Paul Klee was a Swiss-German artist associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Futurism.

His painting Heroic Roses (1938), is an abstract painting of roses. This tutorial from Wyndham Art Gallery is inspired by Klee’s work and is perfect for kids and adults as well.

Download the Heroic Rose Art Tutorial Instruction Sheet


This project could be done in a variety of materials, this lesson was written with acrylic paints in mind.

  • Acrylic paint, colours: Vermillion Red, Crimson Red, Viridian Green, Sap Green, Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Violet, and Black
  • Water
  • Paper towels or old rag
  • Palette or plastic plate
  • Paint brushes
  • Pencil
  • Canvas or Thick paper
  • Optional: permanent felt tip marker, tape


Step 1: Using a pencil, draft out the line elements of the piece.

Step 2: Do a first layer of red, purple then green in a wash going over your pencils lines to block out key areas of colour. To create a wash add water to your paint until it becomes translucent, so you can see through it, then apply to your surface.

Step 3: Build up layers of paint by adding in varieties of hues and tones into the blocked in areas, working around the lines. To create multiple colours, mix analogous colours, like different reds with purples or greens with yellows; together. Avoid mixing complimentary colours, like red with green or purple with yellow – as together these pairs make brown.

Step 4: Using a thin brush and black paint (or a felt tip marker after the paint is completely dry) go over your pencil lines. After you get the lines in, feel free to go back and making them thicker in some areas or accentuate edges.

Tips & Notes:

  • Remember to clean your brush thoroughly when switching between colour families to keep your colours vibrant and un-muddied.
  • Dry Brushing: Use an almost dry brush to drag & rub a bit of colour to lightly alter the lower layer of paint.
  • Don’t worry about going over your line work or ‘staying in the lines’. The last step will be to clean up the lines and make them crisp.