Oct 16, 2009


October 6th marked the tenth anniversary of the day I downloaded UltraFractal (http://www.ultrafractal.com/) -- version 2.0, to be exact -- and became instantly hooked. Wow, how time flies!

I've spent the past week and a half exploring the Mandelbrot set again hunting minbrots, and some of the results of that exploration are interspersed throughout what follows.

I became enamoured of fractals back in, I believe, the mid-80s after watching a TV program discussing the discovery of fractal math, probably on PBS (I don't think the program was The Colors of Infinity, which strikes me as being more recent, as well as featuring fractal imagery that seems more sophisticated than what I recall seeing), but not being in possession of any kind of computer or knowledge of advanced mathematics I didn't expect to ever be able to pursue my interest and more or less filed it away in the back of my mind as "maybe someday".

Fast forward to 1999 and the purchase of my first home computer in July followed by an Internet connection a month later. I wandered all over the Web, marvelling at the vast-and-brand-new-to-me world that existed more or less side by side with the "real" one.

I visited all kinds of sites, and ended up visiting the forum of a magazine site where I saw a discussion thread inviting the participants to tell what kinds of things they wanted to see more of on the Web. Someone posted that they wanted to see more coffee and soda machines and, being the curious monkey I am and wondering what on Earth they could be talking about, I followed a link that led to a site where a coffee room in some office somewhere was being live-streamed to the Web.

After a few head-scratching moments (why would anyone want to watch a coffee room, I wondered), I noticed a link on the same page to an online explorer of the Mandelbrot set. It's still online; here's a link in case anyone reading is interested: www.softlab.ntua.gr/miscellaneous/mandel/mandel.html. That page had a link to Spanky's site -- it's still online too, but hasn't been updated in a long, long time: spanky.triumf.ca/ -- and the realization that not only was it possible to generate fractals at home, there were people out there making art with them!

This led to quite a few hours looking at various online fractal galleries, including Linda Allison's (https://www.fractalus.com/gumbycat/) beautiful FractInt work, followed by what turned out to be a fruitless attempt to run FractInt on my computer.

Frustrated but not ready to give up now that my fractal appetite had been stoked, I surfed around some more and at some point stumbled across Janet Parke's amazing UltraFractal galleries (http://www.parkenet.org/jp/). Well and truly enthralled, I followed a link from her Resources page to the UF website, downloaded UF and started exploring, and joined the UF mailing list a week later.

Over the past decade I've seen lots of amazing fractal art, produced in many styles and sensibilities by many different people from all over the world and don't expect that to change any time soon, not least because of the intrinsic beauty of the Mandelbrot and Julia sets which have served as the jumping-off point for so much exploration by so many.

Add to this the variety of fractal-generating software available for home users, the generosity of the UltraFractal formula authors' community, the creativity and curiosity of the many users of fractal software, and the many people ambling around the Web whose interest is just waiting to be snagged by something they've never encountered before, and it seems to me the future of fractal art remains particularly bright.

... more later.

Feb 23, 2009

Perhaps it's time to start making use of this space again ...

Once it became clear that "Nice UF Fridays" wasn't going to be re-started, my primary reason for having this blog evaporated.

Add to this that the past year and a bit has seen a number of rather dramatic changes in my life, some of which have left me with far less free time than I've had for the better part of 20 years and all of which served to sap my creative energy, I simply let this blog languish.

I've made a couple of tentative steps back into one of the online art communities to which I belong, but since I'm no longer certain how or whether I want to participate there, I'm going to use this space as a gallery of sorts in the hopes that doing so might bring back my muse.

We'll see ...

Jun 13, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - May 14, 2007

Unfortunately, Michèle has found that increasing obligations in her life have necessitated ending this challenge; hopefully circumstances will permit her to revive it at some future date. Thanks very much for the themes, Michèle; they were a great prod!

May 21, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - May 11, 2007

Michèle's theme for this week is the musical instrument, the "organ".

This one has me stumped, so I'm going to have to put this one aside for a while until an idea for something that fits strikes me.

Nice UF Fridays - April 27, 2007

Michèle's theme for this week is "birthday". She's also switching from weekly to every second week due to time constraints, so I may actually catch up!

Nice UF Fridays - April 20, 2007

Michèle's theme this week is "triptych"; here's my effort, weeks late. As always, a larger version can be viewed by clicking on the image.

... and, because I often have trouble making just one version of an image and then settling on just one of the however many I end up with, here's a coloured version of the above image:

Apr 27, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - April 13, 2007

Michèle's theme this week is "thirteen", with the additional proviso that the image contain some black. This one took me a while; I'm not superstitious, but wanted to make something that perhaps felt a little spooky. To reflect "thirteen", I used Damien Jones' excellent "deluxe clipping" transformation formula to divide the image into thirteen parts; using this transformation in such a way is not an original idea of mine, rather, it's a technique I learned in Janet Parke's simply outstanding Ultra Fractal Masking course.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the image title comes from the children's book of the same name written by Maurice Sendak (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_the_Wild_Things_Are).

If you'd like to see the full-size version, just click the image.

Apr 15, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - April 6, 2007

Michèle's theme this week is "self-portrait"; here's my take on the subject. For a larger view, click the image : )

Apr 6, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - March 30, 2007

Michèle's theme for the week is fish. I'm more than a little late on this, but here it is; as usual, click on the image for a larger view:

Mar 25, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - March 23, 2007

Michèle's next theme is Egg, and the challenge is to produce images containing one or more coloured eggs; the image background is to be greyscale. Here's my entry:

Mar 24, 2007

Nice UF Fridays - March 16, 2007

Michèle issued her first challenge last Friday, asking for images that represent "spring", and include the colour yellow. This is what I came up with (clicking the images will provide a larger version of each):

First post

Whew! I figured out enough to get started; I expect to learn more of the nuts and bolts as time passes ...