Abstract Line and Colour Paintings Inspired by Paul Klee

Create some stunning paintings to investigate colour, form and line with a little inspiration from abstract artist Paul Klee! A great art project for children with beautiful, open-ended results.

Welcome to another round up of Kids Get Arty, a bi-monthly celebration of children’s art work, hosted with Red Ted Art, Tinkerlab, Imagination Soup, Creative with Kids and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas! We are all about promoting art projects for kids through the exploration of great artists from all eras, cultures and schools of thought. 
Our inspiration for this project comes from the Swiss-German artist Paul Klee, born in the late 19th C, whose art was characteristic for its abstract subject matter and use of thick black lines and flatly applied areas of bright colour. He was one of my favourite artists to study while I was learning History of Art and I was keen to introduce his art work to the girls. Here are some of his paintings that we looked at together online and in our art books.
Using just black paint and large pieces of cartridge paper, we talked about making abstract, over-lapping lines by “taking the paintbrush for a walk across the paper.” Cakie loved this idea and became wrote absorbed by creating intersecting patterns and seeing the spaces and enclosures that appeared as she did it. I encouraged her to take the brush all the way to the edges of the paper and to reapply with paint often so that the lines didn’t thin out as the paint dried. I also asked her to look at the shapes that were being created with her brush as she worked, and she began to notice that she was creating art work with just lines!
She loved creating the “black line paintings”, as she referred to them, and painted at least 8 in a row until way after bedtime! The next day she needed no explanation about the next stage of the project and was very keen to start adding colour and bringing the pictures to life. I mixed up a range of colours from ordinary ready-mix primary colour paints, with white added, and she chose which ones she wanted to use, carefully applying the colour right up to the edges of the black lines. We talked about trying to hide the paper and leave none peeping through and this became a fun game too.
The finished results on all the paintings were absolutely stunning, with bright colours bringing them to life and making them so happy and vibrant to look at! She was so thrilled with her own art work and actually carried on painting, on and off, for three days in a row. She held up her painting and said “Um, Mummy, don’t you want to take a picture of the artist holding her artwork?!” So, of course, we took many! And she had them all lined up and ready to show Daddy when he arrived back from work.

 I love looking at abstract and modern artists with kids because there is no subject matter or end-product to aim for, therefore they feel less inhibited and more excited to have a go to create their own. This process has really captured Cakie’s interest and it is now reflecting in her drawings too, where she has started drawing intersecting lines across the paper and colouring the sections that she creates with bright colours!

We are framing these in our new kids art gallery space in the kitchen, and giving some away to family members too as there are so many wonderful finished pieces!

Want more art inspiration? Check out the wonderful list of art projects for kids that are linked below to Kids Get Arty! And visit my creative co-hosts Maggy at Red Ted Art , Tinkerlab, Imagination Soup, Creative with Kids and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas to see their amazing ideas too!

Have YOU got a post about creating art inspired by real artists? Link it up below!

Cakie: 4.2

See our other art projects:   Mondrian
                                               Eric Carle 
                                               Andy Goldsworthy
                                               Klee & Kandinksy


  1. says

    Thanks for this Anna. I am looking for some arty inspiration for the boys and Katy at the moment. Looking for fun easy projects we can do after school and this looks great! Was asking for arty inspiration on another forum and your blog was the first link mentioned :-) Off to check out your other links now.

  2. says

    Ooh this is beautiful. I love her wonderful artwork. I can just imagine your painting session!! Can we come next time and can Red Ted join in too!! He would have loved it.

    Paul Klee was one my first “Pin ups”, so I love that you picked him :-)

    Thank you for being such an amazing co host and making Kdis Get Arty fabulous.