A new home for Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expression: Sorcha Tyles

Artful Expressions, the boutique gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, is well into its May exhibition, and now has a new, expanded home.

Newly relocated on a sky platform 1000 metres above ground, the gallery now occupies two L-shaped buildings built around a central square which can be used for opening events. The buildings provide a greater amount of space for the monthly exhibitions as well as for Sorcha’s own art, whilst retaining much of the homely feel of the original, ground-level gallery space.

Artful Expressions: Magic Marker

With the move comes an expansion in the number of artists exhibited each month. While Sorcha will continue to invite two artists  / photographers to display a number of their works at the gallery each month, she now additionally runs a contest via Flickr, inviting those interested in exhibiting their work to post an image to her Flickr group.

Each month, a picture will be selected by Sorcha and two of her friends – Hayael Bracula and Ninna Dazy – from those submitted, and the artist / photographer will be invited to display some of their work at an upcoming exhibition at Artful Expressions.

Artful Expressions: Hillany Scofield

For May the invited artists are Hillany Scofield and I’m a Magic Marker (SquarePegRoundHole69) – or Magic Marker for short. Hillany really needs no introduction to the world of SL art, being an accomplished photographer and artist who has exhibited widely in-world, and who also has her own gallery space (see me most recent review here). Magic Marker is more of a – to me at least – new name in the art world, and she offers a disarmingly sweet set of biographical notes:

For me, Second Life is a way to escape into a novel that you write yourself, but with me, the story is generally without a plot. Some images are cathartic, some are just because I like to look at pretty things. 🙂  I hope you like them too. And thank you for visiting. ❤  

Artful Expressions: Magic Marker

Her work is an interesting mix of avatar studies, the quirky and the eye-catching, often featuring bold colours which demand our attention.

The selected entry from the April competition is another well-established and widely known artist in Second Life: Goodcross, whom we had the pleasure of seeing exhibit at Holly Kai Park in 2016. Each artists presents a total of nine images for the exhibition, which for this month are all avatar studies / portraits, with each display area clearly noticed and biographical information on the artists readily available. Sorcha’s own work is offered in the foyer area of one of the buildings where coffee and a guest book are on offer, while a cosy hang-out area can also be found in another wing of the gallery.

Artful Expressions: Goodcross

The current exhibition will run through until the end of May 2017.

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Summer at Crystal Garden Estates in Second Life

Crystal Garden Estates, Quararibea Cordata Island; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Crystal Garden Estates – click any image for full size

Crystal Garden Estates is another semi-regular stop-over for me on my rounds of the grid. Designed by Sandi (Sandi Benelli) and her partner Mikal Beaumont, this Homestead region undergoes semi-regular makeovers by Sandi and Mikal, with each offering a new place to visit.

The last time I blogged the region, in July 2015, it had a Mediterranean look and feel, with berths for power and sailing boats all under a summer’s sky. However, as that was a good while ago, I was curious to see how things looked as we make our towards summer 2017; so Caitlyn and I recently hopped over for a look, coincidentally bumping into Sandi and Mikal as we arrived, just as they were tweaking one or two things before heading off to enjoy some in-world music.

Crystal Garden Estates, Quararibea Cordata Island; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Crystal Garden Estates

While the summer feel to the region, and the boat moorings are still evident, this latest iteration of Crystal Gardens Estates offers the look and feel of a more temperate zone this time around. The land has been divided into three large islands, running north-to-south, with a smaller, rounded island to the north-west, while a lighthouse-laden rocky outcrop completed the group. Separated one from the next by narrow channels of water, the three largest islands offer a collective landscape of tall trees, summer walks among sprays of flowers, and many places both indoors and out, where visitors can pass the time.

A visit begins on the west side of the island, on a wooden dock where two boats are berthed. A canvas-sided pergola sits at one end of the dock, offering a place to relax, while close by sits a comfortable little house built on stilts to extend out over the water from a rocky base. Beyond this, the island’s rocky southern headland offers a look-out point with a view of the offshore lighthouse. With a kid’s play tent ( a blanket spread over a line between two trees), dogs playing on the course grass and the waterside spots for taking things easy, this has the feel of being a holiday getaway, rather than a place of year-round abode.

Crystal Garden Estates, Quararibea Cordata Island; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Crystal Garden Estates

Another house, more substantial in size, sits to the north, close to where a bridge reaches out to the middle of the three islands. Also raised up on a stout deck, the house looks out over the curve of a  sandy beach, the boards stacked against its whitewashed wall suggesting it might be the holiday home for keen surfers.

Across the bridge, the middle of the three islands is home to a third cottage, which shares its waterside location with a trio of summer huts. A loose-laid board walk meanders southwards from the cottage passing a barn converted into a bar to one side and an octagonal pergola to the other, before arriving at another beach. Two bridges span the watery divide between this and the easternmost island. This has a slightly wilder feel to it, with tall pines under which a camp site sits and deer, foxes and wolves roam, while the rocky sweep of the northern shore is crossed by a raised wooden walk.

Crystal Garden Estates, Quararibea Cordata Island; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Crystal Garden Estates

The entire feel of these islands is that of a secret vacation spot; a place those in the know can slip away to and spend time forgetting about work and the rest of the world. This impression is heightened by the last of the islands in the group. Circular in form, its shape suggests a small crater with a partially flooded. More wooden walkways occupy this little spot, running around the basin and raised on stilts above the water, or straddling the rim. They link together a small cluster of thatched roof pergolas where visitors can relax, chat, dance or wander under ivy weaved trestles.

I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Crystal Garden Estates, and this latest one was no exception. The little archipelago offers much without in any way being overdone. There is plenty of room to wander, many places to sit and relax, both indoors and out; there are horses to ride and snuggles spots for cosier times with a loved one. For those so inclined, there’s even a drinking game to be found in the bar!

Crystal Garden Estates, Quararibea Cordata Island; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Crystal Garden Estates

Rich in natural colour thanks to the considered use of wild flowers, and set beneath and dusky sky, the region is genuinely photogenic and very much an ideal visit.

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