This does not mean trying to make a copy of one of his paintings, but studying his painting style and composition principles.
I never liked Klimt much, I considered him to be rather kitsch: a lot of gold and coloured patterns overwhelming the portrayed models.
But to my surprise I found that there was a lot to learn from him: especially his composition methods. Also how he paints the human parts very fragile, almost vulnerable, easy to hurt, and breakable within the storms of colours and patterns around them.
I did not want to paint the obvious subjects: "the kiss", woman and child, two lovers, that kind of (in my male opinion) romantic stuff. So I decided to go for a girl being absorbed by reading a book.
On google images I found a picture that could serve as basis, see above.
I tried all kind of ideas: positioning the figure in the frame, making the scene "flat" (a Klimt signature: a total lack of depth in his paintings), contrasts between colour and flesh, where and how to add textures/patterns, where less exuberant areas, centralised composition or dynamic, what colours to use etc.
I had decided earlier that I wanted to do something in red/orange/yellow, for no obvious reason. Just because I had not seriously painted in these colours for some time.
Here you see the first version. A total failure. The figure too small, wrong location, not interesting at all.
You can see on the new thin lines that I enlarged and repositioned the figure within the composition.
By placing it higher and o the left, the subject filled the canvas better, and the dynamic came from the subject, not from the coloured blocks.
I tried to rebalance the different colour blocks (notice how the red squares form a triangle, to compensate the yellow triangle).
Also, the one visible leg with the arm over it did not work, it looked comical. Furthermore I enlarged the yellow blanket, and resized it to balance the colours.
This was how the basis looked like, at the point where I would start adding details and textures.
So I made a picture, then a print and used some tracing paper to start all over again. And I arrived at some new ideas for the composition.
I coloured it in Gimp, and found another way to do the image,.
I am still working on the new version, it's not very far from being finished.
More to come in the next post.