Jeanie’s summer moments in Second Life

KonectART Gallery: Jeanie – Wishes and Wanderings

Jeanie (jeanienabottle) is the manager of Art Korner gallery in Second Life. – and she is also an excellent photographer-artist herself. Proof of this can currently be seen – for a while longer at least – via an exhibition of her work on display at KonectART Gallery.

Entitled Wishes and Wanderings, for anyone who is already tired of snow, snow, and more snow in regions, it might be a welcome harkening back to summer days and times outdoors or the warm colours of early autumn.

What I particularly like about Jeanie’s art is that whilst most of us (myself included) tend to keep to a single frame size when exhibiting their art for a sense of uniformity, she is not afraid to mix her canvas sizes, offering pieces that are cropped to precisely the narrative she wishes to present.

KonectART Gallery: Jeanie – Wishes and Wanderings

Thus we have marvellous pieces such as Plough, sitting against a backdrop of a 1940s/50s vintage pick-up truck; it captures a sense of history down the decades, from the era of the horse as the engine of the farm, to the era of the internal combustion engine through the opening decades of the 20th century.

Elsewhere, Jeanie provides more panoramic pieces that capture an entire landscape or the beauty of flowers sitting in the sun and all points between. Take, for example, the marvellous pairing of Peace; within it is a soft sense of autumnal comfort and romance. Throughout the selection are pictures that offer tales of childhood, times past, and stories of possible mystery (Summerland).

For someone who notes in her Profile that she specialises in avatar-centric studies, through Wishes and Wanderings Jeanie demonstrates she has a gifted eye for landscape and natural images and for cropping, together with a lightness of touch in post-processing that is utterly engaging.

KonectART Gallery: Jeanie – Wishes and Wanderings

Having opened on November 17th, 2021, I believe Wishes and Wanderings will be around for another couple of weeks – and it is an exhibition that genuinely should not be missed. To reach it, take the elevator alongside the landing point.

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Majilis al Jinn and a return in Second Life

Majilis al Jinn and Shadezar, November 2021 – click for full size

For a brief time in August / September 2021, Hera (Zee9) brought back her fabulous role-play environment of Shadezar to her home region. An iteration of her Kingdom of Sand build, it may well have have originally been inspired by Shadizar The Wicked City, from the Conan sword and sorcery stories by Robert E. Howard; stories set in the pseudo-historical “Hyborian Age”, a time “after the destruction of Atlantis but before the rise of any known ancient civilisation”.

I wrote about the build alongside of Hera’s equally captivating Venesha in Sharing in Hera’s Dreams and Visions in Second Life, shortly after which Shadezar relocated to a new home in the sky above Majilis al Jinn, another role-play environment that might be considered from a similar swords-and-sorcery setting within it own uniqueness.

Majilis al Jinn and Shadezar, November 2021

Both setting are located within a Full region utilising the Land Capacity bonus available to private Full regions and held by Atossa (herminetic). Atossa actually invited me to reacquaint myself with Majilis al Jinn back at the time I visited Shadezar back in August, so my apologies to her for having taken a while to get to actually write about her setting, which has been designed by Atossa and Calein Flux.

The two locations are linked by a central landing point, where visitors and role-players can gather all the information they may need prior to visiting either location.

Majilis al Jinn and Shadezar – Shadezar, November 2021

Shadezar is very much as it appeared with Venesha on Hera’s own region, offering those who missed it earlier in the year to enjoy exploring and finding the many opportunities for photography and imagining Howard’s world  – even if his Shadizar was described as a centre of thievery and debauchery. Given I have previously covered it, I’ve focused primarily on Majilis al Jinn within the photos here.

An island of worn ancient cliffs sheltering a garden of wonders; Lost for countless ages in the midst of a vast ocean, home to Jinn, Elves and gentle spirits.

– Majilis al Jinn description

Teleporting from the landing point will deliver arrivals deep underground, with one of several routes of exploration – out to the sands of a beach, through tunnels to hidden caverns, or up winding stairs and straight stairways leading off of rooms and chambers of their own, to reach the main build with its gardens and grand palace.

Majilis al Jinn and Shadezar, November 2021

With its open rooms, curtains, water features, and high central dome, the palace has a sense of comfortable coolness whilst offering plenty to see whilst winding stairs lead up to rooftop pavilions and seating. It is also within the palace visitors can find an art gallery containing reproductions of classical painting that are offered for viewing pleasure. This gallery also includes a teleport disk, one of several to be found throughout the setting to help people find their way around. the ground level points of interest.

Nor is this all. For those one enjoy something a little different, the teleport disks also offer access to two further sky builds: a space station for the sci-fi oriented, and a Warbugs airfield for those who fancy a little aerial combat.

Majilis al Jinn and Shadezar, November 2021

Rich in detail, a pleasure to explore and with opportunities for resting and photography, Majilis al Jinn, together with Shadezar and the other destinations in the region make for an engaging visit.

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Sensual wings and written reflections in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre: Lika Cameo – One Thousand Wings

November 25th marked the opening of a new exhibition at the Kondor Art Centre, curated by Hermes Kondor, of a themed selection of images and words by Lika Cameo (LikaCameo) that is utterly extraordinary in its presentation of art, introspection / reflection and in its presentation style.

One Thousand Wings takes as its foundation, the major part of a quote from Virginia Woolf:

[Lock up your libraries if you like;] but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Within that essay – the result of two lectures she delivered in October 1928 to the women’s constituent colleges of Newnham and Girton at Cambridge University, England – Woolf sought to explore social injustices and comment on women’s lack of free expression that existed at the time. This quote is joined by a verse by artist Erin Hanson:

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

– Erin Hanson

Kondor Art Centre: Lika Cameo – One Thousand Wings

While there are some core against various views Woolf expresses within that essay, Lika uses the quote from her essay, and the words by Hanson to explore what it means to freely express emotions in a century that has started to feel as if our freedoms are being increasingly being constrained by intolerance and when life has been constrained by a global pandemic, complete with a layering of what freedom means to her.

In doing this, Lika presents trios of avatar studies, all utilising the same pose and with a motif of wings, each piece finished individual to its partners. This approach leads to three images that, whilst all identical in terms of posing and motif, offer three pieces that offer a vastly different sense of depth, focus and emotions.

Accompanying them is a piece of prose  / blank verse (by either Lika or possibly Zakk Bifrandt, it’s not entirely clear) that offers an outlook / sense of emotion or thought that works to both complement and compliment the images.

Kondor Art Centre: Lika Cameo – One Thousand Wings

Complement, because the text can be taken as a whole with each version of the image and the trio as a whole, forming pairings with each image, working with the subtle differences in presentation and finish to tell a unique story of reflection / emotion. Compliment, because whether taken as pairings or as set of four panels, they together form a whole, works balancing image(s).  Each set of images is further reflected in animated double-sided panels that offer a further, changing take on the sets.

As expressions of freedom, these image carry a powerful metaphor in the use of birds and butterflies to express the freedom of thought taking flight, as captured in Erin Hanson’s words. As reflections of emotion and release in a time when were are under pressure to conform or keep our feelings under wraps, this is an incredibly powerful series of images. More particularly they stand as insightful, emotive reminders that it is so easy to become trapped within ourselves  – something that Lika expresses beautifully through her own words:

Often our thoughts tangle around the soul, forging our prisons, never grasping that we are always the key to our infinite free will.

Lika Cameo

Kondor Art Centre: Lika Cameo – One Thousand Wings

As demonstrations of art and how to use lighting, colour, tone and other post-processing techniques to impart a range of emotional responses to a single image, One Thousand Wings is equally as powerful an exhibition; and while I’ve oft said this – it is an exhibition that should be seen and appreciated.

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A Winter Solstice in Second Life

Winter Solstice, November 2021 – click any image for full size

Winter Solstice is another region that offers a mix of public spaces and private residential parcels that I recently had occasion to visit. As a Full region, it offers to the north and south – the later separated from the rest of the region by a body of water that cuts deep into the landscape, leaving the centre of the region open as a public spaces built at the foot of a tall mountain.

Held and designed by JasmineSnow (jasminesnow333), it is the home for her estate’s main rental office, but offers a lot of opportunities for photography throughout the public spaces whilst also containing a subtle nod towards Christmas through the presence of a Santa or two, whilst a number of static mannequins give further level of life to the setting.

Winter Solstice, November 2021

Most of this can be found along the region’s “main street” that runs south-to-south along the foot of the central mountain, with shops, places to grab a hot drink and even a small stables where horses can be found. Behind the street, the mountain rises, from which a single track railway track emerges to mark the edge of the water that cuts into the region to the south, before running up to the north and then back to around to re-enter the mountain, marking an informal boundary between the public spaces and the rental properties along north side of the region.

There are also opportunities for activities such as ice skating an horse riding to be found within the region – again, allowing for the private residences. As well as the main street, the eastern end of the region provides plenty of open space for wandering, sitting, whilst to the west there is a music and event space.

Winter Solstice, November 2021

Beyond this, there is not a lot more to say – simply because the region, simply because it genuinely speaks for itself. It is photogenic, both thing the built-up area and in the open spaces. And with this in mind, rather than prattle on, I’ll leave you with further images and encourage you take a visit.

Winter Solstice, November 2021
Winter Solstice, November 2021
Winter Solstice, November 2021

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Sisi’s cityscapes and shorelines in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

It’s no secret that I’m a huge admirer of Sisi Biedermann and her art. The way she is constantly shifting her style and focus means that she offers one of the broadest and most engaging ranges of art to be found in Second Life, and her exhibitions invariably offer something new to appreciate and admire.

This is certainly the case with her exhibition at Raging Graphix Gallery, operated and curated by Liv (RagingBellls). Occupying the upper floor of the gallery, this is selection of art that comes in two parts: within the main are of the exhibition floor are thirteen pieces collected under the title Dusk & Dawn, with five further pieces located at the top of the stairwell leading into the exhibition space.

As the name suggests, Dusk & Dawn presents a mix of images between them representing early mornings and sunsets – although such a simple description does not do these pieces any justice at all. This is a gourmet selection of digital art pieces that mix city skylines and coastal scenes that have a richness of colour and depth that is extraordinary.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

The skylines concerns are pretty much instantly recognisable, with those of New York offering unique takes on some familiar landmarks, whilst the Golden Gate is perfectly framed in a hazy, misty morning sky that many will be familiar with  from film, television and photographs but which is here given a new twist through the use of colour that gives a warmth of colour whilst suggestion of a cool morning.

Meanwhile, within the coastal scenes are views filled with the warmth of sunset that carry the imagination to exotic places with warm seas and long, cool cocktails waiting to be enjoyed before a sunset walk along the beach. There are also images that bring to mind early mornings and times when motor fishing boats might be passing on their way to make their catch, or when we might walk the banks of a river or along the shoreline of a lake as the Sun is just high enough to start burning away the morning mist.

With some of the images finished with a touch of vignette, the use of soft tones and layered to offer an etching-like sense of texture and physical depth, these are genuinely captivating pieces.

Etched finishes are also much in evidence in the five pieces at the top of the stairway. These are taken from Sisi’s collection of digital art capturing the world of garden nature. Each features a central colour – pink, white, green, red and black – all joined by the word Magic. Each is an exquisite collage of colour, beautifully finished and presented.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

It is hard to see Sisi’s art and not become caught up within it, such is the beauty to be found within each and every piece she produces. Miss this exhibition at your peril!

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Winter’s Echo Ridge in Second Life

Echo Ridge, November 2021 – click any image for full size

For me, one of the somewhat difficult aspects in writing about regions in Second Life is how to deal with those locations that offer a mix of public spaces and private residences.

I say this because while many of these regions try to strike a balance between public / private, there is always a risk that I’m encouraging a degree of possible trespass / invasion of people’s personal space by suggesting people go and visit. As someone who appreciates her own home spaces and the retreat they offer, I’m possibly being overly sensitive in this, but it is something I can’t shake. There’s also the fact that there are regions that have a bias towards rentals that makes writing about their public spaces difficult, simply because of the volume of homes and the limitations they place on exploration and discovery.

Echo Ridge, November 2021

Such is not the case with Echo Ridge, a Homestead region that forms a part of Elvira Kytori’s White Dunes Estate, some of which I have covered in the past in these travelogue pieces.

What drew me to Echo Ridge is its layout and current wintery setting. Comprising a single large northern landmass, surrounded by high peaks that in turn encompass a scattering of smaller islands, it has only four rental properties within it. These are placed far enough apart within the setting that, with the intervening waters being frozen, allows for exploration without huge risk of trespass. Add the overall winter dressing the region has, and this layout also allows for numerous opportunities for photography and also for some winter pursuits such as sledding and skating.

Echo Ridge, November 2021

The landing point for the setting is tucked into a southern island that offers plenty of room for wandering, places to sit and views across the rest of the region. From here it is easy to see the surrounding rental properties, and perform a quick check on parcel boundaries (right-click on the ground each house stands on) to spot the extent of private areas.

Beyond this, it is a simple matter of setting out to explore as you will; there are no set path other than the ice-coated waters, and they will lead you where you wish. The northern landmass additionally offers a snowy path that arcs around it, skirting one of the rental properties as it does so, to offer more views and opportunities for photography.

Echo Ridge, November 2021

The magic here, however, is in the combination of small details, considered landscaping and the region’s EEP setting which is simply perfect. With the Sun hanging lower in the sky, it gives the region a very wintery feel that makes you want to done clothing that’s going to keep you warm as you wander across the snow or slide / skate over the ice.

These details come in many forms, but for me the most notable is the wildlife to be found right across the region – herons and egrets keeping a regal eye on all that is going on, Arctic foxes playing on the ice, deer wandering the snow, doves trying to work out what the slidey stuff they are skating on might be and sandpipers ignoring the snow as they prance the water’s edge looking for food under the cold white blanket while song birds await visitors to the region’s gazebo, so they might serenade them.

Echo Ridge, November 2021

Really, there is not too much more to be said about Echo Ridge, simply because the region design speaks entirely for itself. It’s clear that a considerable amount of thought has gone into making this an attractive winter setting without going overboard on things. This makes the region beautifully understated when first seen, and increasingly attractive the longer one spends within it.

My thanks, as always, to Shawn Shakespeare for the point and landmark.

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