A Klimt Art Fan (forever)

I saw my first Klimt painting projected on a large screen in a college auditorium during an Art History class. It was The Kiss, painted between 1907-8 in Vienna. That was almost four decades ago, and I’m still moved by Klimt’s work.

my favorite Klimt Drawing and Watercolor book
My son gave me this book on Klimt’s drawings and watercolors years ago, and I *love* it.

Inspired by Master Artists

Artists looking to sharpen their painting skills have studied, and harnessed inspiration from master works for centuries.

A deep dive into the work of an artist you admire can expand your approach to color, composition and mark making, as well as work ethic.

Have you ever chosen an artist and scrutinized their work for tips and influence to help advance your own art? Who are you art heros?

I’ve explored Gustav Klimt, Anders Zorn, Jessie Willcox Smith and Pierre Bonnard in different posts on this blog, among others.

A beautiful portrait drawing in pencil by Klimt

Posts on Pierre Bonnard

Visit these posts featuring Pierre Bonnard’s incredible paintings below:

  1. Bonnard painted still lifes and room interiors rich with color, even though the rooms he occupied were unremarkable in real life. See more about Bonnard’s still life paintings here.
  2. The Tate museum assembled a show of Bonnard’s work, and they published a video about the exhibit that you can see here.
  3. Pierre Bonnard painted the people and the rooms he loved and lived in. This post talks about that, and how we can tap into those same sources of inspiration all around us.
linocut in process, using a sharpie to add a drawing to the block
A linocut in process; a rough line drawing followed by a sharpie marker drawing to map the areas that will be left uncut

Seeing Klimt’s Art in Person

In the Spring of 2006, I went to the Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) exhibit at Los Angeles Museum of Art with my step dad.

Five of Klimt’s paintings were stolen by the Nazi regime from the collection of Ferdinand and Adel Bloch-Bauer during World War II, and eventually settled in an Austrian museum.

After 10 years in courtrooms, the paintings were returned to their rightful owner, Adel and Ferdinand’s niece, Maria Altmann of Los Angeles.

Upon their return, the five paintings were exhibited here in LA. The centerpiece of the exhibit – an amazing 55″ x 55″ oil painting with elaborate gold and silver leaf – Adel Bloch Bauer I (1907) – was a wonder to behold in person. After the exhibit, it was moved to the Neue Galerie in New York.

Printing another linocut in a similar size and format on the kitchen counter

That Painting

It’s not possible for photography to relay the impact of Klimt’s large, ornate relief surfaced, pattern-rich, shimmery masterpiece on a computer screen or a book page.

You can watch a short, but informative video from the Neue Galerie that features close ups and details on the painting in this lovely video.

If you like Klimt (& German and Austrian art in general), and you’re in NY, consider seeing Klimt’s portrait of Adele in person. It will take your breath away.

Winged – linocut print number 9 in a small edition of 10
Inking another linocut – getting ready to print

Act Fast When You’re Inspired

All that to say… I made this little Klimt inspired linocut print – Winged – shortly after seeing the exhibit of the Adele Bloch Bauer painting. Can you tell? Of course you can!

I’m pleased that I’ve been influenced by Klimt for so long. His figurative works and ornamentation are so beautiful – they sing love songs to my sense of aesthetics.  

I’m also grateful for the access to his work – in my book collection, and through museums and images online.  

Find Your Art Heroes

Reach for your art heroes when you feel uninspired or stuck. Look closely at their work, and marinate in their colors, compositions and subjects.

Inspiration is available in the history and images of the artists who strived to create something from nothing before us.

How lucky are we?

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’re making things with your hands.

I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. This post by Sadie Valerie on blocking in a cast drawing is specific, and helpful if you’re trying to get more accurate on your drawing skills.

P.P.S. Can you imagine the actor Bill Murray’s face painted into classic historical portraits? This artist can.

More sketchbook and pen and ink inspiration from the Klimt book I mentioned above

Art Quote

…to really learn how to paint, attention must also be given to the question of “What am I painting?” –  in other words, “What am I seeing?”.  It’s not enough to know ‘how to paint’, if all that means is knowing the various techniques of the painting process.  One must see, and understand what one sees, in order to paint well.  Each stage and exercise in the painting process is accompanied by its own modes of visual analysis.  It is as much by the acquisition of these modes of visual analysis, as by the acquisition of the manual and procedural techniques, that we learn to paint. 
Anthony Ryder ~ from a painting demo on his web site

Winged Linocut with watercolor and colored pencil (available in my Etsy Shop here)
a tuxedo cat with golden eyes inviting you to get back into making art
Get six tips to paint more at BelindaTips.com
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