Copy Famous Paintings – Gustav Klimt


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.

2007 2016 013


Image from, accessed 12/10/2016

Drawing – Great Masters – Kathe Kollwitz

Kathe K 001

Kathe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait. 1924. Lithograph. Courtesy Fogg Art Museum.

Kathe Kollwitz  was a German printmaker, painter and sculptor.

Her work was known for its emotion and sorrowfulness.  She often depicted poverty, war, death and human degradation.  Kathe Kollwitz used tone to create mood in her drawings  using thick crayon or slashing ink lines.  The picture above seems as near to a perfect drawing as I can imagine.   Kathe has incredibly used no restatements or “feeling out” lines.  She scultped the hollows and creases of the face using heavy pressure and the side of the crayon.  Lighter pressure was used elsewhere.  Sometimes Kathe Kolwitz seemed to build up areas in successive layers.

By using the sharp edge of the crayon Kollwitz has been able to define the features within the soft modeling which has gone before.  You can see this in the edge of the face, forehead wrinkles and in the line of the mouth.  It looks like a razor or the sharp edge of a knife has been used to scrape out highlights on the nose and lower lip at the end.

Kathe K 002

See how the drawing then simply ends making the image all the more compelling.


See if you can copy Kathe Kollwitz’s handwriting by using a stick of charcoal or Conte crayon.  Using the side of the crayon, press down for the darks and ease up for the lights. A tonal variation may also be obtained by means of gradually adding overlapping layers with the crayon.  Lastly, use the tip of the crayon to define the drawing and sharpen up details.

Katte Kowlitz

This is a drawing I did after one of Kathe Kollwitz’s sad drawings of a mother and child.

More about Kathe Kollwitz’s sad and poignant works…..