist to grace your walls and enliven your soul, a heartfelt THANK YOU from those of us who yearn to communicate by putting brush to canvas.

Climbing down off my soapbox now, and wishing you comfort and peace in the midst of this turbulent life.

XX Barbie


  1. Katherine Simpson

    Some very timely reflections. My husband sent me this article last week: because it mentions translators (which I am). But translators’ jobs have been on the line for years, long before ChatGPT. Artists? Seeing the ChatGPT-generated reproductions of your work, I don’t believe it will ever be able to replace real creativity like that. Why are their oranges so dessicated? “I want to read the distilled essence of one person’s thoughts, vision and experience.” I love how you put that. Keep writing! I so enjoy your blog.

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thank you very much Katherine, it makes me very happy that you are enjoying it!
      Thank you for the interesting article. Cost cutting versus quality – it is sad, and will be costly for many people. I suppose quite a few people, including translators, will use ChatGPT as part of their process, reducing the time it takes to do the work? Seeing how resilient Zimbabweans are gives me hope. They just keep changing and making a plan in order to survive in a difficult and changing economy. I think that younger consumers will change things too. They are more interested in sustainability, and are less persuaded by advertising that previous generations, as savvy digital users. Hence the rise of influencers, they like to know what people they admire recommend. I think, though, that ChatGPT will make choosing a career as a creator harder for them.

  2. Janet Whelan

    Your polar bear is way more realistic – and wins, hands down! Bring on real!!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thanks Janet! Real is all I have to offer…

  3. Francis Podmore

    Oh wow! Wow!! WOW!!! What a masterly piece of writing… Those ChatGPT (that’s how people here refer to “it”) “paintings” are indeed extraordinary.

    The primary (or one of the primary) issues is ” How would or will anyone know what is a real painting or a ChatGPT product? What does “real” mean any more??

    A recent radio programme on BBC WorldService is about DEEPFAKES. Artificial altered photographs and videos where its impossible to tell which is real or true or genuine or fake.

    I’m sure you and those humans reading this can google it. Or would you like the link?

    THANKS V much for all your links. It will take awhile to (find the time to) read them.

    I have joined a monthly online u3a group here (most of the 10 members are in Edinburgh, one in Bute and I don’t where others are) called Science Discoveries Online. A recent topic discussed was ChatGPT. With some intriguing examples of what can be (so easily and quickly) produced. But if your readers (are we bloggers or bloggees?) contribute examples, we’ll be swamped 😳

    Roll on your #12 And persevere with your wonderfilled painting 💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🌻

    [Thinks: I wonder if ChatGPT can/does create new words? Like one of my favourites “frogotten ” and Bruce’s “persketty” and “buy-see-ah”, coined when he was very young. (One problem is how to spell the new sounds!)

    Maybe others would like to share some baby words. dad.

    • Barbara Podmore

      In an increasingly digital world, people crave human connection and authenticity, and, I think, ChatGPT is going to increase that.

      • Helena Hatty

        Hi Barbie, excellent, thoughtful piece of writing. Really enjoying your blog!

        This was the response from ChatGPT : )

        (‘In an increasingly digital world, people crave human connection and authenticity, and, I think, ChatGPT is going to increase that.’)

        Generating answers

        ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence platform that mimics human communication. It has the potential to change the way we think and work by providing a more efficient way of communicating with others. However, it is important to note that ChatGPT is not a replacement for human connection. While communication, it cannot replace the emotional connection that comes from face-to-face interactions 12

        it can help facilitate

        Is there anything else you would like me to help you with?

        Ask me anything…

        • Barbara Podmore

          Red pill or blue pill? (for Matrix fans)

          Makes you wonder…