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Novus Great Art Challenge

Some General Guidance to help you carry out the challenges

First and foremost the idea behind these challenges, is to try and lighten the mood and have fun!

With that in mind and following on from the messages we had from quite a number of you, who were unsure of how to go about making a picture in such a short space of time, we have decided to put together this guide.

Most members of Novus Art Classes have been used to working on fairly complex paintings requiring a lot of time and involving several layers of paint. However we now all find ourselves in a different situation with the isolation measures in force. We are not in the studio and therefore, while some may have dedicated spaces to work on their art not all do and it is therefore more difficult to set up paints and easels – if indeed we have them. A different way of thinking is required, but also an opportunity for us all to develop our art by trying out different things – different materials, different styles, different ways of looking!

Now is the time to get out those paints or pastels or whatever that you have been meaning to try but never have quite got round to it!

1) Time

Do not spend more than 1 hour on the challenge, in fact the less time the better. This might seem scary at first, but the idea behind it is to force you to see the essentials – what is it about the thing you are looking at that attracts you to it? Don’t look at all the details – they will be distracting. the longer you spend on something the more chance of you getting diverted with unecessary details!

20 minutes!
Just have a go!

2) Materials

You can use anything you want – take the opportunity to try something else, especially if you don’t have your normal paints etc. to hand – experiment! It does not have to be your full painting kit! At its very basic a pencil and sheet of paper – even printer paper – will do. If you can’t find a pencil use a biro – it will work just as well, or try collage or use a photograph as the starting point and draw on that with paint or a felt pen.

Don’t think that you can only draw or paint on “proper” paper or canvas. Be inventive – any old piece of cardboard or the back of a drawing pad, newspaper or board will do as well. I painted the view below looking at our studio through the back door window in an hour using the discarded central cut-out of a cardboard window mount!

Also don’t feel you have to be at the window – take a photo and work from that – the important thing is to have a go – get all the family involved!

View through back door window

3) Be Organised

Most of you will not be fortunate enough to have a dedicated room to do your art, so being orhganised is very important. Rather than try and have every bit of art material you own to hand, rationalise and get together just a few basics – you will be less likely to feel overwhelmed by it all. 

If drawing, a couple of pencils – H, 2B or 3B, a rubber and sharpening knife (or pencil sharpener if you must!) and a container for pencil shavings, plus some paper.

If painting – a basic set of colours – White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Crimson Alizarin, Ultramarine blue, Coereuleum Blue (if you have it, but not esential) Raw Umber, Cadmium Yellow and Viridian or Pthalo Green.

For collage all you need are scissors, glue and a sheet of paper (newspaper will do) and source material to cut out. If you don’t have any just paint some sheets of paper a single colour – one red, one blue etc and use that. 

David Hockney collaged self-portrait on newspaper
view through a window using 2 biros

And don’t forget if you need more inspiartion follow the link here

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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