Creativity Corner Vive La Différence

Vive La Différence – Gustav Klimt

June 30, 2014

Today we have another Vive la Différence instalment. Vive la Différence is officially two years old and has featured 24 bloggers and their Vignettes. Amazing!

When I first started this series there was no game plan and I still enjoy it as it is. However, I wonder whether it can be moved on in any way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and views. Do you want for me to keep this format or would you maybe like to see 3 bloggers take 1 theme as their inspiration for a Vignette? Do leave a comment if you have an opinion on it!

I’m delighted to feature Rebecca, who lives in London and spends most of her time photographing people – you can see her wedding photography here. Rebecca also recently launched a new site called Living Abstracts, where she shares surface design and projects using it.

For new readers:

The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

Rebecca chose the theme: Gustav Klimt…. with the object: Art Materials.  Here is Rebecca’s Vignette.

What fun to participate in this – a very different project to my usual photographic commissions.

I started by looking at Klimt because I had bought some metallic paint and thought it would work in a similar way to the Klimt sheeny gold.  After a number of trials with watercolours, inks, pencil drawings and aquarelle pencils, none of the colours were gelling together or with the metallic paint. So I photographed four sheets of paper that were ‘works in progress’ and placed them on top of one another in Photoshop, along with some textured images, cutting out some layers, as well as changing the colour, saturation, blending modes and opacity on each layer until I ended up with an image where the colours worked together.

Some of the 25 or so layers were also made smaller, larger and reshaped.  I love the gentle greys and greens of this image, the feathery pencil marks and the overall curves. It is not at all what I was expecting when I started – and in fact looks remarkably similar to my maternity portraits.  There’s still a part of me that wants to add a metallic, though, perhaps by putting this in a dull bronze frame. 

Thank you Tina for having me.

Vive la Différence - Rebecca Portsmouth | Gustav Klimt

Klimt, mon amour! I’ll never forget the day I was in Vienna for business (in my mid 20’s) and saw Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss hang in the museum. My love for gold, patterns, texture and passion was forever sealed .

Today’s painting is dedicated to ‘The Lady in Gold’, the story of how Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I was looted by the Nazis in 1938, during the second World War. Adele, who died in 1925, requested in her will that the works be donated to the Austrian state museum. Ferdinand, their legal owner, who lived another 20 years, instead bequeathed his estate, including the paintings, to the couple’s nieces and nephews. After the war, the Austrian government justified keeping the paintings based on the terms of Adele’s will.

Maria Altmann, Ferdinand’s niece, who escaped Europe with her husband after he was held by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938, thought for many years that her aunt and uncle had left their collection to Austria. In 1998, she discovered the truth of her uncle’s will, and set out to reclaim her family’s art. An eight-year legal battle with the Austrian government began and in 2006, the painting, amongst other ones was returned to its rightful owner.

In 2007 I saw the documentary called Stealing Klimt and this is when my obsession with Nazi-looted art began.

There are many different cases still not uncovered and I find it incredible that governments have been able to get away with stealing famous paintings for so long. I hope the rightful owners will never rest! For anyone interested, this is a great talk by Los Angeles attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, telling how him and Maria Altmann won their case against the Austrian government. Worth a listen!

I’ve also heard that a film (Woman in Gold) about the Nazi-looted Klimt restitution, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, is currently in production.

Method: I used watercolours, gouache, oil pastels and gold dust. I painted many layers and scratched out the patterns to reveal the colours underneath. In Klimt’s paintings you often have one very bright section with the rest more muted, goldish look. I tried to emulate this by painting only one layer with the face, hair and necklace.

PS. In case you’re wondering about Adele’s hair. I had pink highlights put in over the weekend and this is a nod to them.

VLD - Gu Klimt | TB

I’d like to thank Rebecca for taking part this month. I love the sensitivity of the mark makings and now I want blue and green highlights too. Happy new week people!

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  • Reply alisonsye June 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Both of these images are really beautiful, I hope you are going to display them.
    Tina, I love that effect you’ve got going to the left of the face.
    It’s really odd that you picked Klimt, because I was watching the History of Art in 3 Colours last night, it was all about gold. Klimt featured, of course. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not it’s on the iplayer.

    • Reply tina July 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you Alison. Means a lot! Mine is staring at me as I write this and like with our Picasso ones, it is now one of my favourites.

      The effect on the left took many stages. I first of all had some square multi=patterned thing going on but felt it was too conflicting with the face so changed it. I put another gold wash on and scratched out sections. I’m particularly fond of that bit myself:-)

      Ha. Apparently it’s his Birthday next week and yes, I’ve seen all 3 programs when they were first screened. Love them!
      Hope the Brooch arrived x

  • Reply Mel July 1, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Oh wow you girls make me wish I could paint or illustrate. Lovely to meet you Rebecca and I found the process so interesting and what a lovely outcome. What an interesting story about The Lady In Gold and a brilliant interpretation of Klimt. Pink highlights? Wow, you go girl! Congratulations Tina on 2 years of Vive la difference. I love this series and it was how I was first introduced to your brilliant blog. I’m happy how it is because it’s always full of surprises. Mel x

    • Reply tina July 1, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      If truth be told, I’m not that good at it but am learning. I wish I had more time to experiment but I’ve certainly got the bug at the moment, all thanks to blogging.

      Rebecca’s stages sound amazing and I can just imagine how many layers it took. Once you start you cannot finish… and it’s never good enough:-) at least in my case that is.
      But thank God for blogging and deadlines as I have to let go and just publish. I’m sure Rebecca might have felt the same.

      Thank you Mel.. is it really through VLD that we met. I know I used to see you around on Catherine’s blog…. oh, time flies when you’re having fun and you’ve just celebrated your second blogging birthday:-)

      Thank you for letting me know what you think. I like the concept but wondered whether people are getting bored of it.
      Hope you’re good x

  • Reply gudy July 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Oh, wow, this is advanced level, ladies! I think this is one of my favorite VLD posts so far. I just can say I am really impressed by both of you! xx

    • Reply tina July 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Hahaha, the discerning critic:-) I love that about you and in fact I’m one too so can relate.

      I’m also fond of both results.. and I think they even compliment each other well.
      Grazias xx

  • Reply tina July 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I want to thank Rebecca for joining this series and choosing Klimt! I’m always curious what my guests will choose out of the themes I give them.

    I love Rebecca’s sensitive colours and mark makings against my bolder and ‘golder’ version:-)

    It’s been fun having you here on Colourliving x

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey July 1, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Happy 2 years to VLD! That’s amazing & I’m honoured to have been one of the guests 🙂

    Rebecca I LOVE your greys & muted ‘storm blues’ & Tina I love your synopsis and the historic build-up to your painting.

    Thanks both xx

    • Reply tina July 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Can you believe it? 2 years??? It’s been a hoot and I’ve loved every single entry and guest:-))
      It’s so nice to have a Pinterest Board for VLD so I can take a look and reminisce…

      Glad you enjoyed G…. xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen July 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    2 years already – wow felt like only yesterday I participated 🙂 I adore Klimt, and the KISS was indeed one of my favourite paintings of all time. Great takes on Mr. Klimt, I adore the muted colours of Rebecca’s and the striking colours of yours, pic of the highlights please 🙂 Happy Wednesday lovely peeps.
    A x

    • Reply tina July 6, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Hahaha, Ms Sex in the City:-)

      I remember when I first saw the KISS in a book and how it made me feel. Seeing it then in real live was incredible!!
      Yes, once again I really liked the contrast of mine and Rebecca’s colour treatments.

      Highlights? That would be against the VLD principles. They are all special to me, like babies:-)) xx

  • Reply Doris July 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Congratulations on 2 years of VLD Tina! Its still brilliant and I love this months edition. Both interpretations were wonderful. I love the rosy cheeks and the Pink highlights Tina! xD

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Oh, thank you Doris and thank you for coming on the ride:-)

      I’m very pleased with both our outcomes. Thanks xx

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