LAHL: Lesson 2 Gustav Klimt

This week’s lesson in the Love Art Happy Life was on Gustav Klimt and the task was to do a Klimt-inspired piece as homework.  I continue to recommend this e-course as it is helping me think about art differently.

So, I did a Google image search for Klimt and found that he was quite prolific.  The piece that I really liked and wanted to try to emulate though was the Tree of Life.  I guess this makes sense as the mural is the most recognizable work of Klimt’s career.

The concept of the tree of life if enduring across cultures and despite nuances in meaning, it is a symbol that connects us across cultures.  The mural by Klimt has figures on either side, but I chose to represent the middle for two reasons:

  1. I am terrible at drawing faces.
  2. It is clearly the inspiration for a lot of folk art pieces and is quite whimsical, despite the tonal quality.

Klimt’s Tree of Life Inspiration Piece

The Tree of Life I am quite fond of the swirls and bizarre little animals that seem to live in the tree.  It seems as though there are some representations of snakes, there is definitely a crow or blackbird of sort and what I can only imagine as abstracted quail.

It is so fun!

I also really like the stylized flower bed below the tree and how it looks so much like a tapestry.  I had no idea how I was going to paint some of the aspects, but I knew I wanted to try.  The first question, as always, was size and then materials.

My Tree of Life

my klimtI decided to use one the 3 1/2″ x 7″ sheets of watercolor paper that I had cut down for my Do Art Daily journal that I use for my Journal 52 entries.  I also decided that I am going to continue to blend the two journals as it just makes sense.  I mean, what would I do with 11″ x 14″ sheets of all of my practice works?  It would be silly.

For materials, I decided to start with watercolors and Inktense and then outlined with my Micron pens and added the little abstract bits on the bark.  I also added what I call the snakes and the quail and the crow.  Lastly, I made my little garden bed below the shade of the tree.  I used some combinations of watercolor with white acrylic paint to make a more opaque set of colors and I feel like this worked out well for some of the blues and lavender colors.

If I had it to do over, I might consider going full acrylic or adding in some more intense colors as the watercolors get a lot lighter as the day goes on and they dry.

If you’re interested in trying this for yourself, I absolutely encourage you to do an image search and find a piece that inspires you or just start doodling and see where it goes!

Til next week, have fun and find a way to grow your creativity!


Marie Wheeler