Abstract Art Elements: Paint in the Style of Klee | Nicole Arnold | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Abstract Art Elements: Paint in the Style of Klee

teacher avatar Nicole Arnold, Wild about Art

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Ready


    • 3.

      Let's Paint, Step 1


    • 4.

      Let's Paint, Step 2


    • 5.

      Let's Paint, Step 3


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Working small is a challenge, but it yields big rewards!

Painting abstract art is all about letting go and having fun.  Learn how to tackle Paul Klee's abstract ideas and interpret them in mini paintings.  In 15 minutes, you will learn how to complete small studies that stand alone as finished artwork and contribute to your development as an abstract artist.  We will have fun while immersing ourselves in an activity that ignites our imaginations and pushes the boundaries of our creativity.  No prior painting experience is needed - all levels are welcome.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nicole Arnold

Wild about Art


Nicole is an artist and children's book illustrator who loves all types of art.  As a teaching artist, Nicole focuses on opening minds to make room for unexpected creativity.

Read more about her DIY projects, Art-o-mat adventures, and book recommendations on her blog, blog.nicolettaarnolfini.com, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter to enjoy her recent work.

Nicole's classes appeal to students who are looking to submerge themselves in a world of colorful, bold design, creative fearlessness and the wonders of the natural world.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: In this abstract Elements class, we'll discover the works of Paul Klee. Paul Klee has a special place in my heart, and that's because of his lifelong friendship with Vassily Kandinsky. You guys know how much I love Vasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee was directly responsible for helping him, not only in his artistic development but to escape the ravages of the world wars. At the Ball House school, there was a wonderful spirit of camaraderie and mutual learning and understanding. Both of the artist worked there and taught art. We're going to get to be a little part of that ball house school in this class. Let's discover together the beautiful Hughes and geometric patterns of Paul Klee. Let's take those elements and put them into our beautiful gems. These little mini masterpieces. Let's make some beautiful work together. Thanks so much for being a part of this abstract elements class 2. Getting Ready: thanks for joining us for abstract elements. And this focuses on Paul Klee when you work with Paul Klee. I wanted to go over some of the supplies that you may need to accomplish his color schemes and some of the things that he tried to dio. So one of the things that you'll have is your reference material, which I'll go over in the class and I'll have available for you to see You're definitely will need a ground to work on. And I have chosen some very small canvases working small for a reason. This is supposed to be an exercise that helps you grow as an artist and helped to prepare for larger paintings. So just something quick and easy. This is a cotton duck material that I have put over top of a harder ground, a little piece of wood. I'll talk about that a little bit more in our next video. Make sure you have your very favorite paintbrushes to use. Definitely have a water receptacle with you so that you can clean your brushes and some paper tales to help you clean off your brushes. When you get to thicken the pains I've chosen some colors that I really like. I'm choosing some neutral reds, some rusty reds and some deep violets for background colors. Later on, I'm gonna introduce to you something really fun in our upper layers in one of the paintings , and this is an iridescent color. I think you'll really enjoy being introduced to these shiny colors that liquid Tex offers. I have some Posca markers because I am going to work quickly, and those can be a great shortcut for you to knock out a lot of painting sketches. So I think you'll enjoy those if you want to invest in some markers. And another thing that I'm going to do. Some of you may have used this when your Children, these air oil pastels there are a whole lot of fun to use their very similar to crayons, except for a lot more pigment and a lot less wax. So we're gonna add that for just some details on top to create the appearance of texture. I think you'll enjoy seeing how we use those 3. Let's Paint, Step 1: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us during this painting session. We're gonna get cracking here on two small works by Paul Klee. We're going to start with one work and I have it here. Have you can see the small poster? I'm going to work on that I We're just going to do an element in this abstract Elements class. I'm gonna take out an element from this particular work. The other work that we're going to focus on is called Fire in the evening and I have a sketch here that I did in a color that I had at the time. I'm going to use some more colors for this version and what we're going to start with here are too small canvases. This canvases about three inches by three inches or 2.5 by 2.5 and it's square, and it's just a regular canvass. The other Candace that I have is actually a piece of material. It's not burlap, it's a cotton duck material. And I have use, um, adhesive to put it on the back of a harder ground. This is just a little piece of balsa wood to keep it secure. So I'm doing that to create texture because Paul Klee had beautiful texture in his work that came through so you could see some texture from the under layers. And I thought it would be interesting for you to see how to experiment with different grounds if you wanted Teoh and acrylic paints to see the kind of product that they create. So, first of all, I'm going to cover this cotton duck material. Just gonna slather on the base coat. I'm gonna completely cover the background and you'll see that this material really absorbs the paint quickly. Even in a humid climate, it's gonna act very dry. So you really do need Teoh cover your whole background. And I would suggest that you don't leave the white showing through or the off white whatever color your grounds is, and instead to cover it completely. I have chosen an earth tone, and I've chosen that because I really enjoy Paul Clay's neutrals and his earth tones. And I wanted that to be the underlying surface my my deepest under layer that comes through on top of the other layers, and we're also going to do some fun things later on. After we do the rest of our element, we're going to add some oil pastels on top. So I thought it would be interesting for you to get that depth and to see how that worked. Now let's move to our other canvas, which is our more traditional canvas on. And I am going to use for it a deep purple. This is, um it's not quite an eggplant. I guess you'd say this was in the violet family. This is actually liquid Texas, a prison violet color. And this is just a beautiful deep purple. And I'm using it because the painting that we're gonna use this reference his call fire in the evening. The evening, I guess, is the more emphasized part. So fire in the evening has a very cool Hugh associated with it. And when you see the orange, the orange really pops all so I have a sketch over there that really helped me a lot and figuring out how it was going to do This geometric painting a Paul Claes and I chose to use our orange under background free it, which is not what he used. He's purple, so I'm going back to what Paul Klee originally intended. Now let's let those dry and they will come back and do our next step. 4. Let's Paint, Step 2: Hey, everyone, thanks for coming back. It's time for us to work on art Little elements that we have for this abstract elements class. All right, So we have Here are backgrounds, which I painted on each of our grounds. Here on this cotton duck you can see with a light colored marker very loosely have sketched . And I here I have painted with some light markers, some very horizontal lines, and I use this with my ruler, so feel free to get out a ruler to help you out with his geometric shapes. And I have a nice square right in the middle, which I feel is representative of the Sunday on or the sunset. This is called Fire in the Evening by Paul Klee or taking the eye from Senate CEO of here on this one. So we have a somewhat similar color scheme. I used some little cheats here to help me remember which colors to use to fill the sand. And remember, we started with a dark purple background here on this painting because we're interested in showing some of that background on top. So I am not gonna actually worry too much about feeling that all the way in. I'm actually going to let some of the background show I really like a very light lavender color. That's acrylic paint instead of a marker. And I like it so much that I do want to use it in here. This painting is unique in that it has a very lovely purple and orange palate. And then it has some earth tones, and it also like some color similar to the background color that we're using over here on our I painting. So I really wanted to let this purples and all that show through along with the purple that we're using for the background. We'll see. I have one other place that I've decided to use this very light lavender lilac color, and I'm gonna put it here. So if you were following along with fire in the evening by Paul Klee, you will notice that I'm not doing an exact replica of it. I'm just taking a portion, and I also have been quite free in deciding which colors I'm going. Teoh, use which colors I'm going to select. When you work small. You need to remember that you can't do everything you're going to have to be very selective and it's hard. I understand. I just use my marker, a bore down on it to try to get more pain out. And you can see again that I'm not being very particular and covering up the entire background. There's actually going to be a little layer on top of this. Once this dries, I'm gonna put a little bit of oil. Pastel on the very top really came out that time, didn't it? That's fine. We'll just let that dry as it is. I feel like that's where my my son set really is. Okay, let's see what else we have. I like the same color that we used before over here for the background for else inicio and I'm going Teoh, use it here in this painting, in another class in the abstract elements class that we did on Mido, you might remember that I said that you might want to choose a background color that connects your to painting so that you can show them as a pair. You don't have to do that. And I did not do that this time. I chose, you know, dark Brown and in the dark purple for these two paintings, but I do have some of the colors echoed here. Feel free to do that to your heart's content. Of course, you could have chosen a different background for this painting that I'm working on right now, as I did before, in in one of my sketches, Sunil and putting in some of these neutrals I really like, um, Lucy and I have another of my little cheat here. I wrote a W That means hey, nickel, use the white here. That's really bright compared to everything else. But we can change that with some top colors a little bit later. Alright. I feel pretty good about this right now, and I'm not gonna worry about it not being perfect. That's how it is right now. I'm gonna let that dry. Okay, let's go over here to see inicio and start putting in elements from Claes I This is an area that's above the eye, and I'm not actually sure if it's supposed to indicate an eyebrow. I have read some commentary where art historians believe that we're going up to a point kind of like a mountain in order to simulate an eyebrow And then, of course, for the cheek color. He really does use pink, just like I did when I was a kid. Clay often like to revert to his childhood good memories. And I think he felt very free when he painted more like a child. I think he really enjoyed that. We have a little bit of an orange coming in from where the nose is, where the nose could be in this painting. So gonna bring a little bit of that end. And then I think the rest of what I'm going to have on the outside is going to come from the oil pastels. Get a little bit of the white here with the I and actually use a little bit of gray to gray that up. Not gonna worry about that too much either. Because again, on the top, I'm gonna use some oil pastels to change that. Now, the people here is kind of a show stopper for this, this painting. So I want to use a little bit of an unorthodox color here with this bright orange, and then you'll see that I'm going to actually kind of seal the deal here with another color on top, but I'd like for a little bit of these orange hints to show through. So again, I'm using my Posca marker here to put in just surround Iris. Without a people, it's almost like a red people with no iris. And I've been careful to leave my outlines so that you can see underneath the undercoat that I use this this nice, warm brown undercoat and I think that I'm gonna leave it like that, and I'm gonna use the oil pastels to do some top work. So let's leave this here and allow that to dry. And then we need to do the oil pastels on top and will be done. 5. Let's Paint, Step 3: Welcome back, everyone. Thank you so much for staying with me until this very in portion of our abstract elements class on Paul Klee. I think you'll find this part especially interesting. We're gonna do something a little different. I'm going to start off with an iridescent paint. This is a liquid tax heavy body. You're a destiny rich copper, and we're gonna put this right here in the center of our I painting from Claes Senichi. Oh, and what is going to do once it dries? When you first paint in acrylic? Remember that the color always looks darker than it actually is. When it dries, it's going to have an iridescent sheen to it, so it's really gonna glimmer. It's not quite like putting glittering your paint, but it's a really beautiful metallic hue that you'll see there. And I think that you will enjoy that. I really do like the metallic shades in liquid Tex. The other thing that I've done for you is I've brought out some oil pastels and I just used a white paper towel here so you can see the different shades and I'm going to use thes oil pastels to fill in a little bit of texture. So remember, on the beginning stage of our painting here, I used a brown in the background, a really deep neutral that had a little bit of, ah, purple tone to it. And I said, We're gonna let that shine through. And that's why we chose to use the cotton duck because I wanted you to see what it was like to use a cotton fabric. Or you might want to use a burlap or something. And I really enjoy how that's coming through on the bottom on that sin HBO painting. Senichi Ocho. I'm not sure if it's Italian or Spanish. Paul Klee was Swiss, so we really kind of don't know where he got the name. Other than that, it means senile. He was talking about a self portrait of himself. Okay, so we have up here the white portion, and if you want to, you can grab a white oil pastel and fill that in a little bit more. I filled it in pretty well. But one thing that you may not be able to see what the camera is that this is providing a layer of texture on top, which is really beautiful. It's really kind of exciting, and I think it's very lovely. It's something that's a little different for acrylic painting to have that much texture on the top. And then over here, he had almost I guess I've used this sort of golden ride color, and I'm not sure if this is supposed to denote his actual hair color. His hair color, when he was a young man will kind of fill that in with a similar color palette. So right now I'm pretty much done with this little element painting that I have here. I've got some fun texture on top. Let's move over to our other painting, which is called Fire in the evening. So have it upside down right now. The fire began. It goes to the bottom, and we'll just use some of our oil pastels to fill in some texture. Here. I'm gonna move it back around so I can see it and work a little bit faster. So I've chosen just some brilliant hues here that are very similar, very complimentary to the colors that I have below in the acrylics that I use before they're going to just provide another layer on top. That's very pretty. You don't have to do much. You could do as much or as little as you want to. You don't have to do this step if you think it's kind of too much for your painting. But I kind of encourage you to do it just because it's so much fun. It's like being a kid again, playing with these crayons. So I hope that you've enjoyed these last little touches that we've done to our abstract element pieces with Paul Klee. And I hope that you'll join me for another class very soon. Happy art Adventures to You, my modern art masters.