31 December 2016

A Painter's Link

Silvermoon Fairey has an uncanny knack for creating magical scenes with deliberately limited color palettes, as witness her current installations 50 Words for Snow (read here), December Will be Magic Again (read here) and It's a New Dawn (read here from 2015). Her wondrous A Painter's Link dazzles with shades of gold, copper, greens, reds, oranges and browns, as if she had taken a bucket of paint and splashed it onto the scene to create an enthralling landscape.

What could pass for a quaint English countryside — more likely one from the 19th century than from the current day — invites us to explore on winding paths that take us through various pastoral settings: cottages, fields, ruins, waterfalls, wild and domesticated animals, a stone lighthouse on the edge of the sea, and the inhabitants of the little village as they carry on with their daisy tasks. (Above, a horse-drawn cart fords a stream.)

Exploration on foot is mandatory: beautiful and exquisite rustic scenes unfold as one tops a hillside, rounds a corner, or emerges through thick foliage. The thatched-roof cottages can all be entered and are furnished, and single explorers and couples will find plenty of spots to relax and take in the views.

These images show the sim's default windlight setting, but others may produce equally fine results. Time to enjoy A Painter's Link might be short — Silvermoon informs me that she just paid for an extra week of tier to cover the cost of the sim until January 6. After that time it might disappear, so plan your visit soon! Contributions are accepted at the landing point.

29 December 2016

A Million Freckles (images NSFW)

Now on display at the Nitroglobus Roof Gallery is an exhibition of monochromatic photographs, A Million Freckles, by Dido Haas, who also curates the space. The fourteen images that comprise the show are in general simple but elegant studies — self-portraits with minimal or no background, sensual in nature, and elegantly composed.

"To be honest, this exhibition was initiated because the January artist I invited to exhibit at Nitroglobus couldn't make it. That's why I started making a few works and gradually got inspired ... The general mood of the exhibition is sensual and minimal in setting, i.e. nothing in the background — it's just me or a part of me with my freckles. I ... cannot make a proper photo, let alone a sensual work, of anybody else but me." Each of the images is available for purchase, and contributions toward the support of the gallery may be left at the landing point. A Million Freckles will continue on display through January.

28 December 2016

The Bridge (images NSFW)

"The exhibition starts at the bridge ... It is a walk in my dreams," said TerryGold as she gestured toward a physical bridge that ushers visitors into her new photographic exhibition, The Bridge, presented by Solodonna. The expansive show, which features dozens of works, sprawls through several galleries and demonstrates the artist's masterful command of light, shadow and composition. As with her previous installation, the exhibition design is brilliant: walking in total darkness (be sure to follow the environmental instructions at the landing point), lit only by the images themselves and various props and pieces of scenery, we're intentionally disoriented: are we looking at three-dimensional or two-dimensional objects?

"In my spare time I take a few photos often inspired just by a quick idea, a flash," says Terry in the exhibition notecard. "Then I develop them and the trip begins..." The works exhibited suggest a more thoughtful and methodical approach, but either way the results are fabulous. Visitors who lose their bearings (seeing the path in the darkness can be a challenge) may need to temporarily change to another windlight setting; in the central room, a lower level is visible by camming down. The images on display aren't for sale, but patrons who wish to purchase any of them may contact Terry directly, and contributions in support of the gallery are welcome. The Bridge will continue on display until January 6.

27 December 2016

It all starts with a smile

It all starts with a smile, designed by Kaelyn Alecto with Gorba McMahon and Amy Beebe (Amytheyst Beebe), is always a sim to watch when the seasons change. Despite significant differences from its autumn look (blogged here back in September), it's still unmistakably the same place, with homes and buildings (all lovingly furnished) built around a calm interior icy pond and other narrow bodies of frozen-over water that rest on a valley floor, the entire charming scene wrapped by tall mountains. Visitors can wind their way around the ponds on paths, or cut across the ice on low-lying wooden walkways. Gentle snow falls here and there.

Single explorers will find plenty of places for solace, and couples will discover locations for cuddling and staying warm. Skates are available for a spin on the ice, and skis can be found on the top of the hill behind the barn at the landing point. Shown in these images is the sim's default winter windlight — a warm pinkish-brown — but photographers will delight in experimenting with other options. (Photographers who wish to rez objects may join the land group to have the option.) Contributions toward the sim may be left at the landing point.

24 December 2016

Happy Holidays!

Kinn and I wish you the very best for the holidays and for the new year. Thanks for reading, and, as always, please feel free to say hello inworld!

23 December 2016

50 Words for Snow

Designer Silvermoon Fairey didn't stop after creating one stellar winter location — December Will Be Magic Again (read here from several days ago) — she also created 50 Words for Snow, located in the sky above her lovely sim A Painter's Link. In contrast to the essentially flat landscape of December Will Be Magic Again, 50 Words for Snow is a hillier location that offers several distinct but interrelated scenes.

Visitors arrive high up on a wooded hillside and make their way down along a steep path to one of three locations, all blanketed by a gently falling snow — a charming manor house with warm fires aglow (top image), a spot for relaxation where one can rez a sled (second image), or a cozier home set alongside the rocky shoreline of a frozen lake (third image). Both homes can be entered and are quaintly furnished.

Shown in these images is the picturesque sim's default windlight setting, which wraps the sights in a golden glow. Photographers who wish to rez props for images may do so by joining the land group, and are asked to please be mindful of cleaning up. Contributions to support the sim may be left at the entrance to A Painter's Link, here.

22 December 2016

Silas Merlin at Pica Pica

"And the ring the boy is holding? He appeared out of nothing, in this position," said Silas Merlin as we looked up at one of his sculpted works (image above) now rezzed in gigantic scale on the sim Pica Pica. "For a long time I wondered what he was doing — until I thought of the ring. He is blowing through the hole in the ring, instilling tales into the world." The boy with the ring (Storybook 7 - Enchanter), along with a couple dozen other fanciful sculptures, are now on display in an enchanting and spellbinding world that suggests stories and myth. "You know when I make a sculpture the first thing I do is go to a sandbox and make it huge like this," remarked Silas. "So I guess this is what I wanted all along."

In real life, Silas is Jean-François Le Saint, a Master Pastellist of the Pastel Society of France, and his two-dimensional images have been exhibited in Second Life, alongside his more conventionally-sized sculptures. And "there are traces of pastel on some of the mesh," he notes. While his sculptures in their usual size have a land impact of no more than 10 to 15, the largest one in Pica Pica — the threatening Fiura, who stands taller than everyone, about 65 meters into the air (image above) — has a land impact of about 1,000. "The boy with the cats on the chair will be at an event called The Forest ... The two boys on a cube [The Brother's Tale, image below] is the newest, and I don't know where I will release it yet." Others can be obtained, along with the artist's pastels, at The Silas Gallery in New Babbage. He credits the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud for inspiring a few of his creations.

Be sure to visit the ruins on the far north side of the sim — they can be entered, and a scene with a storybook awaits within. Silas has been continually tweaking things, including the ground texture, the environment settings, and so on, so things may appear slightly different than pictured here. (Click on any image to enlarge.) My thanks to Haveit Neox, who alerted me to Silas's exhibit, and who created a lovely video, The Brother’s Tale: Art by Silas Merlin. Silas hadn't intended that the exhibit be public, and it's because of Haveit's video that he has agreed to keep the sim open an additional week, until December 27, so don't delay in visiting. Be sure to pick up a gift that's available at the landing point.

21 December 2016


Under a lavender sky blanketed with serenely drifting cream-colored clouds, the little inhabitants of WeeVille go about their day, often tending a fire near their hobbit-style homes (image below). Merhorses frolic in the waters (lowest image), unicorns saunter in the nearby grasses, and beams of sunlight shine through the thick woods in the center of the sim. And, on the southeastern corner of the sim, a delightfully quirky row of homes on stilts stands in the water along the shore (image above).

Visitors will discover gardens, fields of flowers, a caravan home and a quirky little house, and will enjoy the charming photogenic panoramas the sim affords. It's possible to enter the homes, including those in the top image, which can be reached via the ladder to the left — some fun scenes await inside. Created by Sera Bellic of Lick sim designs, WeeVille (her first fantasy sim composition) will remain on display into the new year before being replaced by a new design.

20 December 2016

Natural Falls IV

Natural Falls IV, created by Dann (DannChris), looks as good a place as any to get electrocuted: throughout the now-flooded and decaying city, power lines dangle into the water — and the greenish-brown fluid itself looks toxic. Visitors arrive in the middle of ruined buildings in pelting rain, and can set off in just about any direction to explore. Tall boots are recommended.

Despite the crumbling cement, fallen-over radio towers, and general debris that seems to be within view from any vantage point, the city does possess a few signs of life: Camden Records (with a "vinyl is forever" sign in the window); a tattoo parlor; La Petite Joie, a coffee shop; and a marijuana dispensary located far to the north. Under a geodesic dome, a garden flourishes, while another seems to host some sort of sci-fi scene. Here and there, a few light bulbs seem to still glow with power.

Elsewhere, things have fallen in a sorry state. Empty, deserted and in disrepair are a laundromat (second image), a movie theatre, a tea and coffee shop, an additional record store (Record Land), and a former amusement park (image above). The entrances to the subway are completely flooded over, and mannequins seem to have taken over at least two stores (image below). A damp cemetery has sprouted blue and purple mushrooms, and the remnants of a nearby garden are now growing wild on their own. Cars and all sorts of assorted junk dot the landscape.

Visitors are encouraged to stop by often, as Dann makes frequent changes to the sim ("generally moving stuff about," he says) — and, in any case, it's difficult to absorb all the sights in a single visit. There's one more thing: Dann hasn't added a physical teleport to it yet, but invited me up to a pair of small platforms 3000 meters overhead: a garden with trees and a charming little treehouse, and a quaint home reachable by a footbridge (image below). "That's my hammie house," Dann said as we looked about. (He being a hamster.) Contributions toward the support of Natural Falls IV may be made at the landing point. (As always, click on any of these images to zoom in. These and others will appear on Flickr here.)

19 December 2016

Hell's Haven 2.0

When Snoob (snoobjohnson) opened the original (but unfortunately short-lived) Hell's Haven (read here) earlier in 2016, it quickly became one of the most photographed sims in Second Life. Now, with a few design contributions from his partner, Mila (Mila Maesar), Snoob has opened Hell's Haven 2.0. "I saw so many sims close that I wanted to do something for the community," said Snoob.

Slightly smaller than its predecessor, Hell's Haven 2.0 is set in a deep water-filled rocky gorge in which wooden walkways lead visitors through tangles of trees and branches. Several small buildings, not much larger than shacks, are kept dry on wooden elevations, and a zip line runs from one of them to the top of a nearby cliff. The low-lying areas are blanketed in a foggy grey mist, and in many spots the water has frozen solid. It's a beautiful, photogenic scene — a striking mix of rural and urban decay.

Unfortunately, Hell's Haven 2.0 may close within a few weeks, but there's good news to follow: "I'm doing it temporarily until January," explained Snoob, "and, after that, I open the big one again. I can't promise to have Hell's Haven open all through the new year — it's always a question of finances, and it's not easy to pay alone. But I will do my best to give it some months to support the Flickr community with an awesome place for pictures." So, if you appreciate Snoob's work, please consider making a contribution at the landing point.

18 December 2016

December Will Be Magic Again

Silvermoon Fairey's lovely sim, It's a New Dawn (read here), has long been favorite for photography and exploration. Now, high above the original landscape (still open to visitors), silvermoon has created December Will Be Magic Again, a gorgeous wintery land aglow in a shimmering golden light. Prominently positioned on the far horizon stands a stately manor house (image above), flanked on its sides by two smaller homes and a small frozen-over pond.

Horses scrounge for grass in the snow-covered fields in front of the manor house, while wildlife — reindeer, squirrel, raccoon, white tailed deer and birds — can be spotted here and there around the sim. The scene is wrapped by bare winter hardwoods and a few pines, and the view is exquisite from every direction. Contributions to December Will Be Magic Again and to It's a New Dawn may be made at the landing point, where a teleport to the beautiful scene on the ground level is also available.

17 December 2016

Blue Orange ArtCorner

Now open is the Blue Orange ArtCorner, a new gallery space for two- and three-dimensional art curated by Ini (In Inaka), with an inaugural group of artists featuring Theda Tammas, Indigoclaire (third image), Miu Miu Miu (image below), Eupalinos Ugajin (lowest image), and Igor Ballyhoo (image above). The gallery is not only a space for the display of art, but also for social conversation, as evidenced by the lovely and well-decorated club environment at the landing point. "Blue Orange is project to pull together open minded, friendly people to share time, music, RL and SL art understanding — (rl=sl=rl basically)." explains Ini.

"At first it was an idea to mix urban style with something classy and create a bohemian underground music club where people could hear a lot of different music styles, starting from underground alternative, industrial, grunge, indie, noise, psychedelic, folk punk and ending with jazz, neo-folk, instrumental and classical music," she continues. "Sure, counting in a lot of music without labels, and maybe not very popular music as well. Later came an idea to invite creative people who would be happy to share love for art — this how they understand art, how they express themselves, and to show how Second Life as virtual place let to us share it. Photos, drawings, paintings, 3D installations and much more as SL is amazingly open and full of tools to do this."

In addition to works by the featured artists, art by Ini and by Gitu Aura lines one of the hallways. Many of the objects in the exhibition are available for purchase, and several of those by Eupalinos are interactive, so be sure to click on everything. The inaugural show will be up for "about 2 months or even 3," says Ini, "but with some changes." Contributions toward the Blue Orange ArtCorner are accepted at the landing point.

16 December 2016

DRD's Arctic Express & Milk Motion's The Roofs of Paris

A couple of delightful sights are now available for visits courtesy of DRD (Death Row Designs) and Milk Motion. Both are available as a set of gacha items at the December Arcade, and therefore might seem unusual for this blog to cover, but each has been rezzed as a lovely destination point in its own right. In the case of the DRD Arctic Express (inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's classic story The Polar Express, and built by Eowyn Swords, Harter Fall and Jaimy Hancroft, with contributions from Morbid Deceit), an old-fashioned locomotive is barreling through a snow-covered landscape, rounding a turn, and seeming perhaps frozen in time (image above). There are some delightful poses — be sure to investigate the smokestack as well as the interior. By contrast, Milk Motion's The Roofs of Paris (detail below), created by Marie Lauridsen, is rezzed in a large sphere over the ground, and is a charming and amusing slice of the City of Light, with splendid detail throughout.

15 December 2016

Fris' Land

Many picturesque wintery sims are popping up left and right in Second Life, and one that's sure to warm the hearts of many explorers is Fris' Land, created by Charlie Namiboo and Frislanda Ferraris. In summer 2016, the popular sim they had created in partnership with Annabelle Barzane — Frisland (read here) — closed after a great two-year run in which one of the seasonal designs was a snow-covered landscape. Now, for a limited time, that landscape has had a revival of sorts, and previous visitors to Frisland are certain to travel down memory lane at Fris' Land.

"Yes, Frisland, the original one, has gone for good," says Charlie. "But Frislanda Ferraris, my building partner and best friend, has his own sim (the region name is Liebe, the German word for 'love'). Half of the sim Fris has rented to friends of his; the other half belongs to him. He asked me if I'd help him to rearrange the sim and decorate it for winter and so we did. And as we know that many people are missing the old Frisland sim, we decided to open his own region to public for at least two months. The name 'Fris' Land' is a wordplay reminiscing the old Frisland and Fris himself." There is, of course, similarity to the English word "freeze," which makes it all the more appropriate.

As Charlie notes, Fris' Land is only half the sim of Liebe, but the other parcels on the region are so closely matched in spirit that everything appears to be one big seamless whole. (Charlie and Fris send assurances that their neighbors across the small waterway are OK with visitors, as long as people respect the privacy of their homes.) Visitors will find spots to relax, cuddle, or even ice skate. The sim's tranquil lavender windlight setting is depicted in these images (watch Flickr for higher resolution versions).

14 December 2016

Always Closer (images NSFW)

Open at the Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is Always Closer, an exhibition of erotic images by Elo (Elorac Paule). The mostly nude, always expressive images are elegantly composed, with great attention to detail and lighting. In them, the photographer explores her interest in portraying her journey as she explores sexual submission.

"Here, in this exhibition, I wish to express the changes in my SL, as well as in my real life," says Elo. "This year has been full of emotions, good and not so good, but all very intense. The little submissive girl didn't find her Master, or maybe she did, but not a master from a BDSM world. Now that I know what submission means to me, I guess I always knew, however, it's more clear to me now. Submission is the ability to give the best of you to the one you love, without any questioning about the reasons of this love. It's there, that's all and you must show it, you must say it, and get Always Closer to it, because life is too short." Each of the images is available for purchase, and contributions toward the support of the gallery are welcomed. Always Closer will remain on display through the end of the month.