I am iffier about stories based on my image descriptions, or on worlds I've built up, particularly Gearworld. This sort of thing makes my brain itch a bit, mostly because it gets onto shaky legal ground, since it often falls over the line into fan fiction of a sort, and...y'know. The big problem is that I can't read it. You write Digger fan fic, I can't look at it, for very good legal reasons. But even so, I'm usually fairly flattered.
And I understand that inspiration strikes sometimes, and you're beating away in a white-hot frenzy, and suddenly you have this story and you realize it was based on a painting and you wind up e-mailing to ask permission long after the story is a done deal. Believe me, I'm an artist, I understand this. This is fiiiine. Glad I could inspire you. I am so laid back about this that I may require blood thinners.
As a tangent--you want to mention me in your paper/thesis/school project? Dude, that's beyond fine. Good luck. I hope you knock their socks off.
However...if you're gonna e-mail and ask if something's okay...e-mail and ask if it's okay. Don't e-mail and tell me that what you've done is perfectly fine, but...err...thought you'd let me know. Particularly don't mention fair use and your legal rights. It's not that you're wrong, but it's just...not...classy. I haven't told you no yet. Don't go in as if you've caught me sharpening my lawyer.
Do we remember Ursula's perverse streak? Yes, we probably do. If there is anything that Ursula hates, and the reason that Ursula chose to exit the normal workforce as quickly as possible, it's being told what to do. Ursula does not play well with management. (Which is funny, because Ursula luuuuvs directions. She just hates orders.)
The thing is, I'll still probably allow it. My mellowness exceeds my pettiness, and in the grand scheme of things, if you write a story and want to say "And the character looks just like this painting! Here!" it's really so minor a thing that it's really not worth me getting bent out of shape over.
But still! C'mon! Have a little class! "Is this okay?" is fine. I get dozens of those. I really don't mind. I answer them completely on autopilot.
Telling me in advance that it's okay, though...errr...that just...rubs me the wrong way.