Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Blogger Art Gallery: Original Art in My House

Hello, my friends! Welcome to a special, non-fashion-y post! I'm participating in the Blogger Art Gallery created by Kezzi (blog here, post here). The idea behind this gallery is to show the art we bloggers have on our walls and in our homes. 

I will be sharing some of the original art that L and I have. I didn't include numbered prints, art prints, jewelry or clothes; I stuck to paintings, original photos by artists, sculpture, and needlepoint. And a heavy dollop of my old hobby: miniature painting!

As I walked around our condo taking pictures, I decided to keep the groupings by room - I actually have art in every room in my house! Well, not the laundry room, but everywhere else.


I have a grouping of my mom's early oil paintings on one wall of the den. 
She's been painting for over 40 years - these are from her early period. I cherry-picked these three and took them with me when I moved out of the parental home when I was 21 (in 1987), so these were all done prior to that date.

My two favourites:
Meet "Perky"! My mom is amazing at detail in her paintings. I love the pink colours and this saucy little fluff-ball of a bird. 

This is a big painting (14 x 18"?), showing the view at the top of the Malahat Drive and looking down-Island back towards Victoria. 
That view does not resemble this anymore, 35 years later - all those trees in the foreground are so tall now that they block the view entirely.

This small painting was a birthday gift from my dear friend Caro - her mom Hazel painted it (she's a professional artist).
It's called "Perfect Pink Shoes."

When a piece of art appeals to me (and the price is right), I'll buy it. This is a small 8" square acrylic painting.
I used to pass the storefront of a local sign-painting/tattoo shop on the way to and from my old job, and I ended up buying two pieces of art that I saw in the windows there. I looked at this one every day for about 6 months, then bought it. I think it was $20.00.

My dear friend Elaine wanted to give me a gift before she moved back east to Hamilton, and offered me a selection of her art photos to pick from. I chose three as my favourites, and she gave them all to me!
This was taken in Toronto, I believe.

Walk-In Closet

Yes, I have a piece art in my closet! I won this original poppy tile mounted on the painted orange wooden board from a silent auction at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria about 15 years ago.
I spy...me!

It lives above my full-length mirror at the end of the closet.
I have always loved these colours, and the lovely tile.


This was a wedding gift from our friend Chris' first wife Jennifer. She cross-stitched this.
There are also beaded accents.


L and I painted miniature figures together for about 11 years - my own painting gradually petered off as the fashion side of my blog overtook my time. However, we have about 2,000 of these miniatures scattered around our house, including 3 giant display cases full of them.

We have two shelves of dragons in the hall.
These are a mix of pieces done by me and by L. We did our own pieces and only collaborated once.

Second shelf. A small human-sized figure can take around 8 hours to paint; some of these larger ones can take longer, depending on how much detail there is on them.
L started painting miniatures as a kid, and I started shortly after I met him in 1995. He grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons (I also played for about 15 years), and these are figures associated with the game, with oodles of dragons, demons, goblins, elves...pretty much every fantasy creature (good and evil) you could think of. Oh, and humans too!

Here are some assorted posts covering figures from the early days of Ephemera - these are fun to look at.

Recommended: If you're more interested in just the pictures, click on the first picture in each post and then click through them as a slideshow - it'll make the pictures bigger and easier to see too.

Note: If monsters, demons and other scary things are not your bag...don't look!

Back to the hallway! Our friend Missy bought this for us - more needlepoint.
L and I call our local pub the Winchester, after the pub in Shawn of the Dead, which is where this quote is from. YouTube link to the scene here.

These miniature ship paintings (they are about 4 x 5.5" big) are beside our building intercom.
I'm on the lookout for a big ship picture - L wants a grand one with lots of sails and crashing waves.


I painted this one! I took a class in painting with acrylics with Elaine back in 2008; we continued lessons directly with the artist (Tim Hoey, link here 'cause he's local and awesome).
I did this painting during those lessons - it's acrylic on canvas. It's copied from a picture in a magazine - rather creepy, isn't it? I have a morbid streak a mile wide!

We also have this miniature nude in the bathroom, between the handing shelf and the medicine cabinet.
I bought her and the two miniature ship paintings above at a vintage fair in March for $22.50 for all three.


We have an original chalk pastel painting of mushrooms over the sink, behind the tap (don't worry, the picture has glass over it).
This was a wedding gift from L's work neighbour Karl Michel, who was a framer - the artist is Cunningham, but I have no other info on it. I love mushrooms, but L loathes them. Hee hee.

Living Room/Dining Room

I'm honoured to own this oil painting by my mom. It was chosen to be in the Sooke Fine Art Show in 2007? 2008?, which is a very prestigious juried art show. It's very hard to get a piece accepted. My brother Dave and I (picture here) went with Mom to check out the show and brag to random attendees, "My mom painted this!"
I have always loved the light coming from behind the tree, and the abstract shading in the roots. Mom painted this from a photo she took at Goldstream Park.

We have two photos that were gifts from Karen.
This black and white one was a gift from her to L - sorry about the reflection. It's giant rocks in the sand at the edge of the ocean.

This is a colour (really!) photo of Eilean Donan Castle, near the Isle of Skye.
L and I went there together in between moving in together and getting married, in 1996.

This is an original painting on a piece of reclaimed wood. I saw this every day for over a year in that same storefront window and finally one day, they were open and I went in (it was usually closed early in the morning and after work when I was walking by) and asked how much it was. I happily paid $75.00, and asked the artist (Chris Dobell) to sign it. The Dobell brothers still run a sign-painting business here in town - their work is featured in many local establishments (article here).
This was the inspiration for the crow tattoo on my back, as I loved this painting so much (fresh picture of the tatto here, from 2011).

We also have two more of Elaine's photos displayed in the dining room (we don't actually own a dining room table, so this is the bench/cat play area). This is a foggy one she took in Victoria.
Again, sorry about the reflection! I love the soft yellow colour in this.

 And this is a view of Victoria in the snow - she took this on her way to work one morning.
A reminder that it doesn't always rain here!

L and I collaborated on our biggest diorama which is displayed in the dining room: our Vampire Church!
The red arrows are all areas where there are figures of vampires, people fighting vampires, etc. Click the picture to make it bigger.

I built and painted the church; L made all the wee trees and created the landscaping around the church. We both worked on the placement of figures.

The front door of the ruined church. I made the stained glass windows by printing them from images I found online and gluing them onto the solid window pieces. The church itself was just solid grey plastic - I did all the aging/texture, the lanterns, the torches and the front door.
The idea is that the vampires have taken over the church and a gang of good guys have broken in to kill them all.
It's pretty impressive in person. I realized as I searched around on my blog for the assembly pictures, that I never actually posted them.

So, without further ado...

We worked it for nearly two years, from August 2010 to April 2012. Tools of the trade here. Paint, plastic trees, needlenose pliers.
L bent the plastic trees into realistic configurations, then added the foliage, one little bit at a time.
The greenery is different types of moss on tiny sticks. Tweezers are useful for this; we just use white glue.

Inigo (our dear departed kitty) oversaw the work.
The cats always helped us paint.

Here's me, painting the church. I assembled it and glued it to a base, then painted all as one piece.
It was super-awkward to do, as you can tell.

I had to hold it in my lap. 
Hm, I think I remember now why my "Stuff" table has a grey-black stain on it...

Here's some finished pictures of the front entryway. Hee, I see someone checking it out...
The front doors open and close. I glued on and painted all of those little lanterns and the gargoyles.

The other side of the door. The stained glass windows above it are different on the back than the front (4 windows instead of 2), and you can see the four bays of inside windows on the lower level. 
I had fun finding all the stained glass and picking which ones to use. 

Interior view.
My job is nearly done! Just have to do the floor - all the markings are from the light paint that was brushed over the grey plastic, and the black wash I used to get extra depth in the crevices. 

I made the tile flooring - it's just paper. I cut and pasted a black tile, then gridded it, and rotated each "tile" randomly to look like a real tiled floor. 

I also did a few loose columns to add to the "ruined" look. 

As in the above picture, I fit sheets of "grass" (flocked modeling paper) around the building. 

I painted a big black crack over the left window there, so that we could make it look like a model tree crashed through it.

The extended land is actually a separate piece of board.
We made a hill out of a tuna can, scrunched paper and duct tape.

L adding the trees to the scenery.
Vizzini helping. He was a fiend for the trees - he was always trying to eat them.

Look at that fine sculpture!
We used a staple gun to stick down the grass to the base, and made slits where needed to make it lay flat - the material also slightly bent with heat from a hair-dryer. All the edges and staples were easily covered with some "grass" flocking over glue.

All nice and non-dusty. These dioramas are a pain to clean: you have to blow gently and use a soft paint-brush, so we rarely do it. Guilty! No judging!

Looking at the front.
You can see the tree "crashing" into the window on the right, next to a scantily-clad vampire waiting to bite whoever comes to investigate.

We planned to have a coffin exploding out of the floor, so I cut some extra floor tiles.
L added all the details of rubble and dirt. Doesn't it look cool?

This is a great pic L took, looking through the windows.
And here's a shot (with flash!) of the interior when it was all finished.
 Much chaos!


Moving on...

This is a drawing by...me! I did this pencil on paper drawing when I was 17-18 years old for my high school art class. My mom originally framed it for me with a grey mat when I finished it back in 1985.
It won a Second Place ribbon in one of the art categories at the Saanich Fair that summer, ha! I'd forgotten that. L had it reframed and matted by Karl Michel (he of the mushroom picture above) with acid-free paper and UV protectant glass, to keep it from fading or getting foxing on the edges.

I chose a photo from a stack of magazine pictures that my high school art teacher had put out for us students. My picture was about 10 inches square, so quite large (I think I might still have it somewhere in a box). We gridded the pictures, then increased the scale onto a bigger sheet of paper. I recall that I went from centimeters to inches, so it was about 18 cm square originally, blown up to 18" on a side. You can slightly see one of the grid lines in her bangs/fringe where I struggled to get it right. I also hated doing the nose.

I can't remember when I acquired this book, but I am sure it belonged to my dad's parents/Grandma and Grandpa J. I know I had it in university in the mid-80s because I used some of the images to inspire my writing. I definitely got it AFTER I'd done the girl in white.
It's a souvenir from an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, an exhibit from 1955 (link here and about the exhibit here).

Someone removed the dust jacket, but glued the blurb in. Not me!
I did sign it though! My book. Mine.

It has an introduction by poet Carl Sandburg.
This copy is a 1955 edition. I wonder if my grandparents - who traveled quite a bit before my grandpa was sidelined by a series of strokes and heart attacks (he died around the time I got this book, actually) - went to New York City and visited this exhibit?

Imagine my surprise when I found a familiar image in it, after I'd done my drawing!
Who is that?
I just spent some time looking her up online, but couldn't find even a single image. I picked a famous picture to copy! The original photo is by famed photographer Irving Penn for Vogue magazine.

I have a couple of sculptures that I bought back in the early 90s. I named this guy Golem because he is obviously holding something in his hand.
We added the ring when the Lord of the Rings movie series came out.

He's also a bit dusty - he lives up high on the shelves.
He is made out of concrete. I paid $75.00 for him around 1993, and had to buy him on layaway from a local store, as that was a lot of money for me back then!

This is by Derek A. Rowe of Renaissance Studio, which used to be on Vancouver Island.
This is number 22 out of 100 planned copies. No idea if he ever made that many, though. There are no pictures online of any of his pieces from this era.

A dragon diorama that I did about 14 years ago.
I like my paint job on him.


I have another piece by Derek A. Rowe: this ginormous gargoyle, also made of concrete. He weighs a ton.
We named him Smaug, after the dragon in The Hobbit.

He is a replica of one of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral gargoyles (link to pic here).
He has a small chip on the front corner from when L and I moved from our apartment to our current condo.

There's his plaque.
 It's hard to read, but he is 3 of a planned edition of 75.

I paid $250.00 - also on layaway - over 6 months to buy him. I also had another big gargoyle, but my ex-boyfriend and I took one each when we split up.
 Smaug currently displays my marathon medal and my racewalking medals. Classy guy!

And we've reached the end of my tour. This isn't a piece of art, but a little piece of us. The frame was a wedding gift from Greg and Rosanna (I was really into gargoyles in the 90s), although I broke the glass immediately. D'oh!
L and I dressed up to go out, circa 1995-96 in our old apartment. The strip of poetry on the side says, "I am a part of all that I have met."

A big thank you to Kezzie for initiating this! Here's a listing of the participants - please feel free to "tour the gallery" and leave comments when you visit.

I hope you enjoyed my own portion of the tour. What was your favourite piece of art from my collection?


  1. I love this, what a fun idea and a great glimpse into your lives. We don't have much art in our home, we do have a gallery wall of family pictures, though, that makes me so happy.

    1. Thanks, Krysten! I love having original art on my walls.

  2. I am a big gargoyle fan...thank you for sharing yours. ARilx

  3. You have a lovely, eclectic collection. I think my very favourite piece is the creepy bathroom painting (love mysterious art), followed by the girl in white.

    Your vampire church is very well done; such attention to the details. You can tell it was a labour of love.

    1. I do like weird painting, ha ha! Thanks, Nana! All of our figures were labours of love - it takes so much time to do them!

  4. Great to see your artworks in more detail than I got during a brief visit. Elaine... who's she? :)

    1. I don't know, some chick I know. :) Thanks, Ally! Glad you enjoyed a closer look.

  5. PS: The vampire church reminds me of scenes from Penny Dreadful. I think they stole your ideas!

    1. I loved that show (not the recent season, just the one with Eva Green). Thanks, Nana!

  6. Hello, Sheila! I saved your post to read this morning over a cup of tea,, I knew it would be a good one.
    Your Mum's oil paintings are incredible, I love Perky, such detail! I'm in awe of your talent too, I'd give anything to be able to put pen to paper.
    I can't think of anything more apt for your collection than "Perfect Pink Shoes".
    I have a thing about tiles so my eye was drawn to that lovely poppy tile.
    The vampire castle is a masterpiece, i loved the photos of you, L, Inigo and Vizzini all working on it over the years. You're right, cats are so helpful!
    That mushroom picture is a treasure. Have you ever seen Beatrix Potter's fungi illustrations? I think you'd love them.
    The photo of the Indian children in your MoMA catalogue really appeals to me.
    I loved this post! xxx

    1. Aw, thank you for taking the time, Vix, I appreciate it. Mom is amazing (and she reads all the comments, so thank you!). I love all of our wonderful pieces, and it's cool that so many are from friends and family. I have not seen those Potter illustrations - I'll look them up.

      That entire MoMA book is amazing. I can look at it for hours.

      Thank you, my dear friend!

  7. This was such a fun tour - you have a lot of meaningful pieces and it was really interesting seeing the campfire setup come together - it is such a lot of work but so worth it as it looks great! I don't have an artistic side so the things we have framed on the walls are family photos and things, most by professionals (like newborn shoots, wedding photos, etc). My Dad is a hobby photographer (used to have his own dark room, which I have a vague memory of the red light in), and while we don't have any of his photos framed there are a lot in my parent's house, and a very similar photo of Eilean Donan castle! It's so beautiful with the bridge and the loch!

    1. Thank you so much, Mica! I was confused about your "campfire" comment, then figured out it was an auto-correct of "cathedral", ha ha! I hope you get some of your Dad's photos and hang them in your home - it's so special to have those, particularly as our folks get older. I loved Eilean Donan!

  8. Such wonderful artworks you have Sheila and you and your mum are both very talented. The dioramas are amazing; you and L must have the patience of saints to do all that intricate work!

    I'd love to have joined in with this but I'm too busy at the moment with going away but I may well do a blog post o n my art when I get back from ireland.

    1. Thank you so much, Vronni. Before blogging, I painted miniatures! All my time is now spent with blogging, comments, visiting other bloggers. I don't regret it.

      It's okay - it would be cool to see what you have in your home. :)

  9. My jaw almost literally dropped at the amount of artwork you have around your home, Sheila. Not that I am surprised, but still. I didn't join in, but I'm planning to share some of my treasures in a future blog post. Your Mum is a very accomplished painter and I'm sure you must have inherited some of her incredible talent. I particularly love those two moody landscapes. Other things that caught my eye are the poppy tile and the two tiny ship paintings which if I'm not mistaken I remember you buying not all that long ago. Your Mum's tree painting is absolutely magnificent! And how evocative is that photo of Eilean Donan Castle! I'm in awe of those miniatures, something I would never have the patience for. Your pencil drawing is very accomplished. You really are talented, my friend! Oh, and I love your collection of gargoyles! xxx

    1. I left out a few pieces (had to explain to Mom why her rubbing of Robert the Bruce was not included), but it's a lot, isn't it, Ann? I joined in because I knew I'd have time to take all the pictures and do a good write-up

      I'm proud of my Mom for being so dedicated to her art. Yes, I got those ship pictures just in February at the last vintage fair. Thank you so much! Gargoyles forever!

  10. I loved your art tour! My decorating style can be described as "hey guys, look at all the things I like!!!!!" which clearly says a lot about me as a person so I'm always super interested in what people put up in their homes for the same reason.
    I have been tasked with painting M's significant number of Eldritch Horror figurines so I was extra interested in your D&D ones. They look amazing! I painted a Cthulhu dice tower for him which was super fun but time consuming and since I'm a stickler for detail, I know the figures will take me AGES. I haven't yet decided if thats a positive or negative yet, haha. If I do decide to go for it, we're definitely displaying them like you did- if I do all that work, everyone is going to see it! ;)

    1. I'm a maximalist when it comes to decorating, Ashley! I'm much the same, although we have weeded out a lot of the stuff we have that wasn't meaningful to us. Painting those figures is a huge task - it always took me weeks just to do one. You definitely have to show off yours when you're done! I want to see them!

  11. Wow, so much talent in your family. Your mother is an amazing artist, no wonder you are an amazing artist yourself. That church and the miniatures are so well done. My granddaughter also sculpted miniature dragons and fantasy creatures out of Femo and baked them in the oven and then painted them. Such tiny details like yours.
    You have a great collection of art in your home.

    I enjoy visiting your art gallery. Thank you so much for sharing. It's been time well spent.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit, and to comment, Julia - I really appreciate it. Mom is absolutely amazing at what she does. I don't have the skill to actually sculpt anything so kudos to your granddaughter! Wow.

  12. I really enjoyed seeing your art, you have so much and it's so varied and interesting! I really like the paintings but your mum plus the vampire church, Golem and Smaug! My husband paints miniatures too - well he used to, he hasn't done one for a while, but they're not displayed anywhere, all in a box at the moment! All fantasy gaming things!

    1. Thank you, Louise! I'm surprised at how many miniature painters there are out there. You need to display your husband's! Why not?

  13. Your mother's art is truly on another level. That's some amazing art of hers that you have hanged on your walls. I think the bird painting is my fav one of all her paintings but they are all amazing. The one with the roots is so expressive.
    Your drawing of a girl based on a photograph is beautifully done. I also loved seeing your work on painting the dragons and other fantasy creatures. It is great you and L work together on this. I'll be back to comment on other things as well, I'm on my cell phone and can't type well.

    1. I'm back. It is much easier to type on laptop. The church that serves as a battleground for the vampires is fabulously done. You painted it to perfection. It really does look realistic. The glass stain windows look amazing too. How clever to print them out and glue them. I loved that you took many photos of it so we can see all the details. There is much to admire here. I haven't done anything similar but I think it's something I'd enjoy as well. You and L put so much work and detail into this installment (not sure what is the proper term) and it really shows. The grass and the trees look amazing. How clever to use moss on the tress to make the leaves. Another detail that is absolutely amazing are the broken tiles inside the church and the dirt coming out. So very realistic! This place could be a mini movie set, perhaps for a short movie with the figures themselves. I bet it would look great. You and L can definitely be proud for all the colouring and work you have done there to create that vampire haunted church. Very cool piece!

    2. I also love the sculptures you purchased, especially those beautiful reproductions of gargoyle from Notre-Dame. You have such an eye and appreciated for art. It can be seen in all the pieces you purchased. It is wonderful that you support local artists. That bird on wood you bought from a local artist is so colourful and fabulous. I also like the photographs Karen gifted you.

    3. I'm going to reply once for all three entries - thank you so much for your thorough comment, Ivana. I feel like we get art in the same way.

      My mom's stuff is so good - she really has evolved into a unique style. Perky was my favourite right away - I've always been good at spotting her best ones and grabbing them. :) Thank you - I'm proud of that piece. And L and I are proud of our castle - it took so long, and at the end I left it on him to finish it.

      I liked doing the church - it started out as grey plastic, so I didn't have to do a base coat, thank goodness. I was really pleased at how it came out. We just call them dioramas - we have tons of them that I didn't even show! I've always wanted to do modeling or painting backdrops for movies. I actually painted model railroad backdrops one year! I wonder if I have those pictures around...Thank you so much!

      I fell hard for those - I have always liked the spooky and macabre. That piece on wood is something I really love. Karen's photos are amazing - I'm not doing them justice.

  14. I saved you till last so I could spend time perusing as I knew you'd have so much to ruminate over!
    Firstly, I did smile at: " I love mushrooms, but L loathes them"- there's one hater and one lover in most relationships- I'm the hater, CBC is the lover! I like the idea of food painting in the kitchen!
    Your Mum's works are incredible! What a talent and no wonder you have such an eye for colour, detail, pattern, interiors et al!
    So impressive! The roots one is really interesting and the bird is amazing
    I really like the wave one! I am so drawn to water in art.
    Your figurines are so impressive! My Mum's ex-husband paints those too and he has a whole cabinet full! I really like the dragons! He doesn't have dragons!
    Loved seeing the beautiful picture of Vizzini trapped on L's lap! He looks SO entranced by what he sees!!

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Kezzie! I so appreciate that.

      Ha, yes, there is! I love that picture. My mom is really talented - I am so proud of her. I get a lot of my artistic eye from her. Those are my favourites of hers, all time.

      The wave one is better from a bit of a distance. I like waves too. It's so funny how many people paint miniatures! Dragons are the most fun and easiest to paint (because they are larger).

      All of our cats loved sitting there while we painted. My favourite is Inigo peeking at the church. :)

  15. Wow, your mum is really talented! It must be so lovely having paintings by her, and thinking of all those people enjoying her work. Do you think you get your eye for colour from her?

    Your miniatures are ace; I think the vampire church is my favourite piece of your art. I used to paint them in my teens but haven't tried in about 25 years, though loads of people I know are really into it (side-benefit of working in games and science fiction, I guess). Your description of your Christmas village really made me smile - it's brilliant to see something packed with so much fun and personality.

    1. Isn't she? I'm so proud of her. I definitely get my eye for colour from my mom and her side of the family.

      Thank you, Mim! It's a really cool piece, and I'm glad we have it as our "crowning glory" of our collection. I miss the village - it was SO fun to put together every year.

  16. My favourite is your mum's Perky the bird. What a fantastic artist she is! X

    1. Isn't she amazing? She is enjoying all these comments, ha ha!

  17. Wow, that is a lot of art. Most of the paintings I can easily relate to. Some of them are similar to our paintings one way or another. And just as eclectic. Although your wide morbid streak is something we lack haha. I can appreciate it though.
    And the work that went into glueing and painting all those figures and the church, my God, what a work. But also what a great hobby.
    I am very much impressed by your mother's artistic talent. She is good. And judging by the girl you drew, you inherited her talent.

    1. I like my art! Thanks so much, Greetje. We've both pretty much given up on our minis, though. Nearly time to pack up the painting area and make room for more clothes, heh heh.

      She will appreciate seeing your comment, thank you. Yes, I'm thankful to have inherited the art gene.

  18. Wow, thank you for this great tour of your wonderful "art gallery"! You have very cool pieces, especially the ones you and L painted and your own wonderful art work. You and your Mom obviously share an artistic eye and the skills to bring your vision to life. I can't imagine the time that went into painting all those miniatures - I love your shelf of dragons!

    1. Thanks, Shelley! It was fun for me to record all of this! I'm grateful to have inherited my artsy side from my mom. Oh gawd, so much time spent on those miniatures!

  19. Thank you for this tour of your art gallery, I've enjoyed particularly your mom's art and your miniatures and dioramas!. I've been a 'sunday painter' for most of my life, and I've also inherited my artsy side from my mom (she's really talented).
    Lovely to see all these pieces of art!

    1. Thanks so much, Monica! Isn't Mom's stuff awesome? Funny how we both inherited that from our mothers.

  20. Oh wow Sheila, you have an extensive and diverse collection.
    I really liked the one you did in pencil and I like the idea of having artwork in the bathroom! It would match my chandelier.

    1. Thanks, Lorena! Art - especially original art - is important to me! You definitely need art in your bathroom to go with your chandelier! Wow!


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