Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Paul Klee

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy 


Paul Klee Bio

Paul Klee (pronounced “clay”) was born in Switzerland in 1879, and he lived until 1940.  He made artworks in many media, and had a very individual, playful style.  Paul Klee had a natural talent for drawing, and over his life as an artist, he mastered how to use black and white tones, and also became an expert in color theory, which is how to combine colors.  He usually made small works of art, and they often show a very fragile quality that some people see as child-like.   
(Show Exhibit 1 page)

                              Tale a la Hoffmann, 1921                   
"In Engelshut" (In the Angel's Care) 1931        

Senesio, 1922

Klee’s work is always considered modern, but people have not been able to fit it neatly into one certain style or another.   He generally worked on his own, away from other artists of the time, and interpreted new art trends in his own way. He was inventive in his methods and technique. Klee worked in many different media, and often combined them into one work. He used fabrics, cardboard, metal foils, wallpaper, and newsprint, combined with pastel, watercolor, oil paint, ink and tempera.
Paul Klee was not a terribly good student in school, and liked to draw in his school books.  But he was always a great reader, and loved art and music.  He was a very talented violinist, and he played violin in an orchestra until his art career got too busy for him to continue.  His parents had wanted him to become a musician, but he got more interested in visual art and by age 16 showed a great talent for drawing.  He went to art school in Switzerland, then went on to study art in Italy.  He had trouble using color, and felt like painting was too hard for him, so the first part of his art career he had more success with black and white drawings, etchings, and graphic illustrations.  He came to be known for his sense of humor, and his playful drawings and paintings. (Show Exhibit 2 and 4 pages.)  Paul Klee liked to do drawings and paintings of fanciful animals, and here are some of those works. 
Bird Garden

The Friendship

Fish Magic

Detail Pig


Aged Phoenix

In 1914 Klee visited North Africa and was very impressed by the bright light and colors there.  It was a real breakthrough for him as an artist, and he said, “Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever... Color and I are one. I am a painter.”  After that, Klee began to paint many works with colored rectangles in them, which art scholars compare to musical notes.  Klee combined his colored rectangles in harmonious ways, much as a composer creates harmony by arranging musical notes.  (Show Exhibit 3 page.)
May Picture
Red / Green Architecture

The vase, 1938 - Paul Klee
Die Vase, 1938

Insula Dulcamara, 1938
Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus, a famous art and design school in Germany, for ten years. 
Today we will be making watercolor drawings of animals in the style of Paul Klee.

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program

Paul Klee – Watercolor Drawings of Animals

Getting ready
The tools should be waiting on the Art Lit carts, in the storage closet of the Maker Space room.  You can either reserve the Maker Space room to use during your lesson, or you can take a cart to the classroom.  (If you take a cart to a classroom, you need to take an old drying rack with you too.)   Some supplies will need to be taken from the storage room and added to the cart.  These are the supplies you will need:
These should be on the cart:
Project folder
Black colored pencils
Paint brushes, Water jars, Plastic palettes
Liquid watercolor paints in squeeze bottles
Plastic placemats
Bucket with sponge for cleaning up spills
(If the squeeze bottles of watercolor get low, they can be refilled with the bottles of paint on the shelf that is to the left of the storage area door.  BUT THEY NEED TO BE DILUTED!  Use 4 parts water to each part watercolor paint.)

This will be on the third cart in the closet, for you to take for your class:
1 stack of watercolor paper (It’s good, expensive paper, so don’t waste it, and bring back leftovers.)

Give each kid a placemat, a black colored pencil, a sheet of watercolor paper, and a paintbrush.  Hand out paper towels from the classroom if possible, one per kid.  Fill jars with water and put them out for every 2-4 kids.  Whatever works.   Pre-fill the palettes with watercolor paint before the lesson, but don’t hand them out yet, unless you have older students who can handle it.  Don’t fill them too high or they’ll spill easily.  They can be shared by at least two kids.  If kids need more of a certain color while they are working, please give them more.

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 Paul Klee’s work to the kids, then show them the samples of our project.    Put Exhibits 2 and 4 on the overhead projector and leave them up for the kids to see as they work.
Today we are going to create drawings of animals with pencil and watercolor.  We are going to try to think about the style Paul Klee used to draw his animals.  He often used black outlines, then filled in his backgrounds and characters with color.
First thing to do – put your name and your teacher’s name on the back of your paper in pencil.
Before you start painting, think about what sort of animals you want to draw, and what the animals will be doing in the scene.  Where are they?  What is around them?   Start by drawing the picture with black pencil.  We’ll use paint to color and fill in areas after the drawing is done.  Once the paper is wet, the pencils won’t work very well, so try to do all the pencil before you start the painting. 
Remember to give your characters a background.  Paul Klee often used colored geometric shapes as his background.  Think about what you want to do. 
When kids are ready for paint, hand out the palettes of paint.  Supervise, clean up spills, and get more paint as needed.
Give the kids a 5-minute warning to finish up their pictures.

Afterwards / Clean up
Put paintings into a drying rack.  (If dry paintings are already there, empty the rack into a folder.)  Collect the pencils.  Collect the brushes and wash them.  Dump unused watercolor into the sink and rinse the palettes clean.  Rinse the water jars. Wipe tables and placemats with the sponge. 
Put any leftover watercolor paper in the box of paper to re-use on the third cart in the closet.

Thank you!   Laura Cox                                                                                                     January 2020