Eclipse Art: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow

November 29th, 2016

A woman stands alone in a bleak rocky landscape, gazing at the total solar eclipse that fills the expansive golden sky.

She feels simultaneously desolate and wonder-stuck by the awesome scene before her.

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I’ve always loved the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, especially the line towards the end:

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

This is such a true description of the bittersweet nature of our experience. Within a very short window of time, and sometimes even all at once, we can feel the heavy weight of grief and pain and also the buoyancy of gratitude and wonderment. This is what I was thinking of as I created this image: “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow.”

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The joyful feeling comes from the rare treat of witnessing this solar eclipse–the light of the sun bursts from behind the dark disk of the moon, flooding the sky with red and gold light. At the periphery, where the sky is darker, countless twinkling stars are visible.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The shadows of the moon’s rocky surface are an earthy charcoal, the highlights a muted gold.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The sorrowful feeling is represented by the stark, barren landscape surrounding the woman, and by the inky black liquid dripping down the hills in the foreground like endless seeping tears. The earth is crying.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

You’ll notice that there is a teardrop trailing down below each of her feet, as if the sorrow is flowing down through her body, out her feet which are planted on the top of that little hill, and into the ground along with the other tears. Meanwhile, her body is still and her face is lifted in amazement towards the spectacle in the sky.

This painting is 30″ x 40″.

Artist with her work: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee (Background: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood)

Artist with her work: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee (Background: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood)

The painting continues around the edges.

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

 

Eclipse Love

November 14th, 2016

Here is “Eclipse Love.”

You may recognize this silhouetted couple from my earlier painting, “We Made It.” I loved the composition of shapes created by the way they are standing, so I decided to use them again.

Eclipse Love. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Love. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The magical moment they are witnessing is a solar eclipse in progress. The moon almost obscures the sun, with only a gleaming crescent of the sun visible from behind.

The moon is a luminous lavender.

Paintings in Cedar Lee art studio. "Eclipse Love" on easel. Background: "Forest Nymph" (top), "Quest for Light" (bottom.)

Paintings in Cedar Lee art studio. “Eclipse Love” on easel. Background: “Forest Nymph” (top), “Quest for Light” (bottom.)

This painting is 24″ x 30″. You can get an idea of the scale when you see it here on the easel.

Detail: Eclipse Love. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Love. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A solar eclipse is an occurrence that, in real life, throws the world into darkness, but here, it is painted in brilliant colors. I’ve also made the sun and moon unnaturally large. Because of the “moon illusion,” when you see the moon down low near the horizon, it appears larger than a moon high in the sky. I’ve pushed this effect to the extreme for a dramatic visual experience.

Detail: Eclipse Love. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Love. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The couple is outlined in a sliver of electric blue light.

Eclipse Love. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Love. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Depending on the weather where you are, you may be able to see a similarly gigantic full moon tonight, as the November 2016 Supermoon makes its appearance–the moon this week appears extraordinarily large and bright because not only is it a full moon, but it’s also at the point in the moon’s orbit at which the moon is closest to Earth!

Deep Roots and Milky Way

November 7th, 2016

Here is “Deep Roots and Milky Way,” the newest addition to my Tree of Life series.

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

This is a commissioned piece, and my client requested that I create a new image with the sky similar to the sky in my painting, Lone Tree and Milky Way:

Lone Tree and Milky Way. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Wood, © Cedar Lee 2013

Lone Tree and Milky Way. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Wood, © Cedar Lee 2013

And a tree with roots similar to those in my painting, Gilded Breeze:

Gilded Breeze. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Gilded Breeze. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

This presented a fun challenge! For reference again, here’s what I ended up with:

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

In this time lapse video from a day’s work in my studio, you can see me working on this painting (I tone some small wood panels first–skip to 0:23 if you are impatient):

Side-view:

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Deep Roots and Milky Way. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Birds

October 20th, 2016

This is “Eclipse Birds.”

Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Small silhouetted birds perch in the branches of a tree during a total solar eclipse.

Cedar Lee with her art: Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee with her art: Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

This is one of my favorite paintings in the studio right now!

Detail: Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

This is called a “diamond ring corona” because the starburst of light makes the sun’s corona look like a shining diamond on a ring.

Detail: Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The awe-inspiring scene is painted in gold, rose and violet colors.

Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the 2.5″ deep edges of the painting.

Eclipse Birds. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Birds. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Watch a time-lapse video of me painting it!

Re-Working “Red Trunks” During Portland Open Studios

October 17th, 2016

This was my first year as a participating artist in Portland Open Studios. It was a much bigger event than what I’d pictured when I applied to be part of the tour, but I’m glad I did!

This was the event that gave me a hard deadline for finishing the interior of my new studio and getting moved in. It was a lot of work all at once, but if I hadn’t had that deadline pushing me, I may not even have walls up in there right now!

During the two weeks of the event, I sold a few paintings to new collectors, which is always exciting. I got to meet a lot of nice art lovers. Some of my favorite people to talk to were the younger teenage artists who brought their parents along with them as they got to geek out about art.

I took a time-lapse video on Saturday this past weekend. Traffic was very slow that day because there was a rain storm with high winds going on outside. I took advantage of it being relatively slow to finish re-working my painting, “Red Trunks.”

This is what the painting originally looked like:

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Original version of Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I had called it finished and even exhibited it in its former state. Don’t get me wrong–I liked the painting. I just did not feel completely satisfied with it or ready to move on from it. It would not leave me alone.

About a year ago, I took the painting down from my website and stopped exhibiting it, determined to re-work it until I absolutely loved it. I re-worked it quite a bit, changing the colors a lot as I painted over the original image, but it wasn’t yet where I wanted it to be. I put it aside to work on other things, where it has been sitting for many months in an in-between state.

That’s what you see at the beginning of this video–big painting on the easel towards the right of the frame. At the beginning of the video, you’ll see me prepping three 12″ x 36″ canvases to paint on later. From then on, I’m focused on the big painting on the easel for most of the day. Later in the afternoon, I get a crowd of visitors when the sun comes out. You’ll see me welcoming people and giving talks about the various artwork in the studio. One amusing detail throughout is the frequent interruptions from the little figure in magenta: my 5-year-old, who is very persistently seeking to be hired on as my official studio assistant.

Enjoy watching the transformation of this painting into its new incarnation over the course of my day in the studio!


Here is what the finished painting now looks like!

Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The end result of re-working this painting is a much brighter, more three-dimensional, textured, and overall more vibrant and beautiful image. I’m so glad I stuck with this one.

Old and new, side-by-side (click to enlarge):

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)

Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)

The paintings I spend the most time agonizing over are sometimes the ones that end up closest to my heart.

Close-up details:

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

By Sunday, the storm had cleared and I got a constant stream of visitors all day! What a whirlwind this event has been.

Now that Portland Open Studios is over, at least until next year, my studio will now shift away from this setup that is designed to be welcoming to guests, more like an art gallery–and towards every inch of usable work space being used for paintings in various stages of completion–beautiful chaos. It’ll probably get a little messy. Can’t wait.

October Art Studio

October 14th, 2016

The studio is still an ongoing project, with many details yet to be finished, but I’ve gotten it to the point where I’ve moved in and it is a functional work space.

Portland Open Studios is happening this week, so if you’re local to me, you can come visit this weekend! For my friends all around the world who who can’t visit my new studio in person, here are a few pictures taken yesterday.

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

The walls are full of art!

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

I’m going to be moving things around constantly over the coming months as sold work is shipped and new work is created. But I had to document this moment when the whole studio is set up so beautifully.

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

I’m all ready for more visitors this weekend–the second and last weekend of the Portland Open Studios tour!

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

Art Studio of Cedar Lee during Portland Open Studios, October 2016

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark

October 13th, 2016

I made this little painting during the first weekend of Portland Open Studios:

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

It’s a very similar composition to my earlier painting, “Redwoods in the Sun,” but the earlier painting has a more pastel color palette and a flatter texture. In this painting, I painted the tree trunks with cold wax medium and a palette knife, so the bark of the trees is reminiscent of the rough surface of real redwood bark.

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I made a quick time lapse video of the painting process, condensing about 4 hours of painting into 2 minutes. As you can see, I painted the sky and background foliage first using oil medium and a brush, then switched to cold wax medium and a knife for the thick tree trunks in the foreground before switching back to a brush to add in small branches and details like highlights and shadows.

The painting wraps around the deep edges of the wood panel, an effect I always love, but it looks especially cool in this case because of the the thick texture of the paint.

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I’ve sold four painting in the past week, and I’ve been enjoying sharing my work and process with the steady stream of art lovers who’ve come through.

Local folks: Portland Open Studios wraps up this weekend. I’ll be accepting visitors at my studio in SE Portland Saturday and Sunday, 10-5. The weather report is calling for heavy rain all weekend. I hope this won’t stop some more visitors from making the trek over. My studio is warm and cozy in this wet weather!

Email me for the address and more info. For access to the whole tour of 106 art studios around the city, pick up the tour guide or mobile app.

Order Your Art By Cedar Holiday Cards

September 30th, 2016

Guess what! You can order your holiday cards through me this year!

These cards are 4.25″ x 5.5″, on thick cardstock with a matte finish. They look beautiful. If you purchased art in my spring sale, you received something similar. White envelopes are included.

You can get the inside blank or with a message to suit your needs…Merry Christmas, Blessed Solstice, Happy Hanukah, Happy New Year…a more general Happy Holidays, or any customized message that you wish.

You can choose from the six designs shown here.

(Click to view larger:)

Art By Cedar greeting cards

Art By Cedar greeting cards

Email your order to Cedar@ArtByCedar.com–specify the quantity you want of each design # above, and what brief message you would like printed on the inside, if any.

Important:
Please order your cards in multiples of 10.
There is a 40-card minimum per design.
Price is $1.50/card.

To ensure I can get them printed and shipped to you before December, please get your orders to me by November 1st.

Corona

September 26th, 2016

I have been working a lot lately on my Lotus series. Now, I’m back to expanding my Eclipse series a bit.

This painting is called “Corona.” The striking color palette is gold, rose, rust, brown and inky violet.

Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

From Wikipedia:

A corona (Latin, ‘crown‘) is an aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and other stars. The Sun’s corona extends millions of kilometres into space and is most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but it is also observable with a coronagraph. The word “corona” is a Latin word meaning “crown”, from the Ancient Greek κορώνη (korōnè, “garland, wreath”).

For a long time now I’ve been pondering the double meaning of “corona” and wanting to show a solar eclipse positioned as a crown on a human head.

Because I’m in the research and sketching stage for several new solar eclipse-themed paintings for my solo show coming up in 2017, I’ve been obsessively collecting all the most beautiful eclipse images I can find, letting images of eclipses fill my mind.

I came across this gorgeous photo called “Eclipse Angel,” taken by photographer Dario Infini. Here, this photographer captured the exact effect I had been thinking of. I knew I wanted to make a painting with a similar feeling to it.

Inspiration for "Corona" painting: Eclipse Angel by photographer Dario Infini

Inspiration for “Corona” painting: Eclipse Angel by photographer Dario Infini

But I was picturing a dancer with her hands thrown above her head. There being no more convenient model than myself, I snapped this photo in my office.

Cedar Lee reference image for "Corona"

Cedar Lee reference image for “Corona”

It looks extremely goofy in this context, but all I needed was my own silhouette, so it didn’t really matter if the photo was bad or what I was wearing. Just like I did when creating my painting Release, I printed out the photo at the size I wanted, carefully cut out my body, and traced the silhouette onto my canvas.

Detail: Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I made myself an anonymous black and purple female form in front of the sun eclipsed by a blood orange moon. Her body is edged with a thin silver line of light from the corona behind her.

I made an executive decision to enlarge the solar eclipse to a dramatic size, so the “crown” ended up encircling the entire upper body instead of just the head. This turned out even better than what I’d originally planned.

Detail: Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I especially like this detail where her foot is lifted off the ground, and there’s just the tiniest sliver of negative space between her toes and the ground.

Detail: Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Most of the painting is quite smooth, but the texture on the woman’s body is slightly thicker than the texture of the sky, while the texture of the moon behind her is extremely thick and bumpy.

Detail: Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The edges of the painting are 2.5″ deep.

Paintings in Cedar Lee studio. Top to bottom: Dragonfly's Discovery, Koi Circles, Corona.

Paintings in Cedar Lee studio. Top to bottom: Dragonfly’s Discovery, Koi Circles, Corona.

Here you can see the 24″ x 30″ “Corona” in my studio. For scale, the two Lotus paintings in the background are 24″ x 36″.

Corona. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

This image is thrilling to me–otherworldly, serene, but also celebratory. The painting glows with a beautiful light of its own.

Studio Progress: Sheetrock & Paint

September 23rd, 2016

For those of you planning to come visit me during Portland Open Studios the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October, you are in for a treat, as you’ll be among the first to see my brand new studio right after I move in!

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Looks like I’ll be finishing everything at the very last possible moment. Over the past couple of weeks, the Sheetrock has all gone up, bit by bit!

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

I’m very thankful to have had a few trusty helpers for this task.

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Deciding how to piece the Sheetrock together to fit the angled ceiling was a satisfying puzzle.

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

There was copious plaster dust and tools were strewn everywhere.

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

But it finally came together!

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

And voila–this week I have finally finished painting the walls!

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

It’s really starting to look more finished now.

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Portland art studio of Cedar Lee, under construction

Yesterday, I painted the floor a light gray-blue (but have not yet taken photos) and today, I’ve started moving a few things in. There is a lot more work still to be done–endless details. But I’m getting there!

If you’re in the Portland, OR area and are interested in checking out my studio, along with the studios of 105 other amazing local artists, Portland Open Studios tour guides will be available online and at local stores (New SeasonsMuse, I’ve Been Framed, Blick, Collage, Artists and Craftsman) right up until the event, which starts on October 8.

Here are a few of the paintings I’ll have on display in my new studio:

Koi Circles. 24" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Koi Circles. 24″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee with painting: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee (Background: Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee)

Cedar Lee with painting: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee (Background: Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee)

Eclipse Over Watchful Forest. 24" x 24", Oil on Wood, © 2013 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Over Watchful Forest. 24″ x 24″, Oil on Wood, © 2013 Cedar Lee

Night Thinker. 16" x 12", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Night Thinker. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Alone in the World. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Alone in the World. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Forest Light. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Forest Light. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Lotus Bubbles. 30" x 24", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Lotus Bubbles. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Besides some stunning original artwork for sale, I’ll also have a selection of greeting cards, fridge magnets, and posters.

 

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