May 2010 Artist of the Month - locomouse

Each month the Renderosity community votes on The Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] ... May's AOM is locomouse!

We congratulate locomouse for an outstanding collection of works in the Fractal Gallery!

Who is 'locomouse' and how did you come by this member name?

My name is Helen Grainge and I live in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, with my husband and three rescued feral cats. This is wine country and our property is quite literally surrounded on three sides with endless acres of vineyards. Although the "neighbors" don't share the spoils of their bounty. ;)

As to the member name... many years ago I joined a Paint Shop Pro users group, and at that time I was using "mouse" as my nickname (not very inspired, but there you have it). One of the challenges the group proposed was that we would all create an image and post it for the members to guess what it was we were attempting to depict. No hints, clues or titles were allowed from the artist.

It should be noted that I have a rather indefatigable, off-the-wall sense of humor and should probably not be included in that type of a challenge. But, I got in under the radar... ;)

Anyway, one of the images was posted by a gal from London, England. She had created a man wearing a tall black hat and holding a very large set of tongs in one hand and a long-handled brush in the other. Clearly, he was a chimney sweep... but I could not resist. I guessed that he was a gynecologist.

I distinctly remember the artist's response to my post. She wrote, "ROTFL!! You are insane! You're absolutely LOCO!" Well, as I say, she was British. And as they say, "If the name fits"...:)

Form Without Function by locomouse
Form Without Function

How long have you been working with computer graphics?

In the summer of 1999 I bought a copy of PC Advisor Magazine at the local variety store. Glued to the back cover was a disc containing Paint Shop Pro 4. I loaded that into my DOS-based PC running Windows 3.11 For Workgroups and haven't done a lick of housework since.

Do you have any traditional art experience?

None whatsoever. Unless the fact that I was pretty darn clever with an Etch-a-Sketch counts at all.

What are you currently working on?

I don't have any particular project in the works at this time. I've been going through files which contain unfinished works, attempting to whip them into something that appeals to me. It is time consuming and a bit frustrating as my file naming conventions leave a lot to be desired. Without a lie, there are at least 50 Ultra Fractal parameter files on my hard drive entitled, "a good start," "a good start2," "another good start," etc. Considering that I received 99/100 on an accredited online course in Computer File Management, this is a sad state of affairs, indeed. ;)

Paradise Called ... by locomouse
Paradise Called ...

What software/equipment do you use and why?

My foray into the fractal genre began with Apophysis, which is an amazingly addictive bit of software. Every time I launched that program, I felt as though I was wandering around Disney World and finding the coolest attractions.

I also had a lot of fun with Sterlingware, but quickly found that its footprint was elephant-sized and creativity was rather limited.

Ultra Fractal (both version 4 and 5) is the software I use exclusively these days. The power and flexibility of UF is nothing short of awesome, even if the learning curve is a little steep.

What is it that you like best about Fractal Art?

There is something universally appealing about fractals, I think. Because fractals abound in nature (examine a compound leaf and you will see a pattern that is repeated at every scale; gaze upon that head of cauliflower slowly wilting in your fridge and admire the self-similarity of the florets; notice how the frost on your window pane looks exactly like the boundary of a Mandelbrot set), they seem somehow familiar, and yet alien and exotic.

The infinity of spiral shapes is intriguing, and I believe most people are drawn to the elegance and fluid motion that spirals can convey. From there, the journey to discovering fractal shapes is endless and absolutely fascinating. Personally, I've never met a fractal I didn't like.

What do you think your best piece of work is and why?

In all honesty, I don't think I have achieved my best piece of work yet. I am partial to several images in my gallery here at Renderosity, but I can also find fault with each of them.

Having said that, "Paradise Called ..." is one of my favorites because it is delicate and very feminine without being overly saccharine. Plus, my Mom really likes it... :)

I also have a soft spot for "Julia Switching Station" because it is a little different (off-the-wall) and I had a blast while creating it. Also, it took forever to achieve... but I think one has to be a glutton for punishment - a least a little bit - in order to take on that sort of image using a fractal program.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't include "A Curious Sight on a Magical Night." That image rather concluded my love affair with Apophysis because I felt that I would never be able create anything that... well... magical again. But I'll never forget the "thrill" of discovering that little bird in a flame generating program... :)

Julia Switching Station by locomouse
Julia Switching Station

Who, or what, inspires you, and how do you get your ideas?

Everything and everybody inspires me. That is the honest truth. Each time I meander through the Fractal Gallery here at Rendo, there is an image (or 10 or 20) that lights my creative fire and I'm anxious to roll up my sleeves and dig into Ultra Fractal. The other day, I received one of those annoying credit offers in the mail. You know the one where they stick a fake credit card onto the letter? Well, that card had the most wonderful shade of blue paired up with a soft, delicate bronze ... and I immediately thought, "These colors would be awesome for a Phoenix Julia!"

Even the clouds inspire me. Yesterday they were Soft Gnarly with fBm textures, but sometimes they are distinctly Perlin Noise.

How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?

Renderosity has been my second home for many years and I'm extremely fond of this place and its people. It takes courage to move into a forum that is already settled and may or may not welcome newcomers. There is always that feeling of angst when you toss an image out there and welcome critique, but the denizens of Renderosity have always been kind and very gracious.

I have learned so much from my fellow fractalists (is that a word?), both from constructive critiques and file sharing. (A shout-out to joeydude who got me started with Ultra Fractal.)

I've always found the fractal folks to be a very caring, creative and supportive bunch and they continue to inspire and motivate me. I'm truly blessed to be a part of this community.

A Curious Sight on a Magical Night by locomouse
A Curious Sight on a Magical Night

Do you have any parting comments, or advice for other artists?

Back in the day, I used to work the midnight shift at our border crossing in Niagara Falls. One of my supervisors loved to play Euchre, so he and I would pass the half-hour lunch break with a game or two. I was fairly new to the game, but he was a real pro... and a sore loser. On the rare occasion when I won a hand, he would throw his cards down and yell, "Cripes sake, Grainge, it would be different if you knew what the **** you were doing!"

So, I have no advice, because whether it's Euchre or fractal art ... I still don't know what I'm doing. ;)

I do, however, want to thank everyone who voted for me with all my heart. I've said it before and I'll say it again... you girls and guys are the BEST!!

Thank you!!! :)



We invite you to have a further look at locomouse's Renderosity Gallery!

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Artist of the Month is highlighting a talented Renderosity artist that has been nominated by mods and admins, and voted by the community. Recognition is given to this member for their collection of works for that year.

Since we only select one AOM per month, it is not about their works for that particular month. Instead, it is about highlighting a talented artist's works for that year, and they are recognized during that month.

To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM page, which can also be found on the sidebar under Highlights.

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Member Opinions:
By: nickcharles on 5/3/10
Congrats Helen! Love your work. And great to get to know more about you...what a fun interview!

By: lyron on 5/4/10

By: marforno on 5/4/10
Congrats...!!! Great work... :-)

By: soffy on 5/5/10
Congratulations,you have a wonderful Gallery :)**********

By: BonBonish on 5/5/10

By: carlx on 5/5/10

By: Gatorr on 5/5/10
Very deserving indeed, Congratulations. Can't wait for the next post.

By: mountmous on 5/6/10
Congratulations, Helen. A long overdue and well-deserved win. Read your interview with interest and noticed that we are all in this for the same reason. Fractals are just so darn awesome! ^_^

By: Sheyenne on 5/6/10
congrats Helen, finally you're the one... you deserve it... greetz, Harmen

By: Deagol on 5/7/10
Cool. I am happy to see this. Congratulations

By: DreamWarrior on 5/7/10
I'm soo happy for you, Helen! You truly deserved this for a long time!
And it's great to get to know you a bit better, too!

By: algra on 5/7/10
My congratulations Helen. It's well deserved!

By: surfacedesigner on 5/7/10
Congrats, Locomouse. Your work is always a joy to behold and you really deserve this recognition.

By: DGEbel on 5/7/10
Hey, congratulations Helen!! Between a talented eye and endless effort at those "doodles", you are quite deserving of this recognition ;-)

By: SirJohn on 5/8/10
Helen! What a joy it is to see you as the AOM. My presence here has all but diminished to nothing, but your amazing artwork and rapier wit I have truly missed. Congratulations my dear... you have always been a favorite of mine (and always will be).

By: RodolfoCiminelli on 5/10/10
Wonderful fractal works my friend.
Congratulations for this award very deserved...!!!

By: clifftoppler on 5/11/10
Three cats and a loco mouse! I doubt if the dust has time to settle so you too become an inspired house keeper.

What are fractals, by the way: clouds evaporate, the veggie melts in the mouth (or cheats as a crunchie), the leaves become sun gatherers until autumn flaps them earthwards, and my computer tends lordly and inscrutable when asked for clarity? But yes - fractals are "satisfaction." The deeper you delve..

By: doarte on 5/12/10
Congratulations...Beautiful Work, Distinguished and Elegant!

By: KnightWolverine on 5/13/10
Congrats to you , you do beautiful work!

By: Dave-So on 5/15/10
wow ... I love fractals myself, but have never created anything as wonderful as what you have achieved in your gallery.
Mind boggling and beautiful, inspiring.

Great interview too.

By: XoxoTree on 5/18/10
Helen your work is deserving of this spot. i am real happy for you. Congratulations dear! Outstanding artistry at BEST! YAY!

By: morghotta on 5/19/10
there is good.the lightwave,run on in pentium 3,I am yet to learn about this application or program.......thanks for finders to find this application............@kenny

By: H_Dog on 5/21/10
Helen is the artist who drew me into Renderosity. One late night after "working" on my computer, I decided to search the net for some new fractal images for my digital art collection. I ran across these amazing images...fractals like I had never seen before, and this unusual name...Locomouse. I knew then that this lady must be someone special, as were her fractal images. I have been a HUGE fan of hers ever since, and regularly wind my way through all the incredible talent here at Rendo. Helen is a very special lady, and Rendo is a friendly place full of very talented people.

By: angelafair on 5/25/10
BEAUTIFUL gallery!

By: LindaMcC on 7/9/10
Wow, am I ever a day late and a dollar short. I had no idea.. Many congratulations, dear Helen!! IMO, this honor is long overdo. You know how I love your outstanding work.

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