Paul Klee
"Winter picture"

With his work simply entitled "Winter picture", Paul Klee created a picture of many contrasts: bright and dark, White and colourful areas. These contrasts gave the picture a certain memorable charm and expressed Klee's approach to painting.

Further material for this article.

Paul Klee - "Winter picture"

Artistic painting with the water colour paint box K12

With Pelikan, painting becomes a special experience: It is therefore no wonder that our paint boxes have remained popular amongst pupils throughout many generations, whether for school or private purposes.

With his work simply entitled "Winter picture", Paul Klee created a picture of many contrasts: bright and dark, White and colourful areas. These contrasts gave the picture a certain memorable charm and expressed Klee's approach to painting. Not only did he attempt to portray nature, but he also tried to understand it. In order to achieve this, he used special colour expressionism to make his point.

Due to its strong covering and durable colours, the original K12 paint box makes it easy to conduct the art class subject "Winter picture" at any educational level. What makes this class so interesting is the vast amount of variation possibilities. This enables teachers to add distinction to their art classes.

The classical approach to teaching art where famous portraits are presented tends to discourage pupils. They view replicating the original as impossible. We would like to propose a different methodology, where the pupils do not get to see the artists picture until the intended task has been completed. This method enables comparison with the original picture, without to much focus being placed on it. The key advantage of this method is the fact that the pupils focus on the technique of a famous artist by trying to replicate the technique and not the painting. Due to their bright colour quality, Pelikan opaque colours are specially suited for this particular art class.


Required materials for the "Winter picture" art class:
K12 paint box, artist pad, paintbrush and the Pelikan material package.

Original pupil picture

How the conduct the "Winter picture" art class

For the class presentation we have included four colouring patterns. Using the example 1 we will explain how to conduct the class. The same procedure counts for the other patterns. The examples 2 to 4, as many artistic variations can be found under distinction methods.

We would at this point just like to remind all that the following class content is not to be considered fixed. Feel free to combine or vary its content. A free creative environment usually gets the best results from pupils. Help however should always be provided where required.

  1. Download the "Winter picture" material package and the text off the internet.
  2. Present the pattern to the pupils on a blackboard or on a projector.
Example 1: Outlines of "drops" and tree.
  1. Talk to your pupils about these outlines. The following point could help direct the discussion:


    1. What could these shapes be illustrating?
    2. Which season is being presented?
    3. Could it also be presenting other seasons? Which colours would be required to do so?
    4. Woul the landscape look the same in real life?
    5. How does the landscape appear on the right side of the picture?
    6. In which different areas (e.g. bright-dark top-bottom) could the picture be divided into?

    The "drops" play an important role in this picture. In order to avoid making the pupils too aware of this, they are simply presented as outlines on this pattern. The following points should however be discussed:

    1. Which forms are noticeable?
    2. Which role does the drop play?
    3. Can the drop be integrated into the picture?


  2. After conducting this discussion, let the pupils paint their pictures. A copy of the pattern could be handed out to the pupils.
  3. After this, each pupil can give their painting a title.

Tip: It is always important to formulate tasks as clearly as possible! Therefore, we would advise selecting a appropriate introduction and combining it with the provided materials. At the end of this text we will provide some variation options.


Class example, based on Example 1:

Creation without seasonal dependency: Since the drops are only presented as outlines on the first pattern, pupils can use whatever colour they desire to fill them. This helps create different scenarios where the drops can become air or even hot air balloons.

"Old balloon"
"My favourite colours"
"Bad weather"

Different drop impressions, painted using Pelikan opaque colours.


Possible diversification methods

Alternative approaches:

As an alternative to Pattern 1, the following patterns can also be used:

  • Pattern2: Full tree and drops
  • Pattern3: Contrast: White drops on a dark background
  • Pattern4: Reduction: Black or White drops / tree without drops

Pattern 2: Black drops: On these patterns, the drop is the main focus. This has its advantages when the class discussion is to be focused on the shape message within the painting.

Pattern 2: Tree with black drops.

Example created during an art class:

"Finally Winter"

In this picture, the main focus was on the season. The drop was given the function of a speech bubble. The student did not reveal if the man in the picture is intended to be angry or happy.



Pattern 3: Contrast: In this pattern, the main focus is on the contrast - this is achieved by the contrast between the White mountain and the dark sky. Even the drops shine the dark firmament and provide reason for discussion. The main purpose of this pattern is to arouse distinction. This is due to the obvious contrast that does not require to be pointed out.

Pattern 3: Contrast as a discussion topic.

Pattern 4: Reduction: Since the drop plays an important role in Paul Klee's painting, the blackboard pattern can be reduced only to show the drop. The season is not the important issue in this case, it can be presented to the class without referring to the season at all. As a further measure, only the tree could be presented to the class.

Reducing to a Black or White drop / Reducing to the tree.

An Example from an art class:

"Summer rain"

When reducing to show only the drop, a whole drop landscape can be created.


The life of Klee

Paul Klee was born on 18.12.1879 in Switzerland. At the age of 11 he was already playing Violin in a large orchestra. Eventually however, Klee rebelled against the musical culture forced upon him by his parents as he decided to study art in Munich. It was here that Klee developed his own special techniques, especially the art of erasing.

Paul Klee is a good friend of Kandinsky, Marc and Macke. His work after 1912 was mainly influenced by the likes of Picasso and Rosseau. In 1914 during a trip to Tunis with August Macke, Klee developed his own style of painting. Light coloured paintings and an understanding for nature sums up the creative works of Paul Klee during this period. Klee's main focus was not on photographic reproduction, but much more on "dreamy" vision statements. He believed that art should not merely reproduce what is visual, but to make things visual. This adds much more meaning than simply displaying "the outside" (nature).

During 1921-1930, Paul Klee was a teacher at the Bauhaus in Dessau and Weimar. In 1926 Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger, and Jawlensky founded the "Blue four". He focuses his work on constructive, absolute pictures.

Coming under increased pressure from the Nazis, Klee fled back to Switzerland in 1933. In 1937 over 100 of his paintings were considered as "degenerated art" by the Nazis and confiscated.

Although critically ill, Klee continued to work on. Paul Klee died on 29.6.1940 in Muralto, Switzerland.