"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Klimt Gold Patterns Collage

I found this lesson, by Art teacher Kris Fontes from Union City High School, on the Incredible Art Department site and it's since become one of my all-time favourite lessons to teach. I find that all students have a high success rate with this project.

In this project, students create an elegant drawing in the ornamental, decorative and luxurious style of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Instead of gold scratchboard, as used in the original lesson on the IAD site, we simply used gold markers and gel pens on black paper.

You need fairly simple materials for this: magazines and/or printer, scissors, glue sticks, black paper, and gold pens/markers and books/images of Klimt's work.

I start off by showing a slideshow of Klimt's work and talk a bit about the Art Nouveau movement. Have students describe the patterns and colours used.

From Wikipedia:

Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body. He is most famous for his “Golden Phase” where he used gold leaf in his paintings. 

The Kiss, 1907-08
 "Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want." (Gustav Klimt)

Adele Bloch-Bauer's Portrait, 1907  
(sold for a record $135 million in 2006)

First find a nice large picture in a magazine of a figure that has some flesh showing- a head and arms, or whatever. I told the students to look for lots of photos and then choose the best from the bunch. It does take some time to find just the right image.
Some students wanted a particular person, so they found a photo on the internet and printed it out. The quality wasn't as nice as a magazine photo, though.

Carefully cut out the figure from the background:

Place your figure on the black paper and carefully and lightly trace around it with a pencil.

This is so you'll know where to re-glue the parts in the next step.

Now, cut away all the clothing.

Then glue down, using a glue stick, all the 'flesh' parts. Use your traced guidelines 
to help place all the pieces in the right spot.

Now, students are going to design patterns for the clothing and patterns for the background.
One pattern needed to be quite dense and complex, while the other could be simpler, so as to create contrast. Students designed their patterns first in their sketchbooks.

For the good copy, we used two types of gold pens: one thin (Staedtler brand) and a thick one (I bought a bunch from the Dollar store- they were surprisingly good quality I have to say!). 

Here are some Grade 9 results:

And some Grade 10 results:


Miriam Paternoster said...


Marilena said...

This klimt exercise is awesome.
Your students did a fantastic job.

Ch. Stückelberger said...

I always like to got to your blog. I don't like Klimt, it's too loaded somehow. But I like this project. The pictures are carefully done and far less overblown than Klimt. I'll have to buy some gold markers. Thank you for sharing.

Miss said...

Thanks everyone- this is definitely one of my all-time favourite projects to teach! And the kids love using the gold markers too.

Rina k6art.com said...

Hi Miss

Beautiful project! I like the gold markers a lot better than the scratchboard - I can see how students could be more successful with the markers. Your students are very creative.

Rina at www.k6art.com

Mrs. Skojec said...

These are absolutely stunning! I'm so glad you posted them! Very creative students! Must have a wonderful guide!

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

This is great! I will be doing this with my Art 1 students! Thanks for the ideas!

Miss said...

Thank you very much for your comments Rina, Mrs. Skojec and Melissa! I hope you try this project out- your kids will love it! (it's all about the gold markers! lol)

heartphilia said...

Simply stunning - looks like in a museum!

Miss said...

Thank you heartphilia!

Bidt af billedkunst said...


Mirawyn said...

What a great project! And your kids did a fabulous job. Such varied results, using the same materials and directions. You obviously inspire them.

Have you ever looked at Zentangle? I don't have a teaching degree (I'm a graphic designer), but I taught kid's art classes at my church for two years, and every class, every age LOVED Zentangle. I had them beg me to let them tangle "just one more week." We had almost zero budget, so used basic felt pens with the little ones. But older kids can get incredibly detailed results with finer-tipped pens. It's great for teaching line, pattern, and implied texture.

Miss said...

Hi Mirawyn,

Thanks for your comment :)
Yes, I know about zentangles but refuse to 'teach' them in class, as I consider it simply a form of doodling that's been commercialized. People/artists/everyone have been making complex and intricate doodles for eons.
I just encourage my students to come up with their own line designs/patterns/doodles and they always do fine. It forces them to be creative as opposed to following a pre-determined design.

Having said that, I have nothing against anyone who 'tangles' or teaches it- to each his own! And I agree- doodle projects are great for those with a limited budget.

profesora de artes visuales, plástica said...

Excelentes trabajos!!!! Ana

Miss said...

Gracias Ana :)

Cat6 said...

I love these! Where can I order bulk gold gel pens? Thank you!

Miss said...

Cat C: Thank you :) I just buy individual gold markers from the Dollar Store. I also use gold Sharpies. I haven't had much luck with gel pens. If you're in the States, you can order gold pens in varying thicknesses from Dick Blick: http://www.dickblick.com/products/pilot-gold-and-silver-marking-pens/
Hope that helps!

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