Copy Famous Paintings – Friedensreich Hundertwasser


What is it?

This painting is a cropped piece of a larger work, Man find in Zahala”, 1975 by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser

How was this painting done?

Man find in Zahala” was done in watercolour with spiral motifs, primitive forms, spectral colors, and repetitive patterns. Throughout his career Hundertwasser used the six spectral colors almost exclusively.  In this picture the forms are abstracted, simplified and embellished with colour.

Hundertwasser believed painting to be a religious experience.  It was his intention to offer his viewers a glimpse of paradise.  This painting is highly decorative as was typical of the style in Austria at the time.  .

Hundertwasser liked to be viewed as a “magician of vegetation” and he is true to form in this painting.

Why should we care?

We have to admire Hundertwasser for his unusual ability to turn his skills to many diverse projects.  He was multi-talented.  Not content to merely paint and make prints, he was also an architect without credentials who wrote manifestos, designed posters and stamps, and travelled the globe bringing construction projects to realization and collecting awards. He was also an outspoken proponent of many environmental and anti-nuclear causes. Hundertwasser is best known for his vibrantly-colored, opulently-decorated paintings, graphic works and contribution to printmaking techniques.

Where can I see other paintings like it?

Hundertwasser’s early paintings were heavily influenced by the Vienna Secession tradition of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. His works from 1949 through to 1953 also display close affinity with well-known paintings by Paul Klee. “Small Rhythmic Landscape”, 1920 by Paul Klee has the same dreamlike landscape theme with similar primitive forms and repetitive patterns to those seen in Hundertwasser’s paintings.

Hundertwasser was good friends with and influenced by Rene (Bro) Brault.  Similarities in their work can be seen in Paysage Vallonn”, (date not found).  Brault’s palette was totally different from Hundertwasser’s  yet their treatment of trees was almost identical.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

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

You will need

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

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 soluble crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is a big plus if the watercolour crayon mark bleeds into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over or blended in with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the colour you put down

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing with the crayon 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 onto good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.

 Hundertwasser’s style is displayed perfectly in this short video.

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