Kids Get Arty: Exploring Klimt - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Kids Get Arty: Exploring Klimt

| May 16, 2012 | 65 Comments

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Welcome to the first of “Kids Get Arty” series. This were Red Ted and I start exploring The Great Artists together. It is a way for me to “rediscover” art and for Red Ted to see and explore art. I have put together some Arty Resources for you, from other art projects to art picture books to tips, to help you on your journey.

Kids Get Arty will replace the regular “craft slot” – every 2 months  – the NEXT Kids Get Arty will be on 18th July 2012.  If you have kids crafts to link up – please come back next week!

I decided that we would explore Klimt as our “first Great Artist” project with Red Ted (4). I thought that all the gold and beautiful colours, as well as shapes and patterns would appeal to Red Ted.

famous artists for kids

The Book

Klimt and His Cat

I have two books to support our session.

Klimt and His Cat, by Berenice Capatti and Gustav Klimt, a Painted Fairy Tale.  I am not sure I would recommend that you bought either – gettng them from the library would be better. But we enjoyed reading them, looking at the pictures and combined they were really good for this project. Klimt and His Cat – is more a picture book telling us the story of Klimts life and a little bit about what he was like (generous, loving life and art), whilst The Painted Fairy Tale, was great for its reproductions of key works. It is a book for an older child doing an art project on Klimt.


The Art Project

We focussed on Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1, as well as The Kiss – they are both richly golden and full of intricat patterns – which I thought would appeal to Red Ted. The next time however, I will let him choose the painting to focus on. It took Klimt 3 years to complete this painting – a fact that really fascinated Red Ted and helped us in our “3 session” approach. What we also “enjoyed” reading about, is that Klimt played with Adele’s initianals and hid “B”s and “A”s in the painting. A great way for us to explore the painting – especially as Red Ted is now really interested in the alphabet (see all our Handprint Art!!)

The Project

Our approach can be summed up with:

  • We used a view finder
  • Asking lots of questions
  • We decided on making this a PRINT PROJECT (potato prints & corks)
  • Creating three layers – revisiting the project 3 times over several weeks
The View Finder
art for kids

To help Red Ted, I cut out a crude “view finder” – a square of card, with another square cut out. What I found, aged 4 (or any age), is that he is overwhelmed by a “whole picture” – “where do you start?” – “Mummy, I can’t paint this” etc.. A view finder, helps you focus on details of the painting. So we were able to look at the painting as a whole, but also bit by bit.

The Questions

1) Shapes can you see?

2) What colours are there? Are there any more? Which is your favourite colour?

3) Show me where you can see it?

Red Ted particularly liked the shapes – the ovals, triangles and circles, as well as the rectangles. He was less bothered by the squares.

The Print Project

famous artists

Materials: Viewfinder, gold, silver, black, burnt sienna acrylics, Layer 1: potatoes – cut into triangles, rectangles, squares and circles. Layer 2: cork printing

Layer 1

1) I cut the potato shapes – after asking Red Ted what shapes he would like.

klimt for kids

2) Get printing. The downside of potatoes, is that they are a little slippery and if you don’t get the surface totally flat, they don’t always give you a nice even print. I don’t mind this, but Red Ted did. So you may want to experiment – be it with potatoes, or foam, wood block pieces anything you can find around the home, that could make a good stamp!

3) After completing one layer, we put it aside to dry.

Whilst painting, Red Ted asked me:

  • Why does Klimt like painting?
  • Why does like gold so much?
  • How did Klimt learn to paint?
  • How old is Klimt?
  • Why does Klimt like cats?
  • Why did it take him 3 years to paint this?
  • How do you get that shiney bit [in the background]?

Needless to say, I didn’t have half the answers… sometimes I asked him back “Why do you think…?”, I came up with guesses (“Maybe he liked gold, because it is so shiny” “Maybe he had cats as a child?”) and sometimes I said a simple “I don’t know, but doesn’t that make Klimt even more interesting?”. We then revisited the story book. Whilst Red Ted used up all the colour in whatever way he felt like.

He said of the painting Portraite of Emilie Floge “Mummy that is like you, you have curly hair too”. I asked “is it a pretty painting?” Red Ted “Yes”… (phew).

Layer 2

famous artists

childrens famous artists

It was well over a week later before we sat down to work on our second layer – mainly due to time and other projects on the go – but also find, revisiting information over time, is a better way to reinforce it and hopefully some of this information will be stored on Red Ted’s head somewhere for future use! I am sure are both learning about printing techniques!


When we came to do our second layer – we had an interesting discussion about “texture” – and how all our stamping created textures on our painting. Red Ted also asked why Klimt liked gold so much. I didn’t have the answer, so asked Red Ted, whether he liked gold – to which I got “gold is my favourite colour”. We also had the opportunity to talk about layering a picture. “Why does Klimt do that, Mummy?” my answer “Because it gives him the chance to add more detail and make the painting look more interesting”.

We used the same basic shapes – circle, square, triangle – but made them a little smaller. I love how exploring Klimt gave us the chance to look at shapes again.

This time we also used a cork for circles – we found that potatoes can be so slippery.. but stuck with them on the squares and triangles. I think Red Ted enjoying printing with the cork the most this time round. But overall we found it easier!

Layer 3

Finally, when it was dry, we revisited the paintings and with a black pen added details, such as small dots, swirls and triangles.

famous artists

What do you think? I think he did a great job and definitely knows a little more about Klimt (as do I!)

art for kids famous artists

Kids Get ArtySo.. now it is your chance! We woould love to see what Great Artists you have been exploring with your kids and how you approached your arty projects! Come link up. Kids Get Arty is co-hosted by The Imagination Tree, Imagination Soup,  Creative with Kids and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.

Disclaimer: by joining the Kids Get Crafty linky – you give us permission to highlight any projects on Red Ted Art and Creative with Kids or share your craft ideas on Pintrest – we will always link to your site! If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, please link up!

What Famous Artists do you love most – and have inspired you to create Art with Kids?

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Category: Art with Kids, Daily Creativity, Kids Craft, Kids Get Arty

Comments (65)

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  1. Rose says:

    What fantastic results! Really inspiring post, thanks. If you’re interested in reviewing my bespoke service I’d be happy to create a few sample cards for you :)

  2. the monko says:

    I am so impeded by how you deconstructed the picture to help red Ted see the detail. And I love that you took your time and revisited the art work. That will certainly help him remember the project for longer. I love Klimt’s first paintings. I was lucky enough to see some in Austria and they are so detailed and amazing.

  3. Red Ted Art says:

    @Rose thank – I LOVE your son’s Klimt art too – brilliant. Re your service – let’s continue chatting on twitter!

    @The Monko – thank you – I think I will try this approach again, it is also a good way for me to revisit and artist and learn a little more each time!

  4. Gosh, Maggy this is truly inspiring! I loved how you made the kiddos see the painting at the macro level with the help of the lens. Genius! And loved the layers. It’s amazing how a masterpiece can be made simpler for a child this age. We’re going to explore the great artists, too and come back next time to link up :-)
    Will share this later on FB. Going out for a while now…

  5. Red Ted Art says:

    Thank you Rashmie!! I am so pleased you enjoyed the post and are inspired!!! Look forward to seeing who you explore in July!!

  6. Sian says:

    excellent idea : ) hmm where should we start – maybe Rousseau would be fun. We do a fair bit of Andy Goldsworthy style – does that count?

  7. CushyCow says:

    Wow so impressive and such a great idea!!! Fantastic!

  8. Red Ted Art says:

    Thank you! And the best thing is, that we had a great time!

  9. LOVE how you worked in layers over time on this! what a great way to introduce the artist and real life techniques used (layering, etc). This is a masterpiece!

    I am so excited to be sharing this journey with you! :) My girls had a fabulous time. They did not think they would be able to make a “real” painting when we started and they were so proud of their masterpieces at the end! I was beyond proud to see that not only they tried, stuck with it and succeeded but that they overcame their own fear and were proud of themselves in the end. A wonderful life lesson learned along with everything else.

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Absolutely! I think Art can be really intimidating for all of us. When in fact “you can do no wrong” in Art!!! I think your girls made beautiful paintings!!

  10. Bella says:

    What a great way to explore Klimt. It makes it so manageable for kids. Love it, and love the results!

  11. LOVE this! You are sooooo creative! Your blog is one of my favorite! I want to try your Klimt activity out with my son, and my preschool students…Brilliant! AND I so want to take part in this art series…maybe next time around!

  12. Such a great idea: we’ve had really great fun with this project and look forward to the next one!

  13. Jen Fischer says:

    I love this. It turned out so beautiful and the shapes component is really great. What a wonderful exercise for engaging and teaching a child about great art.

  14. Kristin says:

    So happy to see some fine art inspired kid projects! Well done!

  15. Kimara says:

    What a wonderful series. If this is any indication of what’s to come, I’m all a tweeter :) I’ll be linking to this one WFA’s Facebook page. Looking forward to doing this with our wee ones. Thanks!

  16. Red Ted Art says:

    We pop out to the park and come back to all these lovely comments. Thank you SO much. I really appreciate it!! Especially since we enjoyed our arty session so much too. Now to think up the next one! :-)

  17. Roopa says:

    Love how you made it simple for your little guy!! I am truly inspired to try this one with Putti. Thanks for the idea

  18. Gina says:

    What a lovely piece of art your little guy made! The colors are beautiful and I love all of the tools you used to create it! I had a lot of fun working with my son on our van Gogh project…I’m looking forward to the next one!

  19. Ted’s artwork is gorgeous I love the detail that you have put in and the time taken to do it and explain it with him. Also THANK YOU for such an inspiring prompt for us all to join in it’s something that I would never have thought of doing with J but it has inspired us. We’ve had so much fun with Mondrian including some Maths activities as well!?!?!

  20. Maggy, this is fabulous and a great lesson in patience and planning! I really like how you shared Red Ted’s questions, which I know will help a lot of parents envision how the project could materialize in their own homes.

  21. TheBoyandMe says:

    Oh it’s just gorgeous! I adore Klimt and have been to the museum in Prague where I stood in awe. I did wonder how to study his work though so this is perfect!

  22. Museum Mummy says:

    This is a brilliant idea, and will be a great resource when CultureBaby is a little older. Something great to do Pre or post museuming!

  23. Red Ted Art says:

    Thank you!! :-) and @Rachelle I loved Red Ted’s questions – they were challenging, but really interesting!!!

  24. se7en says:

    Hay there… I know a little late… we got so involved in our great artist that we quite forgot time!!! Really what I thought would be a day of artiness actually was a week of pastels and paints!!! Great fun!!! So thank you for this wonderful project!!! and I know start a bit earlier for next time!!!

    I tried to grab your “Kids Get Arty Button” to put on our website, but it kept going to the link, would you mind sending me the code – I know I am probably doing something really dumb!!! But it has to be easier than trying infinite clicks on the mouse…

    Have a great day!!!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      No, se7en it is my site, not you… it can play up! Will send you the code now. Thank you! And YAY to a WEEK’s worth of art! Wow!!

  25. Beautiful project, truly inspiring. I want to try this one as well.

  26. Love the idea of using a view finder to help focus attention on one part of the painting. Also love the results – very shiny (but then I think I’m a bit of a magpie and I’m always attracted to shiny things!)

  27. Cameron says:

    Interesting 😀 Thanks for sharing this!
    I would like to recommend a really awesome educational app: it’s an ebook called Discovering Klimt It’s a story that invites you to discover paintings made by this artist in a fun way.

    Try it and let me know!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Thanks I tried to download it a couple of weeks back, but the iTunes store wouldn’t come up with it!

  28. Molly says:

    Wow, you had a great time, and what wonderful results! Tell Red Ted that Klimt’s dad was a goldsmith, and Klimt was supposed to follow in his footsteps, and so learnt to be a goldsmith and crafstman at Vienna’s school of art and crafts, before he turned to painting, so maybe that is why he liked gold so much. He also was very impressed by religious mosaics in Ravenna, Italy, which used a lot of gold, so that will have had something to do with it too. As for liking cats, your guess is as good as mine :)

  29. Your Klimt inspired art is so lovely, and the view finder is wonderful art tool for observation!

  30. Red Ted Art says:

    Thank you :-)

  31. Red Ted Art says:

    @Molly – OH THANK YOU!! Now I (!) understand his love for gold better too!

  32. I love the layering in your project! What a wonderful artist to feature!

  33. Catherine Jennings says:

    Hi Maggy,
    Since I enjoy your site and blog posts, I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.

    If you’d like to read and repost the award, here’s the link:

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  34. The Monko says:

    Although I haven’t got a post this month your link up really inspired me and I took Goblin to the Tate Modern today to see the Damien Hirst exhibition. Great day out and Goblin responded really well to the shark in formaldehyde and his dot paintings

    • Red Ted Art says:

      @The Monko – oooh I have heard great things about the exhibition! Would love to see it too – maybe it is still on when we are back? So pleased you were inspired :-)
      #Liz do hope you manage to join in! We have been busy discussing our next arty project too… Red Ted is excited!

  35. Liz Burton says:

    This is such an awesome idea, to introduce your kids to art.

    I’m really inspired and hope to join in next time.

    Thank you.

    PS Red Ted did great, his picture is gorgeous. x

  36. Liz Burton says:

    PS I’ve linked up an old post of our visit to our local gallery -Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition. Hope that’s ok x

  37. Anna says:

    I love this! I have been trying to get my boy interested in stamping and this is perfect. He loves to come back to old paintings too – I imagine we’ll end up with lots of layers.

  38. I love the project you did with your kids!!

  39. wow, so inspiring! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  40. Hayley Trinh says:

    Wow… I love this and I think my kids will like this too. Thank you so much!!!

  41. This is just SO wonderful. Klimt is one of my favourites and I would never have figured how to break it down into an art project for kids. This is brilliant. Red Ted also has some brilliant handwriting skills – those scrolls are impressive!

  42. Red Ted Art says:

    Awe thanks Ness! I am so glad you enjoyed the project. Yes, when Red Ted puts his mind to it his drawing and writing is very good… but he has to “want to do it”… he has rather “bad” days too. We celebrate the good ones! :-)

  43. Jeanine says:

    This is such an incredible post! I have never heard of a View Finder either! SOO Excited to do our own version at home of this kids art lesson too ;D Thank You SOO much

  44. Audre says:

    I remember reading somewhere that Klimt’s father was a goldsmith. Maybe that’s where he gets his love of gold? Thanks so much for all these great ideas. We’re starting a study of art and artists this year and this will be so helpful!

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