October is a busy time for wedding anniversaries in our family, with mine and my sister’s falling 3 days apart. On our anniversary I got to thinking about the wedding stationery I designed and made which took Gustav Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’ as its inspiration.
Master M had never seen our wedding invitations or any of Klimt’s work so I was intrigued to discover what his creative response would be to this beautiful painting that had inspired me eleven years ago.
We began by looking closing at a copy of the painting which I had printed out from the internet.
Master M did all the talking and observation but with younger children I would suggest using open-questions related to what they notice about the shapes, colours and patterns they can see.
We also talked about which part of the picture we each particularly liked. This is a great way for children and adults of all ages to look more closely at works of art and then really get to know them through the creation of their own piece.
Master M decided he would use coloured pencils to create his artwork. For younger children I would provide a wider selection of resources, collage materials such as tissue paper and gold glitter could produce some interesting results. For the very youngest you could cut papers into the shapes that can be seen in the painting so that even those who can’t yet use scissors can take part in selecting and arranging the pieces.
Whatever their age it's really important to remind the children before they get started that the idea is not to copy the work they see in front of them but to create something totally new.
You can see from his artwork that Master M was interested in the black geometric shapes that form the pattern on the man’s cloak and he began with these elements. His favourite part of the picture was the grassy, flowery bank on which the couple are kneeling and he represented this using coloured, random shape dots.
He quickly realised how long it would take him to cover the entire piece of A4 paper with intricate detail and folded it to form a strip which coincidentally echoed the format of my blue and white design which up until this point I hadn’t shown him.
We finished by placing the 3 pieces side by side. I think it's clear that we began with the same starting point and had each created something unique and individual.
The very best thing for me about this activity was that when he had finished his ‘Klimt’ piece Master M’s head was buzzing with ideas for his next picture. In the meantime I was thinking about how I might use elements of his work to create a design for my next anniversary card - I’ll tell you about that in a year’s time!
What about you? Have you used artworks to inspire your children to look more carefully and create something new? If you’ve not done this before why not give it a go this weekend? I’d love to hear how you get on.