Research Opportunity for Second Life® Residents: Survey Available through 15 October

Our friend, millay Freschi, who founded the Four Bridges Project in Second Life®, is completing her PhD studies at the University of Main in the US. As part of her dissertation, she is conducting a study that explores the avatar experience. I attended a meeting with her at the ISTE VEN sim on Tuesday night, and it was quite informative and interesting. For one thing, I learnt more about the International Society for Technology in Education and their Virtual Environments Network. They are doing some outstanding work, so pop over to see their place at EduIsland and learn more HERE.

Here is the message I have been sharing, along with a notecard from millay with more information. I do not know how to send a notecard via this blog (I think it is impossible!), but if you access the link provided below you can read her note and access the survey, as you wish:

NOTE: millay Freschi (Amy Cross in the physical world) is conducting research into the Second Life® experience as part of her PhD dissertation at the University of Maine. She has set up an anonymous survey of 48 questions about your relationship with your avatar, your SL relationships and group memberships, as well as some demographic information. There is nothing involved that reveals your location or identity. millay founded The Four Bridges Project in SL and will host a concert for the community in January.

She wants to show what, if any, effect our avatars have on our other selves and how this might affect choices and decisions that we make in both worlds. Your participation will be appreciated; the survey will be available until 15 October 2017.

Here is a link to the Four Bridges Project website and the online survey that should take about 30 minutes of your time: . Please consider participating! Thank you!

Main Landing at Ce Soir Arts

As autumn begins, change comes…along with Talk Like a Pirate Day!

This coming week will have some magic in store…readings you will not want to miss, for one thing. There are some changes afoot, so do read on below for the details. Let us begin however, by exploring what is planned for the week; you will find it enchanting!

First, the lovely writer, reader, and all-around gifted spoken word artist Caledonia Skytower returns to The Magic Tree on Tuesday at 2:30 PM. As that day is celebrated as International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Cale has put together a marvelous session based in Rafael Sabbatini’s wonderful work: Captain Blood. Good Pirates! Bad Pirates! Maidens in Distress! Scurvy Scalawags and Unlikely Heroes populate the story, and we will be ever so happy to pipe you aboard the SS Magic Tree to enjoy it! Do dress the part, if you wish. Eye patches are optional, of course! Whatever you do, come join us. AAAHHHRRRRRR!

That will be a stunning hour – and our only one on that day. (See notes below for details about that and more about what’s coming up too!)

On Wednesday, we’ll hear from two other of our favourite spoken word presenters, and master storyteller Bryn Taleweaver is up first at 1 PM SLT. In his always delightful style, he will bring us a magical tale he is calling The Last Dragon. This enchanting yarn will have us riveted as we enter the era of magical dragons and daring quests of the realm! As the mists part we will get a look at what life was like at that time in history, and will be charmed by the dashing and the daring.

We always enjoy time with Dubhna Rhiadra, the gifted writer and reader of soulful and expressive poetry and stories. This session will have us in rapt attention as she delivers tales of the seasonal shift as the Autumnal Equinox approaches. It is a magical time of the year, with change all about us! As the darkness starts to creep forward, beloved writer and storyteller Dubhna shares more dark and strange little tales for this time of mists and change. This transitional time brings mystery and enchantment. These storylines are rich with history and fine telling, so do join us at 2 PM as we gather under the branches of The Magic Tree.

Then, on Thursday (21 September), Russell Eponym drops in with an array of musical instruments and a soaring setlist from his ever-growing repertoire of folk, blues, and beyond! This 90-minute show is filled to the brim with charm and lovely music to soothe us (and bring us many notes of fun and frolic along the way) in preparation for the coming weekend. Always a treat, a warm and wonderful group of friends – and new people too – from around the world flock to enjoy this special time with Russell, who streams live from Wales. You’re invited, so come on over to Château Ce Soir. The fun begins at 2 PM, so set your clocks!

And now, about those aforementioned changes. To begin, Russell Eponym, Poet Laureate of Ce Soir Arts will not be reading at his usual Noontime hour at The Magic Tree on Tuesday (19 September). As summer truly begins the shift to fall, Russell is taking a few days respite and enjoying the weather and the company of special friends. We will miss his weekly session, but are thrilled that he will be enjoying some time off – even as work on a new studio in his home attic continues. How exciting it will be for him to have more room for all those guitars, harmonicas, banjos and streaming equipment gadgets! And we will benefit as we gather to hear him in the near future. And so…off you go, Russell! Have a marvelous time, and we will see you on your return. Note that he will indeed join us at Château Ce Soir for his usual Thursday music show. Come enjoy with us!

MrG Darkrose has been delighting us with his on-the-money readings from J.K. Rowling’s exceptional Harry Potter series. His voices are spot on and he often comes in a special avatar, just for each reading. We’ve been visited by Dumbledore, Hagrid, Snape – and more! We’re knee-deep in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets…but that other world has knocked and MrG must answer, changing his reading dates and times in order to accommodate. We do our best to be flexible at Ce Soir Arts and The Magic Tree, so you can expect MrG – with his complete entourage of Harry Potter and friends to return in early October. We look forward to it and will keep you posted!

With the above schedule change – and the new semester underway – Æon will also shift his reading hour. He too, will return in early October (likely reading right after MrG), and continuing his outstanding presentations of sci-fi master Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Note also that Æon will also be sharing a very special set of readings for the Hallowe’en season coming up. We are creating a special area at Ce Soir Arts for that…so do stay tuned!

Other special readings, dramatic presentations, musical shows, and a very unique art exhibit are in planning for the frightful time of year including the annual MAD MASQUERADE BALL. You will not want to miss that, planned for Thursday, 26 October! There will be quite the creepy environment to navigate all around the sim (and at dungeon-level!) and wonderful music and mayhem – costumes encouraged!

Note also the private collection of AUTUMN LEAVES is on exhibit now through mid-October. Come relax at Côte de la Mer Galerie and enjoy some autumn beauty!

The Magic Tree     Château Ce Soir    Côte de la Mer Galerie

And so, here we go, off on another week. Come…be inspired tonight!

September…another week!

Sometimes, we all wonder where the time goes. Life on and off the grid is terribly busy for most of us; work, family and friends require time and attention – as do our health and other personal needs. Nourishing our souls in the creative environment of Second Life® is important as well to many of us, but it too, takes time and focus. Balancing our time and activities can be a challenge from time-to-time, but it is well worth the effort, as we discover the wonders that await us in both worlds.

This coming week, we have the following to offer for your edification and entertainment. Come relax with us and enjoy!

Note, if you will, the AUTUMN LEAVES Art Exhibit that is scheduled to open mid-month. Slated to run from mid-September to mid-October at Côte de la Mer Galerie & Lawn, the exhibit is a showing from the private collection of Ce Soir Arts owners and family. Most are in-world photographs from family members, but there will be a few others to round out the presentation. We do such exhibits once or twice a year, and we truly enjoy sharing; none of the pieces from family members will be for sale, as they are simply offered for viewing, but any others made available from the collection may (or may not) be purchased., benefiting the artist(s).

Other exhibits through the end of the year will include MAD MASQUERADE, a Hallowe’en special exhibit that correlates with our annual Mad Masquerade Ball, to be held 26 October this year. For this exhibit, works may be dark or macabre in nature, or focus on the fun of dressing up and enjoying the holiday. A notecard is available to guide those who would like to submit work for this exhibit, so do contact Mireille in-wold if you are interested. In addition, special readings will be held at both The Magic Tree Reading Spot and at The Graveyard Dungeon – an especially spooky spot at Ce Soir Arts. We promise you a spooktacular time!

Other holiday-themed events and exhibits will be held as 2017 winds down. It is incredible that we are talking about the end-of-the-year! Before rushing ahead, let us slow down and enjoy the enchanting autumn in all its glorious, colourful beauty – and in its cooler weather – at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere!

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend – and the week ahead. Come…be inspired tonight!

Main Landing at Ce Soir Arts

This week at Ce Soir Arts…

As the now-closed BEACHES Art Exhibit enriches our memories of summer and the grace of sunshine and shorelines, we enter the transition into autumn with joy. Even as we face challenges in the physical world including the forest fires and tropical storms happening now in the US – and other challenges, around the world – we celebrate the wonders of coming together here to enjoy beauty, friendship, and adventure.

This week, we have an emphasis on the spoken word at Ce Soir Arts. Do come join us at The Magic Tree for some marvelous readings – and more – from Poet Laureate Russell Eponym, MrG DarkroseÆon Woodford, Bryn Taleweaver, and Dubhna Rhiadra. Each one has a stellar set of readings to share, and we can’t wait to settle in and enjoy! Note that Caledonia Skytower is unable to share with us this week…but she will return on 19 September with more of her outstanding programming. In the meantime…

It will be an enjoyable week of poetry and prose with a variety of topics. From the lighthearted to the more deeply ponderous, we have quite a selection to share! We know you won’t want to miss any of it, and we are ready to welcome you! The Magic Tree is indeed one of our favourite places in Ce Soir Arts. It lends itself to all kinds of spoken word wonder…so do come along!

Of course, Russell will put a definitive wrap on the week on Thursday at Château Ce Soir…opening up a glorious weekend as the seasons change. Come along for the beautiful music and the warmth and fun we share! Russell is an outstanding musician in every sense of the word. His repertoire is rich and his presentation engaging. We hope to see you there!

The Magic Tree           Château Ce Soir

Come…be inspired tonight!

As the seasons change…

The world is a very interesting place, and we’ve always been fascinated by the weather. Having family around the world, we hear about the temperature and precipitation patterns experienced in various countries on a regular basis. It’s intriguing and kind of funny to keep up with the activities and involvements of different ones – depending on where they are residing at the moment. (I say “at the moment,” because it seems that some of us are increasingly mobile – which adds to the intrigue!)

We run into this issue fairly frequently, as we are hosting artists, musicians, and poets from around the world. Just with our last art exhibit – BEACHES – we had participants from the US, Spain, Australia, Italy, Greenland, and Puerto Rico! All of these locations have a different weather temperament and seasonal flavour. From the frozen north to the balmy tropics, there is astounding variability – not to mention the vast seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres. Our Australian friends are warming up to spring, just as we are looking ahead to cool autumnal beauty.

Of course, we are thinking of terrible storms and forest fires of recent days…and some that are brewing in various locations. In the US alone, wide swaths of forest fires in the Pacific northwest are raging as I write this, and many people have been evacuated from their homes for safety’s sake; sadly, some will return to devastation and need to rebuild or move. Others will be affected by the economic impact on the area and by smoky skies that can be harmful to health and well-being. We send our best to all of those affected and to the brave and caring firefighters and first responders who are doing incredible work to save lives and property. We keep watch and hope for a manageable outcome for all involved. Some will discover rich reserves of strength from deep within themselves…and we hope all will find the gift of kindness surrounding them.

When it comes to storms, the US and other countries bordering the Atlantic basin have seen their share of weather damage and threat in recent times; even the Labor Day holiday was not a respite. Hurricanes and tornadoes have wreaked havoc in many areas – both coastal and inland. Of course, Hurricane Harvey, the epic storm that has left the gulf coast of Texas under water is fresh in our minds. The storm itself lasted days…but the damage and recovery will take months and months – even years. The broader impact will be measurable for a long time to come as we all do what we can to assist. Donations to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other reputable charities are sorely needed, and we thank all who have given of their time as well as their money or goods toward the compassionate efforts to help the people who have been in many cases completely uprooted. They have our thoughts and prayers…and anything we can do to be of practical assistance.

And just when we turned our thoughts to recovery for those along the gulf coast, another series of tropical storms have started forming. One or more of these threaten the Caribbean nations as well as the southeasternmost part of the US: Florida seems to be in the bullseye of Hurricane Irma, which is presently predicted to be one of the largest storms on record. Although at this writing the storm is many miles out to sea, the forecasted potential for damage is astounding all along the possible plotted paths the storm could take. We gather our courage once more as citizens prepare for what could be yet another epic storm. As we watch and wait, our compassion rises; let us all be prepared to continue doing all we can to help – remembering that every little bit makes a difference. Whenever we lament that we can only send a few dollars or have only a few blankets or pieces of clothing to share, we must remember that each bit touches someone with genuine care and real help.

As we return to focusing on activities in our virtual world, our hearts and minds are focused on these incredible events taking place in the physical world. Let us be reminded that there are many, many concerning happenings going on around the globe at any given time. Natural events and those perpetrated by individuals can leave us shaken, but we must remember that love is what matters most. Our virtual lives can be both a respite from the stresses of that “other life” we are all living concomitantly…and a way for us to come together to share caring and support with those who join us here. Kindness is a treasure – no matter where we find it. May we all make it a focus of our being…in all the worlds there are.

Beaches Art Exhibit – Artist Interviews…paula cloudpainter & Mireille Jenvieve

As we wrap up this series of interviews, we want to say what a pleasure it has been to interact with this group of artists and to learn more about their individual processes – their hopes and dreams as they move into the future. In celebrating their collective and individual successes and explorations over their careers – and in the BEACHES Art Exhibit – we have been inspired by their creativity and energy. Each one has a specific focus, an overall message, if you will. It’s been an enlightening and enchanting experience, and we are grateful for their time and focus.

Last night’s BEACH PARTY was a fitting closing celebration – exuberant and joyous! Even though the exhibit remains open through the American Labor Day, we thought it time to pause for another celebration of beauty! BAZ was on-target with his fantastic beach music, ANJ brought his A-game (as always!) with an array of very danceable tunes, and Nuvolino rounded out the night with a rousing hour (plus) of CHILL music that had us dancing under the stars! Over the course of the evening, artists Dolph Beornssen, Skyspinner Soulstar, Olyvia DeCuir and paula cloudpainter joined in the fun!

We will have more parties coming up, as new art exhibits and special events come along this autumn…

As for the remaining two artists from the BEACHES Art Exhibit, I must begin with myself. I have one piece in this exhibit, and it is a favourite: Ruins at Eventide. This photograph was taken at Ce Soir Arts, and it captures for me the lovely intersection of dark and light that strikes its perfect balance at dusk…eventide. My work in SL focuses on this meeting of contrasts, and you will see the tension between two opposite elements in all my work – photography, mosaics, and writing; for me, this focus is inescapable. I am so pleased to be part of exhibits at Ce Soir Arts, and when I am, I usually hold it to one submission. This pleases me, as my role is really to curate the presentation of art from others – one of the greatest joys of my Second Life®  experience. Visit my small gallery space at The Oracle Parlour in Ce Soir Arts.

Our other remaining artist – the lovely and gifted paula cloudpainter – has shared a magnificent and wonderfully unique painting for the BEACHES Art Exhibit. The title is perfect, as it describes the work beautifully: cloud essay – storm at the cape is comprised of two main depictions of cloud formations and environmental conditions as a storm at the cape takes shape. Each of these paintings could stand alone in beauty and wonder; they are powerful, in and of themselves. However, this work has a story to tell that is quite complex and innovative. In addition to the two central works, three other paintings are placed along the side to further illustrate the storm in its development. We can observe the gathering of weather energy, feel the flow of air across the ocean’s surface, and see it as it reaches land. The eye is drawn to each segment of the work, in turn, but the beholder also experiences the piece in its moving totality. cloud essay – storm at the cape is a fascinating piece of art for the story it tells – and for the beauty of it. The white background allows the elements to flow beyond their borders and escape into the atmosphere…and the viewer can feel that. Truly, I seemed to have felt a change in the air just by gazing at this beautiful work. You must come stand before it and feel the wonder that paula has created. She is represented in SL® by the Visions of Beauty Art Complex / Whinlatter Galleries. Do visit to enjoy more of her work!


Mireille Jenvieve:

M: What started you off on the adventure of creating art in your life – in-world or otherwise? Was there a specific moment or experience that sparked your creative energies?

M: My first artistic effort was in an art class in elementary school. Our teacher, Miss Marsh, asked us to gather leaves from the playground or home for a project. I love autumn and remember meticulously choosing about a dozen leaves of varying type and colour, and laying them out in a circle on my desk. Miss Marsh seemed to be interested in my arrangement (and the fact that I had so many leaves). As we made wreaths, gathered clusters of leaf bouquets, and traced the leaves on wax paper and parchment to paint them, I felt happy and focused. It was a feeling I wanted to experience again, so I pursued artistic expression with passion. I enjoy that rewarding feeling when I write, create a mosaic from various media, or work with a photograph.

M: What do you like best about the Second Life® experience? How has it enriched or otherwise informed your artistic work – your process, perspective, choice of media?

M:  Æon and I learnt about the platform at a conference in 2004. We were interested, but did not pursue it. After the New Year in 2007, we checked it out personally and were instantly engaged. We loved the visual and almost tactile nature of SL® and the emotions that rose and fell as we wandered, exploring freely – even though we had few skills. Soon, we had a home to decorate, and it was not long after that we discovered live music, art exhibits, classes for building, and groups for all kinds of interests including health and education. This exploration continues and we are constantly learning about the technology and how to use it to experience the expressions of others – and to express ourselves. I fell quickly to the camera and to writing, which I have always done. My RL work (called “Words & Pictures”) has found its way here, and I love that.

M: Inspiration is important to us at Ce Soir Arts. Where do you most often find the inspiration for your work? What about for your work in the BEACHES exhibit?

M: Inspiration abounds in this virtual wonderland – and, we hope, at Ce Soir Arts. Inspiration is the centrepiece of our work, and we aim to provide an environment of peace and beauty that will allow souls to rest and reflect. Whilst inspiration can come as a flash of bright light, striking instantaneously like lightning, it can also unfold more gently…and uniquely for each individual. It is that intensely personal – as well as the more open and shared – aspect of inspiration that we so value and wish to foster. I feel inspired at Ce Soir regularly – something will catch my eye as I turn a corner or take flight. Like the music, poetry, art, and theatre that are shared here, inspiration comes readily in this playground of dreams. The theme for SL12B was “What Dreams May Come”; you can see my work for it at The Oracle Parlour at Ce Soir Arts. When it comes to the joy I experience sharing art in SL, I must give thanks to artist Owen Landar who exhibited my work at his gallery and in his SL12B location that year. He encouraged me and, well, the rest is history!

M: How about the future? What do you forecast or dream for yourself in regards your artistic vision and other creative endeavours?

M: I will always make and acquire pretty things. I am a Libra in search of harmony and balance – and that includes every aspect of my life, in-world and out. I am so pleased that we were able to purchase one of the astounding artist Bryn Oh’s beautiful sculptures as a bronze in RL. The Dancer captures so much that I love about beauty and movement; it is a treasure indeed! (See more about this at Bryn’s website.) As an artist (and I finally do see myself as an artist), I will continue to write, take photographs, and share my work. I may bring some of my RL work in-world in future, but I’m pondering just how I wish to accomplish that, if so. I plan to continue to create spaces in SL for the artistic expression of myself and others, and have a couple of collaborative projects percolating in my mind and spirit. I don’t know what direction(s) all this will take, but I am eager to learn – and learn more about how to accomplish what dreams may come.

M: I enjoyed this process…it reveals some interesting things about myself I need to know and examine.

paula cloudpainter:

M: What started you off on the adventure of creating art in your life – in-world or otherwise? Was there a specific moment or experience that sparked your creative energies?

paula: I grew up around art and my very earliest memories involve creating art and feeling the joy and celebration in art. My mother was a painter and father an engineer who created mechanical drawings, so I was fortunate to have those influences in my life from the very beginning. As a child I drew every chance I could, and that has never changed. I studied painting, photography and design in college and I’ve been searching for amazing clouds and landscapes ever since. When I came to SL® and saw all of the wonderful art being created and music being played here, I wanted to join in and share my artwork with everyone.

M: What do you like best about the SecondLife® experience? How has it enriched or otherwise informed your artistic work – your process, perspective, choice of media?

I enjoy the immediacy and flexibility of working and showing my art in SL. I can create a painting in the morning and show it in a gallery in the afternoon if I choose. I can create art without being concerned about gravity or cost of materials or size. And my favorite part is sharing my work with the SL® community and the warm reception I’ve received. People seem to enjoy my clouds and my vision of the world. Part of my mission as an artist is to share with people different ways of looking at the sky.

M: Inspiration is important to us at Ce Soir Arts. Where do you most often find the inspiration for your work? What about for your work in the BEACHES exhibit?

paula: The sky provides endless inspiration for colors, textures and ideas. I watch clouds for hours to understand their movement and form. I find inspiration all around me … in the way light plays on a leaf or the way shadows fall on a mountainside. I also read a lot of philosophy and art journals and incorporate those into my work. The clouds in my paintings are often a metaphor for something that is going on in my life. My work often speaks of change. The watercolor featured in the Ce Soir BEACHES exhibit looks at the change involved in a couple of hours at a Cape Cod beach and utilizes a map, weather satellite imagery and several sketched views to speak to that change.

M: How about the future? What do you forecast or dream for yourself in regards your artistic vision and other creative endeavours?

paula: I will continue to explore color, light and movement using clouds as a vehicle. I’ll keep working in any medium that will convey what I want to say with my art….oil on canvas, watercolor, gouache, pastels, conte crayon, graphite, and ink…in addition to digital works on my computer and iPad. I’ve also played around with animations and will continue to do that. Through my creative expression i try to send out positive energy and by doing so, try to make the world…or at least my little corner of it…a better place. : )

M: paula, we have been so pleased to host your work in this exhibit. We love your expansive subject – clouds – and the very specific and lovely ways in which you express their beauty and import. Thank you for being part of the BEACHES Art Exhibit!

This series of interviews with the 12 artists exhibiting at the BEACHES Art Exhibit at Côte de la Mer Galerie & Lawn has been a true pleasure. We thank you for reading – and learning along with us! The BEACHES Art Exhibit will be open through Labor Day in the US; we will be happy to see you visiting as summer comes to a close itself. There are many events planned for autumn, and we look forward to that.

Come…and be inspired tonight!

Beaches Exhibit Closing after Labor Day…Beach Party Celebration Thursday!

The BEACHES Art Exhibit will be open through August (and through Labor Day in the US); we hope to see you enjoying these wonderful impressions of summery shores. Please note: a three-hour BEACH PARTY will be held on Thursday, 31 August at Ce Soir Beach to celebrate this exhibit and the nearing close of summer. It’s going to be a great three hours, so come on over and dance under the stars!

First up on Thursday however, is our wonderful Musician Extraordinaire, RUSSELL EPONYM! He will play his regularly-scheduled 90 minutes of folk, blues, and beyond, LIVE from Wales at 2 PM. We gather at Château Ce Soir for a delightful time with Russell and friends each week, and you are invited to join us! Russell is known in both RL and SL (and other virtual worlds) as a top-drawer musician. His own compositions are poetry – lyrically beautiful and musically rich. Sweet melodies and toe-tapping tunes showcase his unique finger-picking guitar style, his velvety voice, and his talents with the harmonica, banjo, and even the kazoo! From dreamy love ballads to songs that will tickle your funnybone, Russell has them all – so come enjoy this singular musical experience!

Your chariot to Château Ce Soir…!

After a bit of a break, we will gather again at 5 PM – but this time at beautiful Ce Soir Beach. We’ll be celebrating the marvelous BEACHES Art Exhibit that has been showing at Côte de la Mer Galerie & Lawn since July. What a beautiful exhibit this has been! We have quite a collection, ranging from original paintings and drawings brought in-world to some of the most striking in-world photographs found anywhere. And so, we celebrate!

Your surfboard: Ce Soir Beach

Come…be inspired tonight!