Novus Great Art Challenge #10

A Random Landscape

Unbelievable as it may seem this is our 10th Challenge in the 11th week since we had to close the studio because of Coronavirus!

Despite an easing of restrictions in some areas we are still unable to travel back and forth between France and the UK as we used to. As a way of keeping up your enthusiasm and interest in painting when you still can’t get to classes we are still going to set you a challenge each week.

For this week, we are looking for you to produce a landscape – but one you probably don’t know yet! As it seems likely that foreign travel will be very difficult in the next few months we have looked to Google Earth to help you get inspiration, and get you out of  the UK!

Full instructions will be included below, but essentially the web-site we are directing you to (Mapcrunch) generates a random “Street View”, (which many of you will be aware of looking for directions on Google Maps),  from around the world. By clicking and holding down you can look around 360° at that spot. If having had a quick look around and deciding the view is not for you , just click a button and another pops up.  There is also, if you want more control an option to select a secific country and the random locations will then only be specific to that country.

The picture below shows the view I got on opening the website today. On a bleak road in southern Finland, obviously in winter, but an interesting painting could come out of it, and making those composition decisions- what to include and what to leave out.

MapCrunch - random view
MapCrunch with Country Options

In the picture above I have tried to show simply how it works. If you click on it you will bring up a bigger picture. The green “GO” button (No. 1) is the one you click on to generate a new view. The “OPTIONS” button (No.2) is the one to click to bring up the counry choices. Click again to remove the panel.

Before you start, it is always a good idea to do a quick “Value” sketch of the scene to establish darks, lights and mid-tones. These sketches do not have to be very detailed or take very long – the one I did above of our wintery Finnish scene took no more than 2-3 minutes if that. The best way to approach this sketch is to squint at your scene which serves to exclude the details  and helps you to focus on the main dark and light areas in your picture – some may need enhancing or reducing. The main point is that his little sketch will give you a feel for how the painting will look.

What is important is to try something you don’t normally do, or the sort of scene that you have shied away from in the past. Let’s not fall into a comfort blanket and do the same sort of thing you always do! You know who I mean!

link to Mapcrucnch is here:

Our thanks to an excellent tool in Mapcrunch. If in need of any inspiration look back at the landscapes in previous Challenges or on line, but this is really about “YOUR” interpretation of the scene before you.

Just a quick note on your submissions – please ensure that when you photograph your pictures they are in an even light without contrasting shadow areas, and also that you use a high setting on the camera or phone when taking it – so that the longest side is at least 1000 pixels, as anything less is really too low a resolution for the screen.  It makes my life much easier when trying to process the images! Thank you!!

As usual, a  reminder again that we now have a dedicated Instagram page where you can follow along – follow us and spread the word – anyone can join in!


We are using #novusgreatartchallenge  – add it to any pictures you paint or draw and post on your own pages!

and of course our Facebook page where entries will be posted

We are looking forward to seeing you entries!

Picture of His 'n' Hers

His 'n' Hers

"I'm afraid Art is not one of the 'pivotal' Trades in the modern state, but rather condemned as some foreign substance like dirt, on the rim of the wheel liable at any moment to be dropped off. So be it, it is an idiotic world...Still we HOPE, STRIVE, CONTINUE..."


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