He was inspired by trips to Venice and Ravenna where he studied beautiful mosaics and Byzantine imagery. This led to his "gold period" where you can definitely see this influence in his style. You can find a nice background on Klimt here. I really like this quote by Klimt:
"I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women... There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night... Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures."
Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer, 1907
The Tree of Life, 1909
Below: Our workspace and supplies for this project. I pulled out all the more "golden" hues--yellows, oranges, and browns:
We pretty much followed the directions to a T. We started with the trunk, then branches.
I helped the girls a bit with getting the branches started and they filled in the swirls at the end. Then they started to color them in.
They added in some polka dots in different colors in Lily's case and Ella stuck with the gold theme. What I'm really loving about their art this summer is that they are being very thoughtful about their process (as seen below). They are trying out different colors and techniques on a separate piece of paper before they apply it to their actual artwork. Awesome!
Their final products: