Copy Famous Paintings – Gustav Klimt


What is it?

The Kiss“, Gustav Klimt 1907-1908, Oil and gold leaf on canvas.

How was the painting done?

The painting is done in flat blocks of colour with an emphasis on design and influences from the Japanese art of Ukiyo-e.  The male figure is shown as square and rectangular and the female with soft lines and floral patterns.  Klimt has combined visual arts with ornament on a square canvas in oil and 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
  • 3 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 figures on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.  I mostly worked upside down so I was concerned only with shapes.

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!

Finished Piece


Image from, accessed 12/10/2016


What is a Photo Transfer?


The subtle lovely image above looks just like a drawing!  It is in fact, a photo transfer.  Here I will show you how in this easy exercise which takes about 15 minutes.   You will need to prepare first by making a colour photocopy image to work from (I did mine at the local library.)  Photos of relatives, babies and children work really well with this process and with a frame around they look fantastic for a bedroom or wherever.

You will need:

  • A coloured photocopy of a subject you like.
  • A small bottle of Acetone (available from the hardware store)
  • Good quality artists paper (I used cartridge paper)
  • Clean rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • a 6B pencil or similar
  • an artists’ board or firm piece of cardboard to work on.  (I used a resin plate I had for mono printing.)

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As I was working on  a childhood theme at the time, I decided to use this colourful romper suit to work from.  My mother had made one of these suits for me from an Enid Gilchrist pattern book when I was a child.  Working on this created wonderful memories of play, freedom, adventure, sunshine, climbing, playing, freedom and fun.

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Firstly, I cut the cartridge paper to fit the photocopy (in this case A4)  and placed the romper suit image on the board face up.   Make sure the board is clean of dust and debris.  Next I placed a white piece of cartridge paper on top of the play suit image.

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Next I wet a clean rag with the acetone and rubbed it over the top piece of cartridge paper where the image would have been underneath. I could see the shape of the image underneath as I was doing this

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Next I went over the top page with a 6b graphite pencil held horizontally so as not to tear  it.  I pressed firmly and carefully at this stage making sure to cover the entire area where the image would be.  The wet top page dries off quickly so there should be no problems at this stage.

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Next I peeled the acetone soaked top page off to reveal a beautiful shimmering image of the romper suit complete with subtle shadows.

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I then decided to take the work further by cutting around the original image with Photoshop to isolate the play suit (below right.)

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The image on the left was what I came up with.  I preferred the first attempt myself although if you are a “neat freak” this process may appeal to you. Voila!  This was so easy I am going to do some photo transfers of children and give them as gifts for Christmas.

For more on Enid Gilchrist diy patterns and rompersuits see

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


“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

Courage – Daily Therapy

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“Making art is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”  Gene Fowler

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

3.12 Reverse Psychology 50cm x 37cm

“The seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.  These perceived imperfections are  non-judgmental guides to matters you may like to take further. David Bayles .



Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists


“To see far is one thing: going there is another.”  Constantin Brancusi