The Falling Leaves: Fly’s watercolours in Second Life

Sinful Retreat Janus III gallery Aug-Sept 2021: Fly Kugin

Second Life is awash with opportunities for people to express themselves creatively, be it through talents and skills they bring to the platform from their physical lives, or through the opportunities the platform itself offers for them to discover new avenues through which to express themselves – or indeed, a combination of the two. Through the platform we also have the opportunity to share in people’s creativity and their artistry and even to witness its growth.

Sinful Retreat Janus III gallery Aug-Sept 2021: Fly Kugin

This has certainly been the case for those familiar with Fly Kugin (FlyQueen). She first entered Second Life six years ago, and the majority of us were probably none the wiser. However, this changed in 2019 when, as a talented violinist with over 20 years of professional playing throughout her native Turkey and overseas, Fly started performing in Second Life.

In doing so, she quickly and rightly establishing herself as one a highly sought-after musician, with many of her concerts form early 2020 onwards presented through The White Mask Project, specifically established so she could channel the funds raised through such concerts into various charities close to her heart.

As well as bringing her music to Second Life, the platform has encouraged Fly to express herself through other mediums available within it, notably SL photography. She started taking landscape pictures in-world in 2020, teaching herself Photoshop to produce images that carry a the impression of having been painted. From here, either directly or indirectly, she started experimenting with art in the physical world, teaching herself techniques in line art and painting using on-line resources, and over the last several months she has exhibited her work at a number of in-world galleries.

On August 22nd, Fly opened what is her latest – and possibly last, at least for an unspecified period – exhibition at Chuck Clip’s Janus Gallery III at Sinful Retreat. The Falling Leaves is a gorgeous collection of nine watercolour paintings of the leaves (and in three cases the flowers) of various trees and flora.

While the title of the exhibition might remind some of the opening line of Johnny Mercer’s English lyrics for Autumn Leaves, the pieces selected in the exhibition are offered not in memory of a lost love, but as a dedication to the plants and flowers lost during the July / August 2021 wildfires that burnt through 1,600 square kilometres of Turkey’s Mediterranean forest (although given the soulful nature of the tune by Joseph Kosma to which Mercer set his words, it can actually frame the exhibition quite well).

In presenting The Falling Leaves, Fly describes herself as a “beginner” in the subject of painting flora; I’d actually dispute that statement. There is a maturity and grace within these paintings that easily puts them on a level approaching the works by some of the great botanical artists and illustrators; being English, I was almost immediately put in mind of some of Elizabeth Blackwell’s illustrations found in her A Curious Herbal, (without the associated medical connotations, obviously), such is the detail to be found in Fly’s pieces.

The maturity of technique these painting is made all the more attractive when one considers Fly only started experimenting with watercolours in June 2021. In fact, The Falling Leaves is her first exhibition of her watercolour paintings; a fact that makes the exhibition a bittersweet experience, given it is unclear when (or even possibly if) she will be exhibiting in-world again.

Sinful Retreat Janus III gallery Aug-Sept 2021: Fly Kugin

Given that there may not be another opportunity to view exhibitions by Fly after The Falling Leaves closes on September 22nd, 2021, I urge all lovers of art in SL to hop along to Sinful Retreat and visit the Janus Gallery III between now and then and share in these pieces.

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