Recreating Kooling's Art

Made by Nazli

The goal of this project is to understand and recreate Kooning's art. I have read about his life and about his art, chose Woman I as the painting I wanted to recreate and painted on a digital medium.

Created: September 28th, 2015



My artist was Willem De Kooning. His parents were divorced when he was 3 years old and he left school at the age of 12 to work in commercial art. He went to New York and has done many jobs to earn money, but money wasn’t that important to him as he was offered good money in a job in Philadelphia and he said he would rather be poor but be in New York. He had an apprentice who he later married, divorced and remarried.

He was very influenced by Arshile Gorky. While his art was very abstract, he painted pictures of women in his paintings. However, the women he drew are very different than the classical portrayal of women. Kooning’s women are angry, they don’t look like a beautiful and obedient wife, waiting for the husband. The women in his paintings also show his feminist side. Kooning’s drawing style, as in how he used the brush and such, was also angry. “De Kooning worked on the picture (Woman I) for two years, revising it constantly, and aggressively - his dealer noted that his canvases often had holes punched through from the violence of his brush strokes.”


Interesting facts:

After divorcing, he had a relationship with Ruth Kligman, former lover of Pollock.

The last picture of the Woman series, Woman VI is located in Carnegie Museum of Art.

Quotes: "I'd like to get all the colors in the world into one painting".

"I make pictures and someone comes in and calls it art."



I wanted to choose a painting with a woman in it since his art focuses on women very much. I could have chosen a sculpture but he must have been more careful when doing a sculpture; if his hand slipped, he could hurt himself for example, but when he is painting, he wouldn’t need to worry about that. So I felt choosing a painting would be closer to his art.

I decided to go with the women series. I chose the first one, Woman I because I wanted the art to be closer to how he felt before it was shaped more by experience. It is a painting that both has abstractness, and has a woman, and these two qualities were very important in Kooning’s art.

This is the painting Woman I:



Honestly, I don’t like abstract art that has too many shapes and colors. So for example, I don’t like Arshile Gorky’s or Picasso’s paintings very much, but I really like Pollock’s since even though it has lots of colors since it doesn’t have many shapes. So my first impression of Kooning’s work was actually not very nice. Then I decided to do my research about his life and art, and I learned about how that painting was a feminist move, about how he brushed violently and it made me think that the painting must be a very emotional thing for him if he still draws violently after painting for all these years. Also knowing the meaning behind it made the art seem more beautiful and meaningful in my eyes.



Since I was doing this in a digital machine, I decided that using an iPad would be the best since Kooning did his art not with care, but with aggressive strokes and I wouldn’t be able to do that with a mouse as well. I drew a woman and used many colors. The only time I looked at the original painting was when I first learned the name of the artist, and I was careful not to look at it again because I didn’t want to be affected too much. I only drew from what I had in mind: Abstract art with a woman that doesn’t obey the stereo-type women in the paintings. I also used a special pen option because I felt a simple one would not be able to convey the abstractness. Kooning has used pictures of women smiling on the mouth of the woman in the painting, but they don't look happy, so I wanted my woman to have an expression close to a smile but not exactly. 



When we first got the assignment, I was worried I wouldn’t do well since I wasn’t good with abstract art, however, I feel like my product was not bad. It is similar to the painting I chose, but it is not so similar that it feels like a copy of it. I feel it conveys the feeling when looking at Kooning’s art a little. I don’t think I would do anything differently.

The main thing I’ve learned is that even abstract art is actually not that abstract because it may have a story or meaning behind it. Abstract art is not just something the artist felt like drawing, it is not something that has to convey just feelings, it can have a purpose and messages it wants to convey. When I looked at the painting Woman I for the first time, I just saw a woman, colors and shapes. After reading about it and about Kooning, I’ve realized that it is conveying many messages such as feminism. I felt that was very beautiful.



"Willem De Kooning Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works." The Art Story. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

  "Woman I ◄ Prev Next ►." Woman I. WikiArt. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.  

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The goal of this project is to understand and recreate Kooning's art. I have read about his life and about his art, chose Woman I as the painting I wanted to recreate and painted on a digital medium.