van Gogh with pipe and bandaged ear

Novus Great Art Challenge #6

The Self-Portrait!

"Le Confinement" Continues...

Well, we are still here, still confined to barracks, even though thankfully there is a partial relaxing of the lockdown here in France from next week from the 11th May – not a full relaxation as some in the UK report, but at least we will be able to travel 100kms from the house instead of just 1km!

So, keeping to the theme of working with what is around us, the time has come to tackle that subject most shy away from – the Self-Portrait. But fear not, we hope to show you that this really can be fun and will allow you to really let  rip with your imagination.

For this Challenge, you should now know the drill, we would like you to first have a look at the examples in the gallery of images we have compiled below. We have tried to gather together a set of self-portraits by artists who have not tackled it from the standpoint that if it doesn’t look like a photograph it’s no good! Rather they have used it to experiment, to try different things – and this is what, for this week we would like you to do.

There is no time limit – nor a limit to just one go at it – the more the merrier! Indeed, try doing several in different styles and using different things. Even using things that you would not immediately think of as “Art” materials. Below is an example by artist Nathan Wyburn using soya sauce to draw a portrait of Grayson Perry and adding noodles for the hair!

Still from Grayson Perry's Art Club showing portrait made using soya sauce and noodles

Some of you may already be watching it, but if not you just must. The “it” is “Grayson Perry’s Art Club” on Channel 4, available on catch up – the link is here. The first program (which the link will take you to) is all about portraits and may help give you some ideas. People then submit there work for an exhibition he will be mounting at a later date.

For the more enterprising amongst you the program in a couple of weeks is titled “View from my window”. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 7th May – so as we have already done this challenge, why not have a go! The link for submitting work is here.

 Let your imagination run with this, there are no limits  – try a different method, try collage, paint on a photo or collage things onto it to transform it and remember there is no wrong way! In fact make this the time you try a different method – stretch yourself – you have nothing to lose! If you want inspiration just search online, for example “collage portraits” and see what comes up.

Our Self-Portrait Gallery

The Proportions of the Face

For those of you who have forgotten the quick way to establish the proportions of the face’s features, we have done a little video demonstrating this. The only thing to remember is that as soon as the position of the head moves from the full frontal, all the lines become curved not straight. But above all tis is a guide only – the lines are there to guide you and start you off and can change! Also, please make allowances for the video – it is our first attempt!

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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