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Finding Painting Subjects - The Virtual Paint Out

I saw a painting I liked on DPW - sorry I don’t know who did that now- but when I went to the painter’s blog I discovered that she had “travelled” to this exotic country and painted “en plein air” using the wonderful site called Virtual Paint Out. This is a site you can paint from using Google Street View. You get on and you can "travel down streets, through mountains, villages and along shorelines, choosing what view you want to paint. The sights are free to paint or draw with no restrictions by Google at all - like Morgue File. You are completely free to display and sell your art - at DPW, on the Virtual Paint Out site or anywhere. GREAT stuff!! Instructions are good on the Virtual Paint Out site for how to use Google Plus. I sold a picture of a boat in Greenland on DPW that I found on Google Street View. Virtual Paint out has a widget you can use on your blog too. Fun resource for daily painters!
Elisabeth Seeger


OOPS - I meant great instructions for how to use Google Street View, not Google Plus
Elisabeth Seeger

Be careful, it can be addicting! I did a whole lot of searching and not so much painting. :wink:

Boy! That’s True! I had to limit my time to find an image

Crikey, never heard of that one! Sounds intriguing. Will check it out when I have time. Must admit I don’t know if I’d paint a whole scene, but could be useful for references.

Yes, it really is great - you can find a country house, a garden, people out about their day, boats, animals, etc.
You can zoom in on something in the distance and look around 360 degrees. Fun. Enjoy

Such a great idea! Thanks Elisabeth.

Thanks! Have not heard of it but I’m always looking for good reference material!

BE CAREFUL. I was roaming around Mt Rainier in Washington State and I noticed a copyright symbol on the right side of the screen. I am not sure if it is everywhere but it may show up on what you are going to paint and then you will have problems.

As far as I am aware, you are free to sell paintings done from Google’s Streetview data, but the photographs taken by the Googlemaps cameras are copyrighted. So, you do not have permission to repost/display a screenshot of Streetview or make money from the screenshot- but your painting is your own to sell.

From Virtual Paintout’s sidebar:

"Google approves using Street View for art!

Google’s Legal Team has confirmed that artists can use images from Google Street View as reference for creating paintings and drawings, and the artists can sell these works without fear of copyright infringement claim from Google.

*One thing that needs to be made clear. If the artist shows an original view on which a painting is based, i.e. the original screenshot, make sure to keep the Google logo and copyright visible on that screenshot. No logos or mention of Google is necessary on your art itself. As an example, if you show your Street View art in a gallery and want to show the reference beside the painting, the reference would have the logo, not your painting."

So if you’re posting your painting, post the URL of your location rather than a screenshot.

I hope that helps to clear things up! Virtual Paintout is wonderful, it’s really cool to contribute and then see other interpretations of the same place. And it’s a godsend for a poor student like me who can’t afford to travel, but wants to paint different landscapes such as mountains, desert etc, that Google allow us to use their data for reference- to sell or just for studying.