The Art of Lu in Second Life

Holly Kai Gallery: Art of Lu: Fantasy and Nature

Now open at Holly Kai Gallery, in the first exhibition of our new season, is The Art of Lu: Fantasy and Nature, featuring the art of Lu Anne Anatine (LeeLu Anatine). It’s an exhibition I am absolutely delighted about, as I’ve been enthralled by Lu Anne’s art since I first encountered it at an exhibition at Diomita Plaza Gallery / R&D Gallery (read here for more).

A professional illustrator and digital artist in the physical world, Lu Anne produces some of the most stunning art I’ve had the privilege to see in Second Life. Her work is deeply nuanced; each image stands on its own as an incredible work of art, while many of them suggest that are actually a frame of a much broader story or tale we are invited to let our imaginations weave.

Holly Kai Gallery: The Art of Lu

This is particularly evident in the fantasy images. They offer us glimpses into other worlds, some of which may be from fiction, as with the marvellous Alice, other of which might be born straight from Lu’s own imagination and which feature elven folk and merfolk and more.

The use of birds and flowers within these images links them directly to the selection of nature art Lu has provided for the exhibition – and I was delighted to see Colours of Winter among the latter: this hangs in our lounge at home. It’s a piece that ably illustrates Lu’s use of colour – even when used almost minimally or in muted tones  – as a means of giving a generous depth to her work.

Holly Kai Gallery: The Art of Lu

Throughout all of her art, Lu offers a wonderful mix: these are richly digital images, and yet each one is alive; as alive as it might have been if the subject had been captured in real life via a photograph. It’s not hard to image the coal tit of Colours of Winter flittering rapidly away from its perch a moment after its image had been captured, or to have the merman reach out a hand to help guide you in Swimming Lesson. This breath of life is achieved through Lu’s compositional technique with her work.

The materials I use are a traditional and digital mix of mediums. I will render in graphite the line work for the paintings then scan them into Photoshop so then I can paint digitally. I use a Wacom Cintiq to paint and the programs I use cross between Photoshop and Corel Painter. I may even use other traditional mediums like water-colour as an under painting that gets scanned as well the possibilities are endless …

– Lu Anne Anatine on creating her art

Holly Kai Gallery: The Art of Lu

It’s an honour to have Lu Anne with us at holly Kai Park, and The Art of Lu will be open through until October 13th, 2018, and I invite you all to come along to Holly Kai Gallery and witness her work first hand – you will not be disappointed!

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Ashemi: an Oriental reprise in Second Life

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise – click any image for full size

Almost two years ago, we visited Ashemi, the second Oriental-themed region we’d explored that has been designed by the team of Ime Poplin and Jay Poplin (Jayshamime) and Shaman Nitely. Along with Imesha, it offered a gorgeous setting which quite captivated me on visiting both. Sadly, Ashemi disappeared from the grid a while ago – so when I heard via Shakespeare and Max it is now back, we had to jump over and take a look.

Now located on a full region and taking the form of Ashemi Reprise, this cityscape environment is once again an absolute delight to witness. As with Ashemi (which you can read about here), the new region – open just four days at the time of our visit, presents a dusk setting (although given the Sun is in the east, it could be early morning, depending on your preference). I did opt to go with a late afternoon windlight setting for some of the images here, just to offer a little contrast, but I do recommend seeing the region under its default, as a lot of effort has gone into creating an atmospheric experience. Good use is made of projected lighting, so having Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences > Graphics) enabled is an essential part of a visit.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Several motifs from Ashemi’s previous incarnation are apparent in the build: the use of water in a central open area, the smooth merging of region with its surrounding backdrop, some of the statues and decoration, the placement of quiet little places, and the attention to detail. But make no mistake, this is a new design, offering a lot of extra detail and a rich mix of settings, the design sufficiently different to the original that it is easy to imagine that this is another district within the same city as the original Ashemi.

Broadly Japanese in its overall styling, Ashemi Repise includes touches from all over the orient and Asia. Those who remember the original will instantly recognise the tall Indonesian style statue watching over the central park / water area, while in the south-east corner, Ganesh sits in a smaller park, while tuk-tuks are to be found throughout.

We’re not afraid of mixing things. I think that makes it a bit more personal. Some small items scattered around that you wouldn’t expect.

– Ime Poplin, discussing Ashemi Reprise

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

From the landing point, a wooden deck just off the centre of the region in the parkland / open water area, visitors are immediately faced with a choice of routes: explore the park and water front and work out to the surrounding streets, or follow the multiple paths through the park and over the water to see what they might find? Personally, I suggest the latter, as this – to me – shows the depth of the region’s design, and allows the details to become more apparent. Dragons guard a Torii gate marking the way from the landing point to the park – and thence to the rest of the region.

To the south, a grassy route under trees rich in blossom leads to the water’s edge where a small pavilion sits at the end of the wooden walkway, candle-lit lanterns floating on the water around it. Another path points west, to where a series of small traditionally styled Japanese houses sit with little gardens, before connecting with the western side of the region. Also to the west, and connected to the houses and their gardens, is a larger pavilion, reached by a stone bridge. But really, to describe all of this area would be to spoil it: this is a place deserving of eyes-on exploration, following the paths and bridges and discovering all seating areas, platforms, shrines little market stalls and more, broken up into little islets under trees and edged by rocks.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Surrounding the central space is a square of roads mixed with low-rise buildings whose looks are suggestive of age, giving the setting a feeling of being an outlying, older district of a city, perhaps almost forgotten by the more distant skyscrapers and high-rise blocks, with their glowing windows and promise of big city life. The fact that this is a careworn place, lacking in attention is perhaps indicated on the southern side of the region, where a partially collapsed overpass can be found. Possibly the result of an earthquake, it has remained without repair long enough for an open-air theatre company to set themselves up amidst the remnants of the elevated road, which itself has become a place for advertising hoardings.

A market environment curls around the east and south sides of the region, sitting between water and the tired buildings lining the streets. It passes Ganesh in his little park, passing from under the flashing sign for China’s famous Tsingtao beer (fun fact: the Tsingtao brewery was founded by a group of German brewers in 1903, whilst under the ownership The Anglo-German Brewery Co. Ltd, but passed to Japanese ownership in 1916 before becoming wholly owned by the Chinese), to a construction site over on the west side, where a broad road points a straight finer to the fun fair that has shouldered its way into the setting.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

The attention to detail in several forms, not just visually (although do keep an eye out for the fat little Kermit taking a break in his explorations to a café, for example 🙂 ); extraordinary care has been taken with local sounds. In the market place are the sounds of commerce, for example, and around the warehouses are the sounds of people at work; while music plays in the fun fair and, if you pass a caravan on the back streets you might hear Jan Hammer’s Crocket’s Theme fade in and out as you walk by.

These back streets and alleys are another reason for the region’s sheer depth. They allow the seamless blending with off-sim buildings and scenes which in turn help blend the setting with the sim surround. So well done is this blending, it is very easy to find yourself bouncing off the region boundary and you explore, as the off-region areas look so natural.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

It is a delight to see Ashemi return to Second Life and take advantage of a full region, complete with the additional 10K LI. Due to appear in the Destination Guide soon, this is definitely not a region to be missed – and I strongly recommend allowing a good amount of time to explore it fully. Should you appreciate your visit, do please consider offering a donation towards Ashemi Reprise continued presence in Second Life.

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Detectives, wish trees, pirates and vacations in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, September 16th 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street

The third full-length novel written about Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles is likely to be the one Holmesian story which – at least in outline – known to most, whether or not they have actually read any of Holmes’ adventures.

But how many of us know the story as it was originally written? Over the decades it has been adapted for film and television more than 20 times, starting as early as 1914/15 with the 4-part series, Der Hund von Baskerville, and continuing on through to Paul McGuigan’s The Hounds of Baskerville, featured in the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock series.

All of these adaptations have offered their own take on the tale. Some – such as McGuigan’s, have simply taken the title of the story and used it to weave a unique tale of their own; others have stayed true to the basics of the story whilst also adding their own twists and turns quite outside of Conan Doyle’s plot in order to keep their offering fresh and exciting to an audience.

So why not join Cale, David, Corwyn and Kayden as they read from the 1902 original, and discover just how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unfolded this apparently supernatural tale of giant hounds and murder, and the pivotal role played by John Watson himself?

Monday, September 17th 19:00: Murder is Bliss

Gyro Muggins reads the first volume in the Jasper Stone series by Ellen Anthony.

In the year 2179, police lieutenant Jasper Stone finds himself called upon to solve the high-profile murder of Elizabeth West. The case appears to revolve around a valuable house – and the leading suspect is West’s disabled son.

But then the son is murdered – and the evidence points towards West’s grand-daughter, Jewell. Only she appears to have a rock-solid alibi for West’s murder. So is there more than one crime, or will Jewell be the next victim?

The more he investigates, the more Stone finds himself entangled in a complicated web of motives and a situation involving not just murder, but drug smuggling and blackmail. And the more he investigates, the more he might just be protecting the woman behind it all.

Tuesday, September 18th 28th 19:00: Wishtree

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighbourhood “wishtree” – people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighbourhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

A contemporary tale for the times we are witnessing, told with sensitivity and humour. The protagonist (and in may ways the victim of prejudice as unsought as that received by the family in question) may well be a tree, but she has a lesson to teach all of us about tolerance and understanding and a need to heal.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she reads Newbery Award winner Katherine Applegate’s 2017 story.

Wednesday, September 19th, 19:00: International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Come along and celebrate with all the scurvy dogs on the good ship “Seanchai”. Possible celebratory cruise to follow for those brave enough to endure one of Captain Cale’s sailing expeditions!

Thursday, September 20th, 19:00: Don’t Make Me Pull Over!

In the days before cheap air travel, families in America didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay hundreds – perhaps thousands of miles of road, and dozens of annoyances.

During his childhood, Richard Ratay experienced all of them; from being crowded into the back seat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.

Now, decades later, Ratay offers a paean to what was lost, showing how family togetherness in America was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions and the urge to “get there now.” Through his words he paints large what once made Great American Family Road Trip so great, from twenty-foot “land yachts” to oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes” and Smokey-spotting Fuzzbusters to the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio …


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The current charity is Feed a Smile.