Japanese falling leaves

(Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this blog post are affiliate links, so I can make a few extra coins to help pay for a fraction of the cost to host this website. #CommissionsEarned)

I love these falling leaves in my browser.

"Mandarin ducks crossing icy pond amid falling leaves" by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1830s from artic 1943.638
Mandarin ducks crossing icy pond amid falling leaves” by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1830s
Open source from Art Institute of Chicago

Simple falling leaves. So gentle. So soft. Easily drawn. Light daubs of watercolor. Even the Japanese written on the left mimics the leaves. Since you read Japanese from top to bottom, these letters flow down the page just like leaves.

Full version reveals some cute ducks at the bottom of the image.

I set up the ArtTab Chrome extension to crop the artworks to fit full-width in the browser. I love how it crops these vertical images to show only the top part of the image. It’s like a random mystery in the browser.

Do I see ice cracks under the ducks? I think so! The top duck appears to be swimming in the water. The bottom duck is standing. Thus, it makes sense that these cracks are actually ice. This sort of perspective feels SLIGHTLY cubist. Slightly.

The flowing leaves, the flowing text downward, the cute ducks, the ice platform. So many pleasant items in this print. I might just print this out at home to hang up to appreciate some more. Printing this on fancy glossy photo paper doesn’t feel right. Straight-up uncoated regular office paper seems to be a good fit for this subject.

I tried printing the entire image, but it ended up too small on an 8.5×11.

The ducks were too big. For me, the appeal for this print is the leaves. I cropped the image in Photoshop to include just the top part, filling up the entire sheet. Here’s how it looks randomly taped onto the wall by my desk.

Funny how the walls are painted a similar light green as in the print.

If you are curious, the image underneath is a coloring of Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. The printout is from an Art Institute coloring book ($15 from the Art Institute shop, $11 from Amazonaffiliate link!). Earlier this year both Julia and I colored this page. Julia would have turned five years old when we colored this together. I’ve been meaning to write more about this coloring/drawing. For now you get a sneak preview.

Search for falling leaves

Ok, back to the Falling Leaves print. If you search the Art Institute collection for: Falling Leaves, you end up with a WONDERFUL set of results. Images of leaves, like Georgia O’Keefe’s super bright Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy.

(Since this was painted in 1928, it’s not yet in the public domain. Please forgive me for posting it.)

And Kazimir Malevich’s Painterly Realism of a Football Player—Color Masses in the 4th Dimension

(Also not public domain even though it was painted in 1915—well before the 1924 cutoff. I don’t get it why some artworks don’t get into the public domain. So again, I’m sorry for posting a screenshot)

ThisMalevich painting would look very nice next to the Japanese falling leaves.

In the search results for falling leaves, the Art Institute also has a non-colored version of the falling leaves print! Awesome! I’m printing this out for my kids to color. To help with the coloring, I removed the background color of the paper. Since the print is so narrow, I cloned some of the leaves to fill up the 8.5×11 paper.

When the kiddos color this, I’ll post a scan. This image is in the public domain. Want to print out this 8.5×11 version for yourself or for your kids? Go ahead!

I want to see how you color it.

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