China, a Chinese Brush Painted Sim
Second Life offers many artistic pleasures; the best of which explore the potential within virtual worlds to be uniquely entertained and enlightened by the arts. In Second Life, I've experienced paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali that have been rendered into three dimensions in our virtual space. So, rather than merely viewing the painting, one can actually enter the work, wander about its composition, and interact with its objects. Imagine walking about Vincent Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles, viewing the room from all perspectives, and plopping down on Van Gogh's bed. It was great fun.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing
But the most immersive art experience that I have had in Second Life was not an immersion in a particular work of art but immersion in an particular art form, that of Chinese Brush Painting. Chinese brush painting has a long history dating back to 2000 BC . Its techniques were codified in the 5th Century A.D. by the venerated master Hsieh Ho. Chinese brush painting emerged from calligraphy, considered by the Chinese as the highest art form, and utilizes strokes of a brush dipped in black or colored ink. The artist paints with rapid brush strokes; some are strong and some are light, some are thick and some are thin, and some are wet and some are dry. Each stroke is defining and never elaborated. The spirit (chi) of the artist flows from within and animates the movements of the brush. A master paints with authority and a spontaneity that captures the essence of the subject.
Above the China sim in Second Life is an encapsulated world where the virtual reality is that of brush painted impressions. Its not a world of realism; but one of essence. We walk among translucent shadows that are groves of bamboo in our mind's eye. In the distance, a dark shadow is a fisherman's shack set a shore of a lake whose rippling waters recede into the horizon. Above us is an ink washed sky. It's otherworldly; but hauntingly beautiful.
I showcased myself against this beautiful background because I want to introduce you to an updated look to my avatar. Many people express their creativity through the design of their avatars. Some of my friends change their shapes and skins so frequently that I recognize them chiefly by their name tags and not by their avatar. To me, my avatar is not a fashion accessory. Its design captures the essence of 'Mariko'. I am intimately familar with this essence. I know it when I see it. It's an important part of what defines me in Second Life. I've updated my avatar only once before. And any update must capture that essence.
Leena Ying, the owner of DrLife, is the greatest designer of avatars in Second Life. Her artistry is unsurpassed. And Leena is my oldest and dearest friend in this virtual world. She is the primary designer of my avatar. I perform the final tweeks. Leena had been trying to get me to update my avatar for almost a year as the artistry of her skins reached ever higher heights. Time and again, Leena would present me with a new skin. I would put it on; but, always revert back to my old skin. I could tell that this peeved her. But as artistically lovely as these new skins were, they just didn't capture 'Mariko'. Until she persented me this last one. It was close. Each skin has its own peculiarities that must be dealt with. And after countless tweeks and checks against references, 'Mariko' emerged once again. And the artistry is lightyears beyond what I previously had. Bless you, Leena.
The kimono that I'm wearing is from Sweetaholic Kimono Shop and is called Reishoku#black. It was designed by Asalt Eames and devil Babii and sells for L$500. Sweetaholic Kimono Shop has an outstanding collection of kimono and accessories. I love this particular kimono because it looks very much like my mother's kimono, rarely worn and then only for special occasions. It is a family treasure. Reishoku#black also comes with a black feather shawl. The hair that I am wearing is from DrLife and is called Leena. Leena was designed by Leena Ying and sells for L$350. With Leena, you get 9 hair colors which you can select from a menu.
Sweetaholic Kimono Shop
DrLife Skins and Hair are available at Mariko in Mont Saint Michel
Videos - Chinese Brush Painting: