Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gustav Klimt

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program

Gustave Klimt Bio Presentation
Art vocabulary words:  Symbolism

Calendar at bottom of post.

Gustave Klimt was born in Vienna Austria in 1862 to a poor family with seven children.  He was very talented from a young age, and he got a scholarship to study at the Vienna School of Applied Arts and Crafts.  His early work is very traditional, but over time his art became much more unusual.  Klimt painted many murals and ceilings in public buildings in his early years as an artist.   Here is a photo of Gustave Klimt.  

Klimt’s paintings were not liked by everyone, but he found a way to support himself whether or not people liked his unusual art – he painted portraits of very rich women in Vienna.  His portraits were wonderful.  The figures often fill the frame from top to bottom, with beautiful, realistic faces. 

  The clothing is much less realistic, made up of shapes filled with fabulously detailed patterns.  

Here is one of his portraits (figure 4: either Emilie Floge or Adele Block Bauer). 

See how the clothes are just bands of color and pattern? 

When Klimt was 32, he and some of his friends in Vienna formed a group of artists called the Secession.  They made art that was different and exciting, and their motto was, “To each age its art, and to art its freedom”.  What that means is that they wanted to make art in a new way, for a new generation of people, and the art they made would be fresh and free from the rules artists used to follow.  This is one of Klimt’s most famous paintings, called The Kiss.  (figure 2)

Klimt liked to paint pictures of women, mostly, and he made them look exotic and mysterious, often using elements from Japanese and ancient Egyptian art, and he used a lot of symbolism in his work.  “Symbolism” means using a certain image that people recognize to mean something, like an image of a heart might be a symbol for “love”.   This is part of Klimt’s painting called the Tree of Life.  (figure 3) 

Trees are a symbol of the connection between the earth and the sky, and between life and death.  If you look closely you can see eyes in the tree that are an Egyptian symbol for good health and protection.

Klimt’s backgrounds are not realistic either.  (Show figures
5 A/B and 6 A/B).  

Sometimes they are wild collections of flowers and symbols, and sometimes just varied shades of color.  Klimt used a lot of gold and silver in his paintings during the height of his career.  That time was called his “golden Phase”.  His most colorful paintings came later.

Today we will be making a portrait in the style of Gustave Klimt, and there is gold and silver paper to use if you want to, and lots of color as well.

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program
Gustave Klimt Mixed Media Portrait Project

Getting ready

Presenters, first thing, please sign onto the Art Lit cart sign-out sheet on the wall.  That way we know where the art carts are at any time.  Presenters should only be coming in at a time they have officially signed up for.  Next, please check the Art Lit cart for the supplies you will need.  The presentation folders and the tools should all be kept on the carts.  You will need to take 3 items from the counter, unless the person before you put them on the cart.  These are the supplies you will need:

On the cart:
Presentation folder and art samples
Desk protector sheets (30)
Glue sticks
Bag of pencils and pencil sharpener
6 empty blue containers for paper bits
6 boxes of colored markers
Take from the counter:
1 bag of mixed papers for collage
1 stack of 30 sheets of white paper
1 bag of faces (30 men and 30 women)

In the classroom, set up the kids’ places for them.  Each student starts out with a desk protector, a sheet of white paper, a pencil, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick.  Each table group gets a box of colored markers.  (Please don’t move markers from box to box.  Each set has a good range of colors and we want them to stay that way.  If your class has fewer than 6 table groups, just don’t use all the boxes of markers.)  You will need to portion out all the little papers for collage into the blue containers, one for each table group (up to 6).  Try to do it evenly so every child can have a bit of everything.  If you sit down and deal the papers out like playing cards into the number of piles you need, you’ll get  good distribution. Next, divide up the faces from the faces bag.  Give each table group about 5 men and 5 women to choose from.  Once the kids are there you can adjust from table to table if someone wants a face they do not have at their table.  You may want to cut the faces apart in advance so the kids don’t cut through the faces other kids need to use.    

The Project

(Things you might want to say to the kids are in purple.)  Try to think of questions to ask the kids as you go along.   Present the artist to the kids and show his work.  Then show them the samples of our project.  Put the Klimt samples where the kids can see them.  Put the page with two examples on the docucam so the kids can see the details.  Have the kids start by writing their names AND their teacher’s name in pencil on the back of their paper. 

Today we are going to make a multimedia portrait in the style of Gustave Klimt.  “Multimedia” means artwork that uses more than one type of art supply, or medium, to make it with.  We will be using colored markers and paper collage.  We will be making portraits of people.  We will try to make our figures’ clothes and backgrounds out of blocks of pattern and color.  You can choose paper patterns to use or draw patterns with markers, or do both. 

Step 1: Choose a face and plan the composition

To start, choose a face you want to use for your portrait.  If you like, you can draw a face yourself, or you can use one of the faces we have printed out for you.  You can cut off the extra paper around it if you like.  Place the face on your paper and move it around; think of where you want the figure to be.  Make sure to leave room for the body below the face.  Gustave Klimt liked to paint portraits of people with their heads right up near the top of the picture.  Use your pencil to lightly sketch out the body and the background.  When you’re sure where the face will go, you can glue it down. 

Step 2: Choose colors of paper to use, and lay them out

Next you should look at the colored and patterned papers on your table.  Think about what colors you’d like to use together.  You can share pieces if more than one person wants to use a certain paper.    Try to cut out your shapes along the edge of the paper instead of in the middle, so the rest of the piece can still be used again.   There is enough silver and gold paper for everyone to get one piece of each, so make sure you don’t take more than your share.  You can do a lot of collage on your portrait if you want, or you can do a lot of drawing on it with markers.  It’s your choice.  
It’s a good idea to lay out your pieces of paper before you glue them down so you can see if you like the arrangement.
Give the kids some time for this.

Step 3:  Glue the pieces down and draw with markers

When you like what you have, glue it down.  Fill in empty parts of the picture with markers.  When Klimt made portrait backgrounds, sometimes he drew intricate flowers and plants, like the person was standing in a garden, or in front of wallpaper.  Sometimes he painted detailed designs all over everything, like swirls, or little interlocking bricks of color and gold.  Look at the examples and think of designs you can use in your own picture.
You can go back and forth as you work, drawing with markers and then going back and gluing down some more paper.    Try to fill in your paper as much as you can, but when you think it is perfect, it’s finished.  You’re the artist. 

Afterwards / Clean up

Please make sure to collect all the tools before you leave the room (place mats, scissors, glue sticks, markers, blue bins and pencils), and ask kids to look for missing items.  We can’t afford to replace things.    

If it is a wet day and you are in a portable classroom, you might tuck the stack of finished artwork in between the plastic place mats to stay dry on the way back to the library.

Ask the kids to pick up all the large or unused pieces of colored paper and return them to the bag.   PLEASE SAVE ALL UNUSED PAPER AND LARGE SCRAPS FOR RE-USE.  Put them into the box in the library.   Have the kids pick up and throw away all the small bits.

Ask the kids to put the pens back into the boxes, and if any went off their tables, check the numbers on the pens to see they get back into the box with the same number.  If any of the pens run out, there will be a box in the library to put them in, so I will know which ones we need. 

Take all projects back to the Art Lit area, do not leave them in teachers’ rooms.  There will be manila envelopes on the library counter.  Please write the teacher’s name on one and put your projects inside.  Leave it in the project box.  We save them to display, then they will go home later on.

Thank you!                                                                                                               September 2018