Sunday, September 12, 2010

Decisions, Decisions: The van Gogh or the Homer?


It felt today as if autumn was serious about its arrival. After yesterday’s crisp blue skies and plentiful warm sunshine, today was a cool, almost brooding reminder of this being a transitional time of year. The sounds of football and smells of fall’s heartier fare drifted out from windows all over New England today. And while I’m not prepared to completely pack away my summer clothes or take my always-at-the-ready beach supplies out of my car’s backseat, there are important changes to be made: yes, it’s time to change the wallpaper image on my BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry wallpaper decision is, for me, never quick and rarely simple. I love many artists and there are some paintings that buoy my mood just by appearing on the inch-and-a-half square screen each time I turn on my electronic brain. I’m not one of those girls who can just choose a pre-loaded image, no, I’m rather fussy (read as: slightly obsessive) about what graces my little screen.

All summer I’d had Edward Hopper’s The Long Leg (1935) as my background. I love the sea and the palette of the work is so marvelously blue that it is the perfect summer painting. The small sailboat passes close to the shore, dunes, and lighthouse, but at no point does the viewer feel anything but freedom and relaxation—the way the best summers feel.
The Long Leg, 1935
Prior to the beautiful calm of the The Long Leg, I’d had a few spring wallpapers that I’d rotated between. A favorite for the early spring was Grant Wood’s The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1931). For me it’s a wonderful, if simplistic, painting that gives a wink and a nod to the tradition of Longfellow and the cult of Revere. Even though the piece is somewhat na├»ve and utterly inaccurate historically, I do love the rolling hills, the classic New England structures and the rocking-horse-like figure of Revere’s fleet and fearless steed.

In rotation with Revere was a much less artistic image, but one that always brought a smirk—a tgreat Montreal Gazette/The Sporting News photograph of Ryan O’Byrne upending Sidney Crosby. This happy image carried me through the entire Habs run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Seeing “Sid the Kid” horizontal never fails to elicit a grin and moment of schadenfreude.

Houses of Parliament, 1881
So what to do about early autumn, then? There are a ridiculous number of Hoppers and Homers that I love, seascapes and moonlight images, are always favorites and there’s an exceptional Homer watercolor, The Houses of Parliament (1881) that would fit perfectly into the tiny screen. And then there’s dear Vincent. How could I go wrong with a van Gogh? There are few artists of any medium who have the power to move me as consistently as van Gogh.

Hopper, Homer, Wood--maybe a Breughel? There’s a wonderful autumnal Kandinsky, hmmm. So much wonderful art, such a tiny screen. Of course I could change my wallpaper more often, but I like my mostly seasonal approach. This way I get to look forward to a new season as well as a new image to pore over on my BlackBerry.

So who won out…
Mulberry Tree, 1889
Of course, Vincent did. It’s Mulberry Tree, 1889. The fiery, unruly warmth that emanates from the tree and the swirling blue skies seem to me an ideal representation of what I hope autumn will be. 

3 comments:

Sid the Kid said...

Good choice! Saw flashes of that color yesterday, hinting of what's to come.

The Paper Tyger said...

Excellent! You can never "gogh" wrong with van Gogh, right? :P

sid fernando said...

:P