Copy Famous Paintings – Gustav Klimt

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What is it?

Mother and Child (a cropped version) by Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt.

How was the painting done?

The painting is done in flat blocks of colour with an emphasis on design with influences from the Japanese art of Ukiyo-e.  The mother and child are shown with soft lines and floral patterns.  Klimt has combined visual arts with ornament on canvas in oil with applied layers of gold leaf.

Why should we care?

Klimt went against his academic training to create his own eclectic, decorative, erotic and fantastic style.  He combined influences from the Arts and Craft MovementArt Nouveau and Japonisme.  There had been prior opposition to art which had been considered “decorative“.  Klimt was brave enough to challenge those beliefs and we today, are the lucky beneficiaries.

Where can I find more paintings like this?

You will see similar decorative patterning in the work of Egon Schiele and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark watercolour crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • an hour or two

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water colour crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is okay for the watercolour crayon mark to bleed into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • create a perfect skin tone by blending warm yellow, warm red, a dot of cool blue and lots of white, experiment first
  • acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.  It’s your painting after all!

This is my completed painting.  At one point, I painted over the drawing of the flowers and had to allow the painting to dry.  I then drew the flowers in again and painted them.

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Image from http://www.illusionsgallery.com/Mother-Child-Klimt.html, accessed 12/10/2016

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Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Today I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them.” Deepak Chopra

Learn to Draw – Model in the Interior

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Model in the Interior

In our second last life drawing class we were introduced to the notion of drawing the model in the interior and I had no idea what how complex the subject could be.

Drawing the model in the interior involves a dialogue between wildly different elements, sometimes in conflict or opposition with each other. Depictions of interiors can reveal a great deal about human life, social conditions, politics, history and the personality and mood of the artist.

To start with, the figure needs to be compatible with the interior; the two elements must go together.  The interior becomes somewhat of a “still life” with the figure adding specificity. The conflict results from the figure distorting the sense of interior environment of the drawing. The psychology is within the figure and in the field much less.

Secondly, the figure in an interior symbolizes a certain take on an individual in terms of his interior/exterior. The interior becomes a pictorial desire to gain light inside and another kind of light outside and therein lays the contrast, the interior and exterior lights are different.

There is an exception in the interiors of Matisse. His outdoors and indoors were consistent (except in the drawing) and sometimes his outdoors were more artificial and illuminated than the inside. His exteriors appeared to be a continuation of interior space.

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“Open Window Collioure” – Henri Matisse 1905

http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/highlights/highlight106384.html

In 1942 an interviewer asked Matisse, “Where does the charm of your open windows come from?” He replied:

“Probably from the fact that for me the space is one unity from the horizon right to theinterior of my work room, and that the boat which is going past exists in thesame space as the familiar objects around me; and the wall within the window does not recreate two different worlds.”

Radio broadcast transcript made available by Pierre Schneider, J. D. Flam, Matisse on Art, Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1978.

My favourite drawings of the model in the interior (above) were done by the amazing Richard Diebenkorn.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Diebenkorn

In a 1952 radio interview Diebenkorn stated, “There is a hierarchy of importance to the various elements, the chair less, the rug less, the hands, clothes more, the faces vary accordingly.”  http://www.richarddiebenkorn.net/diebenkorn_interview.htm#.VZCvN0ZBlQI

Here are some drawings I did in class.

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Model in the Interior

Can’t say I was overly pleased with them.  The teacher said the man on the top right was too skinny and the lady on the stool drawing needs to be cleaned up.  Oh well, back to the drawing board so to say!

A drawing and painting site by Edward A Burke is a great reference.

Drawing – Gesture and Movement

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“We may think of gesture as the character of the action.  Look at two vases – one tall and graceful, the other fat and squat. They are as different in character as two people might be. 

Gesture, as you will come to understand it, will apply to everything you draw.  Even a pancake has gesture.  There is gesture in the way in which a newspaper lies on the table or in the way a curtain hangs.

The key to the nature of a subject is its gesture and from it all other aspects of drawing proceed.

It is far more important that your studies contain this comprehension of movement, of gesture, than that they contain any other single thing.” Kumon Nicolaides

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror
and each will smile
at the others welcome.

Derek Walcott

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“The ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Is Martin Luther King Jr. saying that our actions define us?

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Now, let’s suppose that there’s someone who repeats a pattern of being unhelpful and sometimes unkind. You can still offer love and compassion either from a distance or by setting boundaries. In any case, know that when someone chooses to act without positive personal regard for you, it’s almost never about you.” Michelle Fondin