Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Thank you Terry and Tim for putting the effort into this thing. And especially thank you for inviting me to participate. I need to come out of hibernation.

I feel a need to make my first post here profound. I have to impress all my fellow contributors and all the lurkers with with my insight and depth of thought. Well, maybe next time. I will take Terry's advice and just write. Maybe, like the infinite monkeys, if I type enough words something interesting will appear.

Here is my requisite introduction. I am 51, still married after 27 years, two children and almost 2 grandchildren (2nd is due this month). I have a degree in mathematics and have spent my career designing, building, programming computers and other things with micro processors.

I too am a fractal fraud. It has been five years since I seriously fired up the fractal generator. Back in the old days, it was easy. No one (well, not many people anyway, but allow me some hyperbole) had done it before, so everything was new and interesting. Two color fractals on a screen with resolution less than 1% of what we are used to now, and which took all day and all night to build. And we liked it.

With each new technology step in screen colors and resolution there was much more to explore. 16 colors, 256 colors, and wow 24 bit (essentially infinite) colors.

So what happened? I cannot claim fractal-block. The truth is more along the lines of laziness. Too much effort to maintain the web page. Too much effort to find something truly new. Everything I did seemed the same, and I was falling into a variation-on-a-theme rut. But on reflection, it was always took some effort and at some point I just quit making that effort. It was easy to let the web site go, and then to stop posting and eventually stop reading the newsgroups. And then, in isolation, even the art became repetitive and stopped.

Meanwhile everyone else kept finding new things to do with fractals and newer and faster hardware. And I am trying to figure out what I have done recently that gives me as much satisfaction as computer art used to. Well, it is not really that bleak, there are other interests and plenty of things to occupy my time. Still Terry made me realize how much I miss doing fractals. And, seeing the posts here and view your web pages makes it obvious how wrong headed is my "it-is-all-the-same" attitude.

Seeing several familiar names, and seeing your great new work is getting me motivated again. So, thank you all.


Blogger Tim said...

2-color fractals...

I didn't get started with fractals until 2002 and my the first program I used to any extent was Sterlingware 1.7, so I guess I must have missed a lot.

I remember back in 1994 though, using Coreldraw to make two or three line quotations with fancy typography. It was so slow I often hit the print icon and then went to bed. In the morning, my finished "masterpiece" would be waiting in the printout tray. Maybe that's what the early fractal generators were like?

Anyhow, I think we can all relate to the ebb and flow of excitement with fractals. I went through a three month period last summer when I almost thought I'd never make another fractal. I just felt I'd reached the bottom of the barrel and it was time to move on.

Every time I've come back to fractals, I've made fresh discoveries. Maybe we just need a break now and again. I think creative behaviour has a periodic quality to it.

What's a little ironic, is that lately I like using Sterlingware to make simple, flat, 3 or four color fractals. Some of the simpler images have a real style to them that is seldom seen in the truecolor, photographic images made so much today.

8/09/2006 11:35 PM

Blogger Philip Northover said...

Hey Earl, did you ever get that quirky generator of yours documented and debugged?! :-)


With me it was Micrografx Picture Publisher. Not exactly a draw program but had lots of fun filters to play around with. I think Corel, or maybe it was Adobe, eventually bought them out.

True the simpler fractals can have their charms. First fractal I ever saw was a 2 colour jobby someone put up at the back of a math classroom.

8/10/2006 8:42 AM

Blogger Earl Hinrichs said...

No, Phillip. I never got my program documented or debugged. It just did what it did and that was all I wanted. It now resides on the hard drive of a retired computer gathering dust in the corner. It was written with an ancient version of visual C++. I doubt I will ever touch it again.

But I have a faster computer, and new version of C++, and (I hope) the right attitude to do it all again.

8/10/2006 6:32 PM

Blogger cruelanimal said...

I hope you get a fractal fever and take it up again with a fury, Earl.

You consistently produced original (and amazing) work that couldn't be imitated or duplicated.

I'd love to see some new art from you.

8/11/2006 12:03 AM

Blogger peapodgrrl said...

I think you "fractal frauds" are being very hard on yourselves. :)

Relax, it will come. So what if you haven't made any fractal art for years? You will again, when you're ready.

You're here, so that is a sign your soul wants to create again. And you will.

Yes, we all need a break now and then to come back refreshed, inspired, energetic.

8/11/2006 12:59 AM


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