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Mexico City Street View

December 30, 2009

Yesterday, catching up a little on some blogs, I discovered The Virtual Paintout on Wendy’s Quirky Artist blog. The concept is to go to a city on Google Maps Street view, select a scene to paint and paint it.  There’s a different city challenge every month, and they accept paintings of that city only for that month.  December is Mexico City, and as I’ve been distinctly lacking in the motivation department lately, I thought it would be fun to give it a go.

This exercise is much harder than I thought at first.  Just finding a good street view takes time, unless you know the city.  As I was joining at the very last minute, I just did a quick sketch without even saving a screen shot.  This is not the most picturesque or typical of scenes, but I liked the idea of two people having what looks like an intimate conversation being caught in the act by google’s camera team.  Are they boyfriend and girlfriend? illicit lovers? brother and sister? or maybe this is a drug deal?  I’m one of those people that loves to eavesdrop on conversations in cafés, and this looks like a whole new way to spy on strangers.

Here’s the sketch, for what it’s worth.  I wish now that I had taken a screen shot, so I could do a better one.  Maybe next month.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 10:49 am

    But I liked the softness of the colours. A good New Year for you!

  2. December 30, 2009 11:22 am

    I find it incredibly difficult to find a good view – am also fascinated by the frozen moments the camera catches between people, this is intriguing!

  3. Murilo S Romeiro permalink
    December 30, 2009 2:18 pm

    Nice sketch and colors.
    I found The Virtual Paintout visiting CathyG’s blog ( but I don’t remember how I got there …) two days ago.
    I loved the idea and almost immediately run to Googgle Street View to find some scene to draw.
    Mexico City has amasing old facades with nice doors , balconies, windows and a lot of shophouses and people at downtown streets.
    Unfortunately only three works can be uploaded .
    I hope see your artwork again next month.
    Happy New Year!
    Best regards

  4. December 30, 2009 3:57 pm

    NIce job! I love the green.
    I run across the Virtual Paintout but haven’t gotten around to giving it a try. Maybe in January.

  5. December 30, 2009 4:13 pm

    I wouldn’t change a thing! It’s fresh and immediate and fun. (I, too, always wonder what the people in my street views are thinking and saying.) Love the colors!

    Happy New Year,

  6. December 30, 2009 4:17 pm

    Your sketch is really nice! The yellow and green make is so lively! I like it how you made it so simple and real at the same time.

    I know of Virtual Paintout and tried to find a street view of Mexico city to sketch. Like you say, it is really hard to zero in on an plausible site. I spent a lot of time navigating and never came up with anything. But the idea is really neat, I will try again in January.

    Happy New Year to you!

  7. dinahmow permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:44 pm

    It’s an intriguing idea.I’ve tried sketching from some old and faded holiday photos; maybe I should try the Google thing.
    dinah at

  8. December 30, 2009 9:43 pm

    Beautiful, and bright colors the way Mexico City would look! Happy New Year, Casey! Thanks for the virtual trip to MC.

  9. December 31, 2009 2:25 pm

    Love this, Casey. Pink and Green are two of my most favorite combos. Also like the composition and conversation. The google camera team? I have mixed feelings. It’s fun to be a voyeur (and to see slices of life all over the world) but I’m not wild about the privacy issues…. Happy New Year with warm wishes for all good things to come!

  10. December 31, 2009 8:58 pm

    The colors and the loose painting style are as usual, wonderful. Happy new year!

  11. December 31, 2009 9:34 pm

    Good job on the figures, your figure sketches seem to be helping.
    You may find it useful to e-mail the link you have selected to paint. I always work with a full screen image, then when you reduce it click [LINK] and click [SEND]. Then enter your email address in as both TO: and FROM: boxes. The great thing about this feature is the link will bring you back to th exact same image as often as you want.

  12. quirkyartist permalink
    January 1, 2010 7:32 am

    I was at virtual paintout today, hoping against hope that the city for January would be up. It was probably still December there wherever Bill Guffey is. But I recognised your style before I saw your name – wonderful work. Always so free.
    The first cities I did, I had been to, but the last three I have not. What I do is, as the little yellow man wanders around the city, when I come across a possibility for a drawing, I paste the link into a draft email. Then I can always go back, and I can also link to it on my blog.

  13. January 1, 2010 12:20 pm

    You are so brave with your yellows! Happy new year, Casey—this time last year we were in Paris together. It was one of the high spots of an often difficult year. Oh, and then there was our glorious time in Brittany—THE high spot of the year!!
    You’re mentioned on my blog this morning ;D.

  14. January 2, 2010 9:28 am

    This is an intriguing picture, and I love the colours. I’m also very interested in the source – I’ve been thinking a lot about surveillance and how we are all watched without knowing it. Those two people had no idea they were on Google cameras, and now they are in a painting!

  15. January 2, 2010 9:25 pm

    Hi Casey, What a fun idea! I like how your piece turned out; the colors speak of a warm climate. And the two having a conversation is intriguing! Happy New Year!

  16. January 4, 2010 2:37 pm

    Ces verts sont magnifiques j’adore!!!Tu utilises quelle marque d’aquarelle?

  17. January 4, 2010 2:37 pm

    Et j’oubliais de te souhaiter une très bonne année!!

  18. January 10, 2010 10:53 am

    This month it’s Corsica for virtual paintout – I was going to try but I have yet to find a view and now have another project on the go – taking inspiration from the Musee d’Orsay exhibition of post impressonism that we have here now. I have enjoyed catching up with your blog – last year was not very arty for me – this year promises to be better. All the best for 2010, Casey

  19. January 20, 2010 8:18 am

    I love your colours! I’ve already heard of this challenge and it does sound fun but I haven’t given in… yet.

  20. January 22, 2010 7:58 am

    J’aime beaucoup ce croquis. Ce vert fluo donne du punch et un certain style, c’est chouette !
    J’ai pas dû tout comprendre mais en gros c’est un croquis pour google Maps ? (Je dois sérieusement me remettre à l’anglais !!)

  21. January 27, 2010 4:52 pm


  22. February 8, 2010 11:13 pm

    Et c’est là qu’on rêve : à nous d’imaginer l’histoire de ces deux personnes… C’est ce que j’aime dans une œuvre, pouvoir vagabonder…

  23. September 7, 2012 12:55 am

    Great paintings! That is the type of information that should be shared around the net. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this post higher! Come on over and consult with my site . Thank you =)

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