The Warmest Art You Can Imagine. Paul Klee.

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Cat and Bird. Paul Klee.

He could become a good musician but made a name as a wonderful artist who combined different styles in his unconventional works. He could not decide what he wanted to be but turned into an expert of color. You guessed it, this week we are talking about Paul Klee.

Paul Klee’s parents were into music: his father was a musician and his mother was a singer. No surprise that little Paul studied violin and was very good at it, actually.  He also loved drawing enormously  and soon realized that that is exactly what he wanted to do. He went studying art and became exhibiting by the age of 26. He kept on writing reviews for concerts and music shows, though.

For some reason Klee had a great difficulty with using colors in the beginning of his artistic career. Every work unsettled him; he just could not see the rationale of putting red, blue, green, purple, yellow etc on a canvas. Only after he went to Tunisia he started to look at his paintings differently. He not only enjoyed color, in fact, he started learning the color theory, wrote a paper on it and even taught it in college. “…Color and I are one”, he finally realized. – “I am a painter”.  “You are the Newton of color “- the rest of the world said.

Paul Klee’s most famous painting called Ad Parnassum.

Paul Klee worked in different techniques but somehow leaned toward warm colors in his works.

Old Man by Paul Klee
Southern Gardens by Paul Klee

So the first thing we did we talked about warm and cold colors. 

Then we separated our oil pastels into two piles. Pile with red, orange, yellow, siena, warm violet was preferable to work with. This is a good exercise for smaller children. Let them also choose and show you objects with warm and cold colors as well.

As I already said before this class we worked with oil pastel. It was a perfect time to learn two new techniques like blending and scratching.

For blending we used q-tips and a mixture of 1/2 linseed oil and 1/2 turpentine. I hear you crying “Oh no! We do not have that in our house!” Do not worry. You can use a drop of olive oil or any oil that you can find in the kitchen. Dip a q-tip just a little and wetting painted surface blend two or more colors together.

Scratching is fun if there are layers of color. Alternatively one can scratch a single layer and let the paper show through. Any sharp instrument that won’t damage the paper will work, we used sculpting tools but such a simple thing as cuticle pusher will do the job.

I never insist that kids do the exact same drawing or painting and never want them to copy the works of the artist we study. Below are the works inspired by Paul Klee:

Anton, 11
Mark, 8
Emma, 7
Nicholas, 10
Victoria, 5
Anna, 5

During the class we listened to an amazing violinist Daniel Jang. What a talent!

If you would like to learn more about Paul Klee, follow this link.

More oil pastel painting techniques are here.

Have a great class!





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