Edited to add: Although the copyright statement is still live on the site, it is no longer a gatekeeper (i.e. you do not have to pass through that page before preceding to the rest of the site).
I want to tell you all some reasons behind the copyright statement on my site. I wanted to tell you that despite this being up, if I have given you permission in the past to use your portrait art (or other art) either on the web or on your desktop, that still stands. The reason I put up the statement is because I have been doing a lot of research and reading lately about copyright protection, and as a visual artist, I really need to have something like this on my web site and on anything I publish to the web, for my own protection. I've worried about this stuff my whole life as an artist. But now with the advent of the internet, it is much easier for people to steal. I also must say that, without the internet, I would not have this wonderful pet portrait career! So I am in no way knocking the web. The web is my life, LOL.
You might wonder why I did not put it up before. Well, as I said I've worried about this my whole life. If I really let myself get taken by the fear that something could ultimately get stolen and if I worried about it during the beginning of my pet portraiture career, then there would be no pet portrait career. I had to suspend these ingrained fears regarding those issues because those feelings can cripple you if you let them. They contributed to crippling me for a long time and I let that go when I decided to work hard to make my art career a reality for myself. I just had to have faith that I would not have any issues, and thus far, I haven't thank goodness.
I'm at a point now where I am working hard on taking my artwork to a new level (which I will explain further in the upcoming months), and thus I need to protect myself in a way that is much more public and blatant. That is why I posted the Copyright Statement and why I placed the page directly after my splash page with "Agree" to enter my site. So, I hope everyone understands that it was just something I needed to do for my own protection. Putting myself out there is now requiring me to take these steps.
In the past, I have emailed portrait proofs to my clients instead of posting them on my web site. I realize that, on occasion, they have probably forwarded the graphics to others. That's okay. I never explicitly asked them not to, and I am sure there seemed to be nothing wrong with doing so from their perspective, so no harm done!! :) I'm just in the process of changing my methods of doing the portrait proofing - from emailing attachments to clients, to now instead posting the proofs on my site - so in the future showing friends the portrait process will be as simple as sending the link I provide. I would just hate to think that I may have offended any of my clients whom in the past I have emailed proofs to, or who had asked and received permission to use their portrait image in another way.
I hope that you can understand and appreciate the thought that went into this decision. I truly appreciate and am very thankful for all of your support, kindness and your friendship too. :)