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