Ever since I was at school trudging my way through an art GCSE the artist Gustav Klimt has always interested me. There’s something about his bold use of gold and repeating patterns that just jumps out and grabs me! I’ve been doing a lot of work on mark making and the use of colour in my sketchbook recently and this is an area where I can find a lot of inspiration in his work.
My favorite piece of course has to be ‘The Kiss’, isn’t that always everybody’s favorite? So of course I’ve had a good look at that, but I’ve picked a few other’s to look at in more detail as well.
So these are the five pieces I chose to look at in more detail at this time. (All their details are listed in the comments on each picture, and they were all scanned by Mark Harden and available for free educational use on his website.) I think the first thing that strikes me about all these paintings is that the colours are all very similar, yes the ‘Garden Path with Chickens’ has a lot more green in it, but green also features in ‘The Kiss’ and a small amount in ‘Serpents I’. All the paintings contain plenty of uneven cream and grey tones as well as purples, reds and blues, overall they seem to read very ‘earthy’. Lastly, lets not forget the gold which tends the shine out and make the paintings glow, it lends a warmth that draws the observer in.
I feel that as well as re-using colours, he also repeats similar patterns.
Simple geometric shapes – triangles, rectangles, squares and diamonds.
Circles and rings seem to appear in most of his paintings.
Trailing lines surrounded by other shapes like trails of Ivy.
Pale earthy eye-like shapes, they make me think of snakes eyes watching you.
Small and faded squares hidden in the background, just providing a little bit of added interest.
I now intend to use this research do to do studies in pencil and paints, before creating my own Klimt inspired marks.