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Thursday, September 17, 2009

In it for the Monet: SL Giverny

Je compris là le pouvoir fabuleux de la
peinture.

Kandinsky, On seeing a Monet, 1910

La versione italiana è in basso....
Plenty of ugly in my life recently, as I've been struggling with the Curse of Ruth. Yuck! The only upside of it was that I read Siri Woodget's blog on the subject ... what a great read. Anyhoo, you all know I love flowers (hint hint) and so I found the perfect spot to recuperate from being hit with SL's ugly stick. I went to SL Giverny, a recreation of the village in France made famous first by impressionist painter Monet and later by the many American and English painters who lived there in order to be close to the artist. There is little evidence to show Monet was impressed by his transatlantic fan base, but I was very impressed by what Kate Robbiani, Soleil Snook, and Omicron Llewellyn have made here. I met Soleil in the garden, in RL she's a professional fund raiser originally from the Pacific Northwest, a textile artist by avocation and an avid gardener currently living in Britain: here in the metaverse she's a gallic gal with the beret to prove it.

Soleil Snook: I was intrigued by the idea of using Second life to express Beauty. It is a subjective idea, but each person knows beauty when they see it, a visceral response, and the French Impressionists do that for me. I wanted to create something that was like walking in a painting, and I see gardening as a way of painting with plants. Giverny is a beautiful place in Real Life, and combines all the things I love, gardening, art, architecture and character of place. My friend and sim-sharer Kaye Robbiani built and owns Ville de Giverny, a residential sim next door. She has used some great photo representations for her replica buildings, like the historic Hotel Baudy where so many American artists stayed - and where SL residents can now stay too.

This is what the hotel looks like in SL... In the Village, Giverny Church (shown in the Italian bit) and Monet's house (in the next picture) are fairly authentic, although the inside of the house is one big room, for the sake of practicalities.
In 1883 Monet and his partner Alice Hoschedé moved into the farmhouse, seven years later, Monet was financially secure enough to be able to buy the property and, on the other side of what at that time was a farm track and is today a road busy with tourist traffic, start digging his lily pond at the end of the garden. The house has a deceptively humble appearance: among the illustrious guests who visited here were Cézanne, Rodin, Mary Cassat, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Monet saw out the Great War in London, and travelled extensively around Europe, but this small house on the river Epte was his home for 43 years.
Soleil Snook: We tried to terra-form in a way that captures the lie of the land around Giverny and looked to paintings by Monet for the orchard, the sea walks, fields and hay stacks. My partner Omicron Llewellyn and I have hand-drawn textures from RL photos to create something SL-consistent that draws inspiration from the actual place. To copy it verbatim wouldn't be in keeping with the spirit of art: the Giverny of Second Life is Omicron Llewellyn's and my 'impression' of Giverny. The new Bistro is of course our own, and the notes to and from Claude Monet are a whimsical touch, as is the Perbiatium Conservatory for Tropical Plants, with our own version of the Loch Ness Monster! You can see my attempt at photographing the timid wee beastie further down. Soleil has added another element linking the virtual with the real, making her Giverny experience all the richer I think. She follows the offical RL Giverny Garden Calendar as much as possible and features whatever is growing in the RL Garden of Giverny on any given month. She also plans to revamp the Monet house by adding more Japanese elements. Monet was a huge fan of Japanese art, it seems. See, you learn something new every day. I wondered what was the hardest thing to make for Giverny, and what part Soleil likes best.
Soleil Snook: Gosh, the hardest thing is to keep it fresh and beautiful with plants in their seasons. Keeping the whole place active and alive, and growing an active artisan community that is thriving. The Lily Pond is as close as I could make it to the Real one, including the rotation of plants with the seasons. Fighting Alpha issues has got to be the most frustrating thing. My favorite places in Giverny are the Lily Pond and The Perbiatium Conservatory, because they are colourful, which to me means Beautiful. I smiled, and tried to Google 'Alpha issues' - seems to be something to do with problems in getting textures transparent, but I could be wrong. I have no technical skills, as you know, hello ruthed for a week, mostly due to my unlimited pension for not reading instructions of any kind, plus the shops on the sim distracted me. I wondered aloud how important the commercial side is to Soleil's idea of the Sim Beautiful.
Soleil Snook: Giverny evolved around my first garden center in Caledon, and Kaye who combined open sims with me to create this place, owned a furniture shop. It's beauty that interests us, not financial gain. The sim is commercial, but we attract and keep merchants who are first artisans in their chosen work in SL. By supporting artists we enable them to continue to bring to Second Life the very best of what is offered. Artists in RL let alone SL can not survive on air. It's interesting to speculate on how someone like Monet would have used Second Life. If it had been around in his time, I think he'd have used it to build on what he had already created, I don't think that he would have become photo - realistic. I think he would have pushed the limits of the medium as he did in Real Life. He kept busy, and so do we, for example in October we will have the Festival Autumne de Giverny, which will be music, art, plants, clothing, a French themed celebration of the Harvest. We'll feature the sculpture of Martini Discovolante in the main square. We have Weekly Live Concerts again with Prog Folk Duo Pillowfish and guitarist Jean-Christophe Chevalier, who lives in the RL Giverny area. You can join our group on the sim, it's a subscribomatic easel and won't take a slot in your groups.
There's plenty to do at Giverny. You can row with your loved one on the Seine river, (boats supplied if that's the kind of rowing you prefer) and drive around in an Oldsmobile from the 1800's, or you can shop for plants and pretties, or pose for a picture by Monet's haystacks, or walk by the ocean, or get married in the chapel. You can play the sword game, En Garde, or simply sit by the lily pond and form an impression or two of your own.
Thirza Ember: Your Giverny is lovely. If you were able to visit a similar sim dedicated to another artist, author or musician, who would you pick and why?
Soleil Snook: My favorite American Artist is Georgia O'Keefe. She pushed all the boundaries of the time, in her art and her life. Her use of color is amazing to me. The first time I saw a real live Georgia O'Keefe painting at the Art Institute in Chicago tears came into my eyes, it was so extraordinarily beautiful. I think what Kate Miranda is doing with classical music on Cedar Island is wonderful.. She really does it for the love of Classical music and for the artists and audiences.
Next stop Cedar Island, then, for me... let's hope I manage to lose Ruth in the ether.


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Molto brutto questo periodo, in SL per me, afflitta del 'Ruthismo' avevo gran bisogno di immergermi nel Bello... e l'ho trovato presso il giardino del grande pittore impressionista Claude Monet. Non serviva prendere ancora un'altro benedetto aereo in Real - basta con i viaggi lunghi per un po' - ho potuto visitare casa sua, il suo famoso giardino pieno di giochi di prospettiva, e il bellissimo lago con le ninfee, ma non solo, anche il paesino di Giverny dove molti pittori statunitensi, discepoli di Monet, hanno stabilito una colonia; inoltre, ho potuto fare una passeggiata sulla spiaggia immaginaria dei suoi quadri, e nel frutteto della sua fantasia - il tutto grazie, naturalmente, a Second Life SL Giverny. Creazione di tre bravi builders, Kate Robbiani, Soleil Snook, e Omicron Llewellyn, Giverny in SL è arte, storia, giardinaggio, e shopping, tutti all'insegna della Bellezza.Soleil Snook: Per me la Bellezza è fondamentale, un sentimento viscerale quanto soggettivo. Ho voluto utilizzare SL per dare un senso di ciò che io trovo bello - i colori vivaci e la sensualità dell'impressionismo. Sono appassionata sia dell'arte che del giardinaggio in RL, e in SL ho cominciato da subito a creare e vendere textures di fiori e piante nella zona di Caledon, i sim che ricordano il periodo nel novecento. Da qui nasce l'idea di portare nel metaverso la casa e il lago delle ninfee di Monet. Abbiamo voluto adoperare due tecniche diverse nella land: textures fotorealistiche e altre che sono elaborate su una base autentica ma che sono disegnate a mano per adeguarsi alle esigenze e lo stile di Second Life. Se vogliamo, un'impressione della casa di Monet e dintorni, anziché una replica fedele, anche se molte strutture, come ad esempio la Chiesa, sono molto vicine alla realtà, e abbiamo seguito con la nostra terra-forming, un senso del paesaggio francese.

Ecco l'interno della casa dell'artista: come si vede, non è divisa in stanzette, come quella vera. Qui tra poco una novità, aggiungiamo dell'arte giapponese, molto amato da Monet. Il pittore visse per oltre 43 anni in questa semplice casa di campagna, ebbe come visitatori alcuni dei grandi del mondo dell'arte e della politica tra i quali Cezanne, Rodin, Mary cassat e il premier francese Georges Clemeceau. troverai che anche SL Giverny è u luogo molto ospitale e romantico. Qui puoi fare un giro in una vecchia Oldsmobile, fare lo shopping per piante e quadri, passeggiare sulla riva del mare ispirato sempre dai quadri di Monet, o osservare il laog delle ninfee. Soleil si impegna a mantenere il sim secondo le stagioni e aggiorna regolarmente sia lil laghetto che i fiori nel giardino seguendo il Giverny Garden Calendar. Ci sono molti tocchi autentici ma anche elementi fantasiosi di Soleil, ad esempio Nessie, il mostro marino di Loch Ness,vive qui, perché Soleil attualmente vive in scozia. Anche il bistro è pura loro invenzione. Non manca la musica a Giverny, si esibiscono regolarmente Pillowfish e chitarrista francese - anzi giverniano - Jean-Christophe Chevalier, basta premere sul cavaletto subscribomatic per abbonarsi al gruppo e ricevere notizie. Troverai qui anche il gioco di scherma En Garde e ci sono battelli a remi per chi vuole andare sull'acqua. nella chiesa è possibile sposarsi e difatti il posto è molto romantico, con le ninfee e i cigni, ma essendo sola, quale posto più bello di questo, sulla riva d'un mare metaversale, a contatto con le onde irrequiete quanto questa viaggiatrice. Per un attimo, ho creduto d'aver avvistato il mostro nessie... ma non ho fatto intempo a fotografarlo. Sarà stato solo una mia impressione...



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