My older students created works based on Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life as well. I decided to let them work on watercolor paper and used Dr. Martin's watercolor inks. The children were amazed by how different the experience was compared to using Prang watercolor cakes and all-purpose paper. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Prang watercolors are exceptional, and great for young learners. I just wanted the older children to get a glimpse of a greater color range and paper that would absorb and stand up to a lot more use.
Their paintings became deep, rich, and organic. Although the assignment was based upon Klimt, I feel they also worked toward creating original pieces. I warned that although nicer materials in general can achieve better results, they aren't the only part of what makes a work great. The final step was the option of using metallic tempera/metallic paint markers, to mimic Klimt's use of gold leaf in his works. Some students opted for it, and others not. More evidence of confidence and creating an original piece inspired by a master, instead of just copying one. Well done!