How Color Transports You Across the Seasons (& A New Winter Wallpaper)

Today, I embraced the quickly-fading winter. Today, I put on my helmet and smiled as my bike’s tires hit an interesting mixture of road… and snow.

Despite the cold, it was a beautiful day for biking; and the sky was a pristine blue that, ironically enough, was very nearly the color of the wallpaper that I’m going to share with you today. Often, we travel less in the winter; so although your body won’t go anywhere, I hope that this wallpaper will help transport you to a more relaxified place in your mind and remind you to keep your focus on the positive: the warmer days to come.

As we enter the last few weeks of winter, I’m excited to present “Joyful Day”, the final piece from the Snowy Cascade wallpaper series. It’s the brightest winter-themed wallpaper I’ve ever released, not to mention one of the brightest wallpapers I’ve ever created. And what better time to brighten up the mood than in late winter?

In fact, as I type these words the wallpaper is set as my own desktop background, and it seems to exude an interesting mix of calmness and focus. Compared to most of the other snowy wallpapers, this one is much more relaxing on the eyes; and it definitely has the most relaxing color palette of them all. In fact, it’s probably the best winter-themed wallpaper I’ve ever created. So why does it work so well?

The Deceptive Yet Powerful Nature of Color

Well, if you haven’t done any graphic design before, you may not realize that the concept of color can be extremely tricky. Some have even said that color’s nature is to deceive, but it’s more accurate to say that color’s nature is to be relative and surprisingly unpredictable. For instance, have you ever tried putting a bright red shape right beside a bright blue shape on your screen? The edge where the red and blue meet will look really wild, creating a dissonance that is uncomfortable, to say the least. Color dissonance like this can even cause headaches. Yet other color combinations can produce a calming effect. How?

The reason for this is due to how your eyes and brain process color. As you probably know, a color is basically a specific frequency of light, and these frequencies can be mixed to produce interesting effects. In fact, according to some studies, seeing certain shades of blue can actually cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming. And I’ve experienced this firsthand.

How did I choose one shade… out of thousands?

Art is deceiving. At first glance, you’d probably never guess how much time went into fine-tuning the final shades of blue used in “Joyful Day”, but it was completely worth it. As I usually do, I relied on my own intuition for choosing the right shade. But there are thousands of shades of blue. Pick the wrong blue, and the work becomes cold instead of calming. Pick the right shade of blue, and you can change the dynamic of someone’s workspace, creating calm. Pick the perfect shade of blue, and you may even be able to evoke childhood memories of Easter.

The kind of excitement and expectation found during Easter and Spring is exactly the feeling I hope this wallpaper evokes in you. To me, this wallpaper represents the tail-end of winter and the promise of a green spring. (A time when, in my opinion, it’s much more enjoyable to travel.)

If winter is getting you down, let this radiant wallpaper transport you to a brighter vision of winter that leads to a swift spring. Remember, spring is fast upon us!

Get the new wallpaper in Widescreen (up to 2560×1600) →

Snowy Cascade - Joyful Day snowflake wallpaper

All content released under a Creative Commons license. These wallpapers look great up to resolutions of 2560×1600. That’s over 4 million pixels of goodness.

How to Avoid Getting Sick in the Winter (& Relaxifying Snowy wallpapers)

Now that the holiday season is nearly over (for the majority of you, at least), I thought I’d share with you some chillified versions of the Snowy Cascade wallpaper. (You know, something a bit less flashy and extravagant.) And, more importantly, I’m also going to share with you some important facts you need to know about surviving winter without getting sick.

So today we’re going to talk about keeping art (and your health!) from falling through the cracks, how to prevent yourself from getting sick in the winter, and a lesson in being aware of your surroundings.

Snowy Cascade Clear versions thumbnail I’ve gotta be completely honest with you though: I’ve been holding some stuff back. I purposely waited until after the holidays to release these three chillaxed flavors of Snowy Cascade that I’m releasing today. Because what’s the point if I release all 11 wallpapers at once? It’s too much at once! And inevitably some would fall through the cracks and fail to be appreciated. These 3 new additions to the Snowy Cascade Clear wallpaper set are:

  • Snowy Cascade Clear – Morning
  • Snowy Cascade Clear – Dark
  • Snowy Cascade Clear – Night

Based on some profoundly unscientific polls that I’ve done this month, I expect that these three flavors will be even more popular than the previous 5 flavors because people seemed to prefer the “Clear” look.

Avoid Falling through the Cracks (In Art & Health!)

As I mentioned above, I held these back because if I released too much content at once, some would fall through the cracks. Good art can fall through the cracks not unlike how a harmful virus can get through the armor of one’s own immune system. When travelling it’s extremely important to pay attention to how your immune system is doing, because you’re certainly not going to have any fun if you’re bedridden the whole time.

And this time of year, people getting sick from viruses is more common because people often indulge in lots of sugary foods during the holidays, which produces a spike in blood sugar. What they don’t know is, the resulting blood sugar low leaves you with a highly weakened immune system, which is precisely when viruses take hold. Another reason we have weakened immune systems in the winter is the fact that sunlight is much less direct in the wintertime (due to the tilt of the Earth) which means it takes much more exposure to sunlight for your skin to create enough vitamin D for the day. (Not to mention that you probably don’t want to be outside getting some sun anyway since it’s so cold!)

This combination of increased sugar and decreased Vitamin D is the main cause of the “flu season” that is so common during these winter months.

I should know since over the past few days I narrowly avoided catching a virus myself. I could even feel my body fighting it, and when I was hit with a wave of sleepiness, I listened to my body and took a nap. (And naps are unusual for me.)

I’ve only managed to successfully fight this virus off through careful nutritional planning and a high level of awareness of my own body. For instance, I’ve been making sure I get lots of a vitamin C (I ate 4 oranges yesterday), as well as Vitamin D. Being a vegan most days of the week (and a vegetarian on the other days), most of my vitamin D comes from fortified sources. (Right now my favorite way to get Vitamin D is from Almond Milk since, for a variety of reasons, cows milk actually decreases immune function.)

By carefully avoiding refined sugars, making sure my Vitamin C & D levels were high, and drinking plenty of water, I was able to fortify my immune system to deal with the current buggy environment.

A Funny Story about Mistaken Identity & Vitamin D

Speaking of Vitamin D, when I was a kid I was walking through a grocery store, wandering away from my family and daydreaming, as usual. (Are you surprised?) After a few minutes, I stumbled across a strange kind of milk. The cap was a different color than I’d seen before, and I turned to my Dad who was nearby to ask him what kind of milk it was.

“What kind of milk is this? It seems different”, I asked.

Except that the man wasn’t my Dad at all. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was him, but that reality soon shattered. This man, who was about the height of my father, turned around and in a very deep voice said, “VITAMIN D.” (Yes that warrants all capital letters. If you’d heard him, you’d put capital letters too.)

Taken aback, I gasped and looked up at him. I tried not to look surprised and just went with it. “Ah! Thanks…”

On that day, I learned a valuable lesson about being very aware of your surroundings. And this applies equally to travel and health. Think about it.

Fits the Times Perfectly

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the 3 new wallpapers and have amazing New Year celebration. Remember to be aware of your bodies and eat sugary foods in moderation!

As a sample, I’ve put a preview of the muted Snowy Cascade Clear “Dark” version. And I think it fits this time of year perfectly, don’t you?

Which flavor do you like best?

Get the new wallpaper in Widescreen (up to 2560×1600) →

Snowy Cascade Clear - Dark

All content released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. These wallpapers will look great up to resolutions of 2560×1600 (about a 30 inch screen). That’s 4,096,000 pixels of goodness to make your desktop look as incredible as possible. With so much free content on the site, why not tell a friend?