Monday, July 11, 2011

2011: Art Project 5--Tree of Life

It's funny, I don't remember ever learning about Gustav Klimt in my 20th Century Art course. But, I do remember learning about the Symbolist movement so we must have glossed over Klimt and I don't remember. But, I was reminded of his work while watching a Little Einsteins episode with my girls when they were little. One of the very first episodes used Klimt's Tree of Life as the artwork (Episode: Ring Around the Planet).
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."

Here are a few of his works of art:

Sketch for the Stoclet Frieze, 1905-1909

The Kiss, 1907-1908

Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer, 1907
The Tree of Life, 1909

I didn't really get into much with the girls other than asking them what they saw in the paintings. They said "swirls" and then I asked them what sort of colors he liked. They said, "yellow and brown". I told them that Klimt that a "gold period" and that he was inspired by mosaics (like we went over last week). I also showed them the student artwork found here. I used the following image to guide the girls in starting their own Tree of Life.
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:

Ella's Tree of Life
Lily's Tree of Life

I really LOVE how these both turned out! The girls did a great job! A much more successful project than last week. :-)

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