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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Home and garden: Soleil's Giverny

Gardening and painting apart, 
I'm no good at anything
Claude Monet
Summer is grey-white and gloomy here, indoors and out, so to try to beat the blues, I followed Geo Meek's link from Facebook to two SLCC speeches, the first by Philip Rosedale, the second by Doug ThompsonI thought for a long time 'Dusan' was a girl's name, Dusan/Susan, I suppose. Anyway Hobo stalwart Geo Meeks rocks, you should bookmark his site livestream.com. 
Before today, I had never seen or heard P. in the flesh; he wore a weird shirt and improbable hair; but to be fair he was jet lagged, which explains why on a couple of occasions he lapsed into trying to sell us an iphone. 
He is going to fix lag, Search, and the communication gap; let 16 year-olds come play with the grownups (yippee), and make it so an avie can have multiple names, because... apparently we need more deception in SL.
He is going to let you design him a brand new avatar - as long as it looks like the old one, but with better (ie free) clothes. 
So, 'Everything is/will be fine'. I felt sorry for the lady teacher, whose hard work selling the soon-to-be defunct teen grid is now all for nothing; she got an amazingly insincere response from P and after lunch, Doug Thompson rambled on for an hour on this and that. He has the same tailor as P.
But who cares. 
When there is no way to walk away, what do you do? Keep going. In otherwise excellent health, over the last two decades of his life, Monet lost his sight to cataracts. Colours became desaturated, and objects faded into blurred shapes; a deteriorating, frustrating, unbearable state of unrezzedness. Four years before his death he wrote to a friend, "I am more absorbed than I've ever been, expecting to achieve something, but I was forced to change my tune and give up a lot of promising beginnings and abandon the rest."
That threat of abandonment did not materialize, the paintings kept coming; abstract, with rather muddy colours, but paintings nonetheless. 'My poor eyesight makes me see everything through a fog. I't very beautiful just the same, and this is what I wish to convey."  
That beauty is conveyed into Second Life thanks to Soleil Snook  and her Monet house on Giverny. The house, built by Jorge Serapis with sculpties by Vicky Jayaram, is a fascinating case study in how a real life treasure can become accessible to everyone on the grid. It is still a work in progress, although the kitchen, living, and dining rooms are well on their way to being complete. One unexpected aspect of the house is Monet's choice of art - you find none of his own pictures on the walls, he preferred Japanese landscapes, and was instrumental in making them popular. 
Soleil Snook: I don't mind that the process is taking a long time, and I love Vicky's sculpties because they lay flat and don't pucker. I'm particularly pleased with the sculptie oven. Monet entertained a lot at home, that's why the oven is so large, he took great pride in serving fresh produce from his own kitchen garden. Sculpting is not my thing. Mirror imaging just makes me crazy, so I build things and send them off to be converted into sculpties.
There's a poster in each room that shows how close Soleil's version of the house is to the real one.  The original house was a farm house and when Monet bought it he added on a bedroom for himself and a studio with a separate entrance, seen here. This was because he was a morning person, and Alice and the children were not, this way he could entertain buyers without disturbing the whole family. He had six grown-up children living with him at one time, the three boys sleeping in the attic, and the three girls in a small room above the kitchen.
Outside, Soleil has given an impression of the 'floral fanfare' that continues to delight RL visitors to Giverny, complete with kitchen garden. SL Giverny has had its upheavals, but Monet had his own trials; in 1913 he wrote: "We were in the midst of a great flood and I, in my selfishness, could think only of my garden, my poor flowers that have been soiled with mud. With this weather I haven't managed to do anything and to add to my miseries an appalling storm has created havoc in my garden. The weeping willows I was so proud of have been torn apart and stripped; the finest entirely broken up." 
Soleil's sim boasts a fine glass house by her friend Podruly Peccable  and you'll also find a gallery for sculpty artist Kyra Roxan. back in the house, the creation of each room has involved many days of research, planning and gathering, a magpie process with minute attention to detail, somewhere between making a painting, a jigsaw, and putting together a doll's house. Using drawings and paintings rather than photos gives her the control and freedom to get the look just right. She is rightly proud of the lovely blue walls of the drawing room, and plans to furnish it exactly as the photo, right down to the playing cards on the folding table. 
In RL Soleil cares for a terminally ill relative. Building the interior of the Monet house little by little when she has the time and energy required, alternating activities from textures to furniture making to installing poses in chairs is all part of a slow upward curve of creativity. 
'Art is hard work,' Monet once told a reporter. Yosemite Sam-ming apart, what else is there?

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