Wallpaper of the Week: Paul Cézanne

March 20, 2009

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FROM JASON’S DESKTOP — I’ve had an itch lately for colorful impressionist paintings. I don’t know why. My tastes normally run to art deco (see: Batman The Animated Series), but in the past couple of weeks I’ve gained great contentment from heavily-daubed European country-scapes.

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Now, I’m no real art nerd, though I do love both versions of The Thomas Crown Affair. So I really have no eye or authority to comment on paintings; I’m a groundling, here. But to me, Cézanne is different because of his use of color.

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Sure, other 19th century painters (especially Cézanne’s French compatriots) had already experimented with shape being the most important element of a work; what I like is his ability to use bright, active colors further define those shapes.

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So enjoy these desktop wallpapers. As usual, I’ve touched them up with a couple of Photoshop filters to reduce fading and fuzziness, and resized them to the 1024×768 standard. I know there are better monitors out there, but again I am a groundling, trundling away with my pitiful 4:3 display*. Enjoy.

*That will change come Christmas, won’t it, Lisa? Yes. Yes it will. You know it’s true. Buy me a big LCD widescreen monitor. You know you want to. Do it. Everybody is doing it. You want to be like the cool kids. C’mon. Do it. Do it. DO IT. DO IT NOW.

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Wallpaper of the Week: Leonid Afremov

March 13, 2009

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FROM JASON’S DESKTOP — Usually my wallpaper selection strays toward geek culture, but sometimes sheer force of atmosphere is what’s needed. And that’s what Belarusian painter Leonid Afremov provides.

Afremov’s gallery is replete with hundreds of heavily-oiled canvases, all sharing an affinity for Cézanne-ish clashes of warm-on-cool color combinations.

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The 53-year-old, a graduate of the Vitebsk Art School, emigrated from Russia to Israel and now lives in Florida. He uses a palette knife-heavy technique that gives his works a thick and textured quality with large, raised edges that pop off the monitor.

It’s easy to see how those Mediterranean-cum-western-Atlantic influences have shaped his works; Afremov’s oil paintings are decked with Spanish and Romanesque architecture, glowing electric light and a permanent, golden autumnal theme.

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The result — in my younger eyes — is very collegiate, like an eternal first semester on campus. There’s a certain romance to the intimate enclosures of deciduous trees and paving stones and umbrellas, with the paths covered by what looks a recent warm rain.

His paintings remind me of the season I met my wife, and the nights we walked under the broad leaves talking. That’s probably 90 percent of my attraction to Afremov’s work.

At any rate, his paintings make excellent desktops, providing your monitor isn’t huge. I was able to eke several worthy 1024×768 backgrounds from the downloadable content on his deviantART page, and there’s many more to be had if you want to take the effort to clean them up and size them in Photoshop.