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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klimt-mother-and-child

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

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Copy Famous Paintings – Gustav Klimt

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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

klimt-the-kiss

Image from https://www.belvedere.at/gustav-klimt, accessed 12/10/2016

Drawing – Are You Over It?

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It is only natural to get tired and fatigued when you are drawing, after all, intense observation is hard work!

You could be getting tired of it if you notice:

  • A sudden awareness of time.
  • An awareness of distractions.
  • A tendency to draw from what you know rather than from observation.

If this happens, stop drawing! (at least for the time being anyway.)

The best way to get past this stage is to develop the technique of “focusing”.  This is done by capturing the most interesting part of the subject.  This plan is best selected ahead of time so you can concentrate on those areas before fatigue sets in.

Developing these chosen areas at the expense of others allows you to conserve your energy and time.  Then you can focus on drawing the good stuff that you like.

I focused on the eyes in the drawing above and left the rest a scribble.  Below Egon Schiele takes the topic further by focusing entirely on the hands and face.

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Will you plan your focus before starting your next drawing?  I don’t know what you think, but to me, there is something really appealing about an unfinished drawing.

An Easy Naive Cityscape Painting After Egon Schiele

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Egon Schiele was a very talented artist from Austria  He was born in 1890 and died of Spanish flu at only 28 years of age.  Schiele created many erotic paintings for which he was eventually jailed.  His unconventional use of colour and line had never been seen before.  You can make your own Schiele painting quickly and easily, here’s how.

Schiele Exercise – Allow 1  to 1 ½ hours

What art materials do I need?

  • A piece of good quality paper , I have used A3 sizd but you can use whatever size takes your fancy.  Not too small is good.
  • A piece of willow charcoal (easy to rub out with your finger)
  • A medium sized watercolour or acrylic brush.
  • A tube of white acrylic paint.
  • A few watercolours.  Work with either red and yellow + black and white (see below *) or blue and green + black and white.  If you use colours with these combinations you will not end up with a rainbow painting.  By restricting yourself with colour this way, you automatically create colour harmony without you knowing it!
  • Rags or disposable kitchen towels for spills
  • A palette, I used an old white kitchen plate.
  • A plastic container for water.

What to paint on?

I selected a hard piece of cardboard (off the back of an old watercolour pad) and primed it with my own homemade gesso primer.    You don’t have to do this; working directly on to paper is fine.

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Select a photograph to paint from

Next I looked at Egon Schiele’s paintings of houses, which I love!  I then selected a photograph of a similar scene and went to work.

EGON SCHIELE PHOTOGRAPH

How to draw the houses

I did a very rough charcoal drawing of the houses. Don’t worry if your shapes are wonky, you can go over them with paint later.  Actually, I got lost in the drawing and eventually created my own shapes, doors and windows.  I just kept on joining the lines and decided to add some crazy trees in the foreground at the end.

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Let’s start painting

Next I painted between the lines with white acrylic paint. Don’t worry if some of the charcoal moves into the paint, this is what will make the painting interesting.  I used the paint directly from the tube with no water to make the surface as textured as possible.  This will create lovely variations in colour when the paint runs all over the place!

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Allow the painting to dry

I had a cup of tea while I allowed this to dry.  Usually 30 minutes is enough time.  Putting the work out in the sun helps too but make sure your work is not in a dusty spot.

Let’s paint with watercolours

Next, select your watercolour tubes according to my colour recommendations above. * TIP: You can make a lovely green with black and yellow, just add white for a lighter green.

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Then check out your photograph and lay colours down according to what you see.  Put the background in first, then the dark colours, the mid tone colours and then the lightest colours last.  Your colours do not have to be exactly the same as the ones you see.  Just try to make sure the dark, mid and light tones are true to what you see otherwise your painting will look great but will only be shapes of colours.  And we want houses, don’t we?

TIP:  Put the watercolours down once only and leave them.  Watercolour has magical properties when left to do its own thing!

Watch your paint brush create magic

At the end I went over the charcoal lines with a thin brush dampened with water.  The charcoal will run and make a line.  I also put in the windows by using black (with a dot of red) watercolour paint and a thin brush.

My finished painting

This is my finished painting, it looks kind of naive but I ended up really liking it.  Putting it in a frame turned it into a magical piece of work totally suitable for my hallway!  So put yours in a frame if you can and see what happens!

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A tip used by professional artists

To make the houses come forward in the painting, paint them in warm colours.  The background or sky will recede if painted in cool colours.  This would require you to buy warm and cool versions of the watercolours mentioned above.  Ask at your art shop if you’re not sure.

You may also like to check out a later post on how to create a vibrant and interesting still life after Schiele.

Drawing – Overwhelmed by Detail?

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As a person who draws, I am sure you’ve probably experienced times when you have been absolutely overwhelmed by visual stuff….meaning detail, detail, detail of your chosen subject.

Above is a picture of St Barbara Kirche (church), Baernbach, Austria.  It featured a collaborative design with one of my favourites, Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.  The church was made for all major world religions in the spirit of ecumenism, tolerance and togetherness.

Enough about that, I loved the place and set out to make a painting but where to start?  I was bogged down by detail.  The last resort, “squinting”.

Squinting works well to simplify the detail and have you focus on the major shapes. This in turn, makes the whole thing completely manageable.  Most artists use this technique and I myself close my right eye and squint at the same time?  (Not a good look!)

Go ahead try it, you may be in for a complete surprise, and if you usually wear glasses, try taking them off.

Below is one of many sketches of the subject and a finished study in gouache.  I have yet to make the major work in oil and it is coming soon – 8 years after I first saw that church.

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How do you filter detail?  Please comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

The Mysterious

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Reclining Woman sketch by Gustav Klimt.

My quote today comes from Jens-Hemming Sorensen:

“A face, a leg, a split open ball – you never get the whole story.  And isn’t that what’s best when contemplating art.  Not being presented with all the answers in advance.”

How wonderful this drawing is.  Klimt just lifts just a corner, making the work so much more interesting and mysterious than having everything served up at once and leaving nothing to the imagination.

I am trying to master this skill and with great difficulty I must say.  How much is too much?  Your comments will be most gratefully received.