Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lead ins 2

Below is a wonderful painting by Ivan Shiskin. He was a Russian 19th century painter. There are now books available on him, but until a few years ago he was almost unknown in America. Below is an image as he painted it.

Below, I have used modern technology to do a dreadful thing. I have defaced a great painting. Here is the Shiskin without its lead in. In the upper image there is a Z shaped path starting in the left foreground, leading you back to the stream with its two figures and then you zig-zag back into the distance.

My damaged version shows why Shiskin put that little bridge in. In this version it is harder to get into the painting. The stream runs from the right to the left, which is the opposite of how we prefer a painting to flow. The whole image is a little flattened, the rhythmic design that took you deep into the picture is gone, and the picture seems a little bland. Rather than journeying into the painting, now we look AT it.

Shiskin image from artrenewal.org

22 comments:

Gregory Becker said...

Great landscape painter. I wouldnt have thaought that your editing would make such an impact but it does.
Good Lesson.

Deb said...

I LOVE SHISKIN. This painting makes me drool.

It is interesting too that one can use a very obvious lead in, like the path in this painting, or a much more subtle one, such as the snow tracks and little shrub/tree in your snow painting. Often, it is only small calligraphic marks that can help the eye journey into the world of the painting. That's when it gets fun.

bobm said...

What a difference you made.It still looks like a great painting but put the bridge in and wow goes from great to wow! I love the Russian Painters! Levitan Shikin, ALexi Gritzai. I Live not to far from THE RUSSIAN MUSEUM OF ART in Minneapolis and go there frequently.It is a small gem.Thanks again for another interesting post!

billspaintingmn said...

I discovered Shiskin about a year
ago. Fantastic artist!
The lead in is very important, as you have showen.
It's one of the reasons I admire this blog so much. You'r helping me get closer to painting great landscapes.
The Russian Museum of Art is a must see! Hi Bob! Hi Deb! Hi Greg!

willek said...

Let's not forget all those still life painters with their butter knife leadins. That is where I first heard the term. Of course it is difficult to place a believable butter knife into a landscape of any merit. The other extreme is Kinkaid with all those waggon tracks in the mud and snow. There must be more subtle lead ins/ tricks.

Tom said...

It is so amazing how much more comfortable I feel as the viewer when my eye is lead and directed. When I look at the second version where you remove the lead in my eye is not sure what to do or how to get across the foreground, it is almost like I cannot enter the painting, it even creates some anxiety and frustration in me. I guess it is the whole point of the blog as Vernon Blake wrote, "The artist’s idea should always take precedence over nature."

mariannepost said...

A striking example. Thanks for illustrating the importance of the lead in. I have always found it curious how are cultural biases influence us in more ways than we can imagine. Our western world ways of reading and writing from left to right impact the way we comfortably see things and interact with them.

barbara b. land of boz said...

I thank you again Stapleton. One picture truly is worth lots'a words. I am sooooo happy to have found your blog. It's amazing how removing a couple of key elements
can change the whole picture!!

I forgot to tell how beautiful your painting from yesterday is.
Your level of understanding and the ability to convey this to others is a blessing (to us).
barbara b.

Barbara said...

I just have to pass this info on: Jerry's Artarama has the Beauport easel on sale for $99.99 until 2/28/10! What bizarre luck to have it happen right after snowcamp. Thanks for the demo, Stape!

Mary Byrom said...

ASW has the Beauport on sale right now for $79.99. Are they dueling?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gregory:
Thanks.
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deb:
Paintings don't have to have lead ins but they often help.
.......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bob;
I want to see that museum. Where is it. I know my way around Minneapolis.
...................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill:
It sounds like you are a fan of the Russian Museum too. When did it open. It is certainly since I lived there.
....................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill:
It sounds like you are a fan of the Russian Museum too. When did it open. It is certainly since I lived there.
....................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Willek:
Yes it is difficult.
...................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Willek:
Yes it is difficult.
...................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Tom:
I hadn't thought about Vernon Blake in a long time. Is he worth rereading?
..............................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Marianne:
That right to left thing is very important.
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Barbara:
Thank you , thank you and Thank you.
...............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Barbara:
They need to be reworked. They will not function out of the box. Get one from Take it Easel!!!!!
..................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Mary:
ASW and Jerrys are owned by the same people and the phone bank is the same people. I don't know why.
...................Stape