November 27, 2014

How to draw/paint like Paul Klee — Lessons 3 and 4.

As explained here, I rediscovered my 2002 notebook that extracts simple rules from individual works of art by Paul Klee. I've found images of the works where I can, and these appear above the relevant transcription from the notebook. At the bottom are the scans from my notebooks. The idea is to enhance perception of the original, but also to give anyone a way to get going into a drawing/painting that would have value on its own.



Oil transfer method on watercolor ground — "The Great Emperor Rides to War." Bands of horizontal lines — less straight — one band is the lines of his smile lips — Architectural & symbolic shapes built into the figure. One central man.



• Horizontal pen lines. Dots, circles or crescents on the lines. Then vertically connect the shapes — okay to angle & curve on the vertical way down. "Drawing Knotted in the Manner of a Net" (Musical notation)



• Draw a flower ("Lonely Flower") in pen on paper — stylized with C Crumb lines. Horizontal lines on background. Paint the "stripes."

• Make a city based on placement of vertical lines on a field of unevenly spaced horizontal lines. Erase some of the horiz. lines to make "buildings," make lines in the sky closer together & lines in the foreground farther apart. add some deep doorways & steeples [ADDED: I failed to write down the name of this one. Any ideas what it is?]

• Start center bottom & build a structure of whimsical heads & bodies balanced one atop the other. At the top a head w/2 unequal eyes & a tear-like "fishing line" hanging from the bigger eye. Give whole structure a sense of weighted balance. [ADDED: Again, no title provided.]

Notes on Paul Klee 4

Notes on Paul Klee 3

UPDATE: Writing the next post in the series, I developed my image Googling skill and came up with the images for the descriptions I'd left without titles. The first one is probably "Picture of a City (Red-Green Accents):



The second one is "An Equilibrium Caprice":

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Various thoughts on this post:

""The Great Emperor Rides to War."

All the approximate symmetry of the horizontal lines and head, and the positioning of the arms frustrates that, creating atension of two perspectives from which to center one's view...

"Drawing Knotted in the Manner of a Net" (Musical notation)": made me think of Klee's artistic representation of Bach's music ("Paul Klee Painting Music") -- example under Melody . Interestingly, the linked presentation is akin to Althouse's instructions.

"Make a city based on placement of vertical lines on a field of unevenly spaced horizontal lines. Erase some of the horiz. lines to make "buildings," make lines in the sky closer together & lines in the foreground farther apart. add some deep doorways & steeples [ADDED: I failed to write down the name of this one. Any ideas what it is?]"

Could not find it in my various books. Trying not to get obsessed and spending the morning on the internet to find it...

Love these posts...'

Fernandinande said...

I really thought the first picture was your sketch, then I googled "The Great Emperor Rides to War". It's amazing how some people make money.

Scott said...

Art as artifice.

Anonymous said...

I have also noticed that the instructions are descriptive of line, spacing, and subject, but palette is rarely mentioned (or described as what it isn't, i.e. "w/o blue"). Someone following the instructions still has a world of opportunity to make it their own...

Todd Grimson said...

This makes me remember when Althouse would, years ago, sometimes offer her own drawings here. I suppose the blog seemed smaller then, and no doubt the site-meter registered many fewer hits, so it was easier to be more unselfconscious about the vanity aspect of such a feature.

I miss those drawings.

Althouse's vanity is a major portion of her public persona. Vanity leads her to occasional missteps, but I think it's a forgivable flaw. As Joe E. Louis said at the conclusion of SOME LIKE IT HOT, upon discovery that Jack Lemmon in drag was actually a man: "Nobody's perfect."

Bring back the scribbles, even if some are uninterested. I'm someone who's weary of the dogs.

Ann Althouse said...

"Interestingly, the linked presentation is akin to Althouse's instructions."

That kind of demonstrates why my instructions are useful to make your own independent works in the style of Paul Klee. Not copies of particular works but like something else he might do.

Ann Althouse said...

"I really thought the first picture was your sketch, then I googled "The Great Emperor Rides to War". It's amazing how some people make money."

Thanks for the multifaceted insult.

Ann Althouse said...

"I have also noticed that the instructions are descriptive of line, spacing, and subject, but palette is rarely mentioned (or described as what it isn't, i.e. "w/o blue"). Someone following the instructions still has a world of opportunity to make it their own..."

In the first lesson, there was one with the advice not to use blue.

I think at some point, I make more general observations. From this perspective, 12 years after seeing the show, I think one general rule would be: If using color, restrict the permissible hues. Eliminate something important, like blue or red... or blue and red.