A Bloom-ing Evolution

Artist Evolution
Artist Evolution – Renaissance Gallery

“When I started in Second Life, I’d never worked in digital art, and photography for me in either world was a mystery.  When a friend mentioned I might enjoy this activity in Second Life, I laughed at him.  I am the person with the shaky, blurry picture in RL photos, even with an automatic zoom. Slowly and tentatively I started trying to be artistic with pictures, which were of course initially hideous.  I became obsessed with the effort.”

So open the introductory notes Molly Bloom has provided for the latest exhibition of her work, which opens at the Renaissance Gallery, curated by JolieElle Parfort, which officially opens on Monday, July 27th.

Artist Evolution
Artist Evolution – Renaissance Gallery

Entitled Artist Evolution,  the exhibit offers an examination of Molly’s SL art as it has evolved together with her mastery of the many composite elements that go into her work. As such it is a fascinating piece, not only for those who – like me – enjoy Molly’s work immensely, but for anyone interested in how an artist develops their eye, style, skill and artistry.

The pieces on display present the visitor with something of a historical look at Molly’s work as it has evolved, from her first “flat” snapshot (seen on the left wall as one enters the gallery), and progressing through her learning to build sets and make poses, discovering the power of lighting and lighting tools, to the influence of physical world art on her digital work as a result of her studies as an art history student.

Artist Evolution
Artist Evolution – Renaissance Gallery

“[I] have always been fascinated with Chiaroscuro, or the use of strong contrasts of dark and light.  Artists Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens and a host of others from the 15th Century are known for this technique,” Molly says.  “My first very serious work was a reproduction of this lighting technique set in a classical style [shown in the headline image for this review, and in more detail directly above, left] … That lighting technique became my signature.  From there I started playing with adding 3D elements to my work …”

…And thus we come to Molly’s stunning 3D art pieces which have so delighted audiences in Second Life wherever they’ve been displayed, and which I’ve previously covered in the pages of this blog when reviewing exhibitions such as Brain-Gasm, Rock’n’Roll, and Depth Perception.

Artist Evolution
Artist Evolution – Renaissance Gallery

The evolution of style and content is clear through the pieces displayed. But more than that, this exhibit also reveals more about the artist herself; through the works displayed here, we also catch a sight of her drive, her determination to master new techniques, to expand her own abilities and her range of creative expression. There’s a joy in art to be witnessed here that underlines the fact that this is both an insightful and delightful exhibition; one not to be missed.

SLurl Details

2015 viewer release summaries: week 30

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, July 26th, 2015

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version: Current Release version: – no change
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • No updates
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.4 on July 22nd and then to version on July 23rd – core updates: incorporation of the Viewer-Managed Marketplace functionality – change logs


  • Cool VL Viewer Stable branch updated to version and the Experimental branch updated to, both on July 25th – release notes

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space update: Pluto, Mars, and Earth’s big cousin

A composite image of Pluto an Charon, show to scale with one another and in true colour, as they were images by New Horizons on July 15th, 2015 (image courtesy of  NASA/ APL / JHU)
A composite image of Pluto and Charon, show to scale with one another and in true colour, as they were imaged by New Horizons on July 14th, 2015

New Horizons is continuing outbound from the Pluto-Charon system, its primary mission  complete. A new phase of the mission has now begun: returning all the data gathered safely to Earth; a process that is going to take an estimated 16 months to complete. Even so, and as indicated in my last report, what has already been received has been enough to turn much of planetary science on its head.

During a mission briefing on July 24th, 2015, Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator and members of the science team provided a further update on the mission, and revealed some of the more stunning images captured by the spacecraft during the close approach phase of the mission. One of the most striking of these was a picture snapped by New Horizons just seven hours after close approach, when it was already 2 million kilometres (1.2 million miles) from Pluto.

The image shows the dark disc of Pluto’s night side (which will not see the light of the Sun for another 20 years), surrounded by a halo of atmosphere, 130 kilometres (80 miles) thick, backlit by the distant Sun. Within the atmosphere sit two bands of thick haze, one around 50 kilometres (30 miles) altitude and the second at around 80 kilometres (50 miles) altitude.

Taken from a distance of 2 million kilometres (1.25 million million) beyond Pluto, this black-and-white LORRI images, captured 24 hours after closest approach, reveals the haze of Pluto's atmosphere as sunlight is filtered through it
Taken from 2 million kilometres (1.25 million miles) beyond Pluto, this black-and-white LORRI images, captured just 7 hours after closest approach, reveals the haze of Pluto’s atmosphere as sunlight is filtered through it

These bands of haze are believed to be the result of ultraviolet sunlight striking the upper reaches of Pluto’s atmosphere, breaking apart the methane gas there, giving rise to more complex hydrocarbon gases such as ethylene and acetylene. These heavier gases then descend into the colder regions of Pluto’s atmosphere, condensing as ice particles, which are seen by New Horizon’s instruments as the bands of haze.

The ice particles are further acted upon by ultraviolet sunlight so that tholins are formed. Tholins are large complex organic aerosols thought to contain some of the chemical precursors of life. These gradually fall out of the atmosphere to mix with hydrocarbons on Pluto’s surface, giving it the distinctive colouring we see in images like those given below.

Pluto by day: this image of Pluto, captured on July 14th, is the clearest true-colour image of the dwarf planet so far returned by New Horizons and shows deails down to 2.2 kilometres across
Pluto by day: this image of Pluto, captured on July 14th, is the clearest true-colour image of the dwarf planet so far returned by New Horizons, and shows details down to 2.2 kilometres across

The July 24th briefing also revealed some of the most detailed images of Pluto’s sunlit side yet published, starting with the true colour image shown above. This shows Pluto in twice the level of detail as the July 13th image published by NASA, revealing surface features as small as two kilometres across (the ultra-high resolution images LORRI has captured will eventually reveal surface features as small as 50 metres across). Featured prominently and unmistakably in the image is Pluto’s light-coloured “heart”, informally named the “Tombaugh Regio” in honour of Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh.

This huge region is divided into two parts, defined by the two “lobes” of the heart. On the left (west side) is the relatively smooth expanse of the “Sputnik Planum”, roughly the size of Texas.The is largely composed of a thick layer of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide ice. That it is almost completely without craters suggests it is much younger than the rest of Pluto’s visible surface; but how it formed has yet to be determined.

An increased magnification image of “Tombaugh Regio” and its surroundings. On the left of the “heart” (the western side of the planet) lies the smooth form of “Sputnik Planum”; to the right, is the eastern “lobe” of the “heart”, which shows similar bright material to that found on “Sputnik Planum”, but spread within more chaotic terrain

The right side of the “heart” is also brightly-coloured, indicating the presence of ices similar in nature to those in “Sputnik Planum”, but it also shows a much rougher terrain as well. Further bright, icy material also extends from the “point” of the “heart” into the southern polar regions of Pluto, again mixing with rougher terrain.

While it is not clear what actually gave rise to the icy expanse of “Sputnik Planum”, it is not believed the same mechanism is responsible for the ice in either eastern lobe or which extends southwards from the “heart”. These are believed to be the result of material from “Sputnik Planum” being carried into these areas, where it is gradually “painting over” surface features there.

An enlarged view of the southern area “Sputnik Planum” bordering the Lovecraft-inspired “Cthulhu Region” showing how the chaotic terrain around the “Hillary Montes” and “Norgay Montes” has been invaded by icy deposits, possibly carried into them as snow by wind action, or even the result of glacial activity

Continue reading “Space update: Pluto, Mars, and Earth’s big cousin”