Archive for July, 2009

Ordinarily this blog focuses on Symphony and its younger sibling, Prelude. However, today I wanted to draw your attention to Ando Joubert’s most recent build, and arguably one of his finest.

Tol Galen is one of a cluster of Elven sims, and as such, called for something fey and magical. I will leave to Ando the description of his creative process and his work with his visionary clients. He promises to write soon . . . but both real life and Second Life commitments are taking his attention right now. In the meantime, I want to share with you some of what you will find when you visit Tol Galen.

Since a picture says a thousand words, today’s post will feature pictures and captions.  Something by Enya or Secret Garden might be nice right about now.

You might want to start on the platform above the Planetarium, overlooking the entire sim.  In an Ando Joubert build, be sure to notice the details.  The sim is themed around a planetarium and there are references to the planetary bodies throughout the build.  Planets, stars and planetary motion are the build’s dominant motif, reflected in everything from teleport stations to lighting fixtures.

Tol Galen Compass Rose Platform

Tol Galen Compass Rose Platform

Down below, Sol is a spacious gallery currently featuring the luminous abstracts and sculptures of SL artist Sunn Thunders.  From Sol you can see the Pathway to the Stars, leading to the viewing platform, beneath which the Planetarium resides.  The viewing platform is where the build began . . .

Classical arches frame the pathway to the platform

Classical Arches Frame the Pathway to the Stars

I have several favorite things on Tol Galen.  Right at the top of my list, is this amazing telescope that Ando crafted, including the pose and a glimpse of the moon within.  Be sure to read the memorial plaque on the  side.

Sol Central Gallery with Ando Joubert Telescope

Sol Central Gallery with Ando Joubert Telescope

Another favorite spot is Summer Night, an ethereal meadow within the planetarium orb, and a wonderful place to get away from the cares of the world.

Summer Night

Summer Night

This is just a wee taste of a very magical place ~ one to visit with someone you love or on your own, and in all moods of your windlight day.

~ Cacie

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Ando Joubert’s taste runs to beautifully detailed, expertly executed renderings of real life places and artifacts. His inspiration for the Hopper House Gallery on Symphony was a 1925 paining by Edward Hopper, “House by the Railroad.” The painting, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was probably based on a house in Haverstraw, NY, and was painted when Hopper was living in Nyack.

Hopper House Gallery

Hopper House Gallery

As I cleared out the previous exhibition last night, I paused for a moment to reflect on how real our experiences in Second Life are. This empty house, a virtual replica of a two dimensional replica of a real place that once housed the hopes and dreams, the daily life and desolation of other human beings, stirs the same melancholy feelings in me that one in the real world would . . . feelings that seem to have arisen in Hopper at the sight of the abandoned house he painted. It is a moody piece, its sky filled with a sense of emptiness and loss.


There is something evocative about empty walls . . . a sense of either abandonment or possibility. I prefer to dwell in possibility. Empty walls simply wait to be filled . . . a blank slate to accept our vision, to reflect ourselves . . . taste, memories, choices. They will quicken, spring to life, delight us again one day.

You Can Almost Hear the Sound

You Can Almost Hear the Sound

For just a few days more Hopper House Gallery stands empty. On Saturday, July 18th, her walls will be filled with the gorgeous photographs of Morgana Nagorski, a “Serenade to Symphony” ~ three floors of beautiful pieces capturing the moods and meanings of this breathtaking place. Please join us then (4 p.m., slt), or visit Hopper House Gallery in the coming month while Morgana’s photos are on display.

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The first prize for the recent Symphonic Pieces photo competition went to an amazing photographer, Morgana Nagorski. Once we became acquainted with her work, Ando and I wanted to host her at Hopper House Gallery for a single artist exhibition. So, on July 18th at 4:00 p.m. SLT, we will open “Serenade.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Morgana about her art. Morgana is Australian. She has been making art in various media all of her life.

Morgana Nagorski

Morgana Nagorski

What led you to photography in SL?

I came to SL in October 2006. After a few weeks I started ‘playing’ with photography. Then I met someone, and everything went on hold. I started arranging shows for him, being his handmaiden, framing his pictures, hanging them, whatever.

Then in October 2007, he started working towards a show with a theme I suggested, with props and locations I found. After some thought, with much trepidation, I suddenly said I wanted it to be a joint show. He would deny that he hesitated, but the surprise was palpable! And from there my interest in photography took off.

What inspires your work?

The main inspiration is my own emotions. I am drawn to the melancholy. My heart bleeds easily. I resonate to the minor key. Symphony pictures aside, most of the rest are RAW emotion, cathartic even. I am sometimes embarrassed, but cannot help myself.

Biggest musical influence: Leonard Cohen

Artists: Klimt, Beardsley and Waterhouse as disparate as they seem

I don’t know that they are reflected in my work though, except for the angst of Leonard.

Shelter In Her Storm

What themes or topics or images excite your imagination? Where is your art going?

What excites me most is an exploration of my feelings and emotions, and my art will go more and more there even though maybe not noticeable to people who don’t know me.

How do you view Second Life?

I wish I could live there.

Why Symphony as a subject for your work? What is there about the sim that has led you to set photographs here?

The Symphony contest was suggested to me by a friend. Apart from two isolated pics, it was the FIRST time I was not shooting MYSELF. At first I thought I couldn’t. I was quite terrified really. But feeling someone thinks I cannot makes me be determined to “can”. Does that make sense?

Do you have any future projects in mind that you can share with us?

I have SO MANY series planned that I sometimes get lost in daydreaming
Just a few are
• a series based on Leonard Cohen songs
• a series revolving around images of Marilyn Monroe . . . classics photos that I would replicate in Second Life
• a flamenco and/or tango series
• erotic pics pushing the boundaries
• a series of nude men reminiscent of classical statues
• a series semi-recreating famous paintings, like the Birth of Venus or Lady of Shalott
• a series suggesting religious icons


Your photos are primarily of human subjects . . . you in various manifestations. Why?

I find the human form beautiful. I think our avatars are a primary work of art here.
And I am the most obedient and co-operative model I know. (laughs)

On a serious level though, many of my photos are about my emotions and feelings, and what better way to express them than through my avatar?

Ahhhh . . .

Ahhhh . . .

How do you work with images offline to prepare your final photos? Do you have a preferred program for processing?

I use Photoshop. I am a novice and sort of stumble through it. But mostly my post processing is minimal. I crop and add light, and fix up the SL bits like hair poking through bodies. For the most part I try to get the shot as right as possible in SL

There are only about 1/2 dozen pics that I have manipulated, like pasting something that was not there; and usually it was . . .I just might have moved something closer for better composition, or like in the mill house ones I did that, and also painted out some things I didn’t want.

and doors

and doors


I want to thank Morgana for her time and for sharing her thoughts and her art with us. Please mark your calendar for Saturday, July 18th and plan to attend the opening of “Serenade” on Symphony. Guests will receive a complimentary commemorative bottle of wine with one of the exhibit photos on the label, a hallmark of each of Morgana’s openings. The wine is courtesy of Sapphoria Shilova and Zanphoria Vineyards Exclusive Bottling. The Serenade souvenir bottle would look great in your SL home. Please join us.


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