1. Introduction about yourself
My name is Britta Jacobs (aka mermaidine on DA) and I live in a village in the eastern part of Switzerland between the Lake of Constance to the north and the Alpstein mountains to the south. By now I am in my mid-sixties and retired, but I still love to create art in many ways, digital art, photography, ceramics and writing.
2. Your art is so breathtaking. From how long have you been creating art?
Nearly all my life long, I have started creating when I was a kid about 6 years old with drawing and writing and with working with clay. Photography was my next love and I took thousands of slides which luckily are now all digitalized. From time to time on holidays I came back to drawing but than first work and later on the care for my parents over 14 years took most of my time.
3. What software do you use?
I started my “digital life” in photography as soon as this was possible. Working with digital computer programs began in 2005, when my sister recommended Vue to me, a 3d landscaping program. This was what I always wanted, because it opened the possibility to me to create landscapes, Sci-fi renders, surreal images and fantasy images.
I quite early started to create my 3d assets myself, be it architecture, animals, plants, sci-fi assets or everyday objects and parallel learned to work with new programs, like DAZ 3d, Poser, Sculptris, Zbrush,Blender, Incendia (a program for creating 3d fractals), Plantfactory. For post working my renders or photos I still use PaintShop Pro, because at the time this was needed, I did not have the money to buy Photoshop. For special painting techniques I use also Gimp.
When about 3 years ago the first programs for creating digital art based on a game engine like Flowscape and the first AI generated art programs came out, like Artbreeder, and Deep dream generator I ventured with curiosity into this new land to explore. Wombo.art, Disco diffusion, Nightcafe were those I tried in the recent time but my absolute favorite for the time being is MidJourney, which most of my recent work is created in. I still use postwork to fine tune what the AI is creating out of mere words, or I combine two or three different AI renders into a new image, or paint it over where something is missing.
For creating my Storybud books containing my images and short stories, I write little stories to go with some of my images, which are published by book on demand. I use also word for layout and creating the needed pdf out of it for printing. By now there are 3 books published, bilingual English and German, and the 4th and 5th are in the making.
4. Show us any favorite work from your portfolio. Any reason you created them?
“Deep forest magic” was the first fantasy/magical render I did in Vue which came out absolute to my liking. It also was the first to start with my storybuds. It was the base of creating my books – something friends of mine suggested I should do.
“Vintage” was created after a photo I saw somewhere, which I really liked and I wanted to recreate it. The thick tree is modeled in Sculptris and textured in Vue. As there was no vintage bicycle as object available at that time, I started to create the bicycle by modelling it only out of basic primitives with Boolean operations in Vue, which is by far no modelling program. But it was easier for me to have only very limited possibilities for modelling and to quite a degree it still is. Friends of mine were astonished one could do something like that in Vue and told me, that to them modelling like that would be like milking mice.
The portrait of “Pan” was created combining two AI machines, Artbreeder for creating the portrait and Deep Dream Generator for creating the extraordinary texture overlay. When the portrait came to life by just playing around in Artbreeder, it looked to me already like a picture of Pan. Pan is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs in ancient Greek religion and mythology. He is a bit a wild one and at times mischievous too. And exactly that the look of this portrait seemed to express to me. Now a simple portrait would not do, there should be a connection to nature as it befits him. So I chose a style in Deep Dream Generator which would give him the wild nature appeal.
“Nightwalk in the magical forest” is one of the first art in Midjourney, where I saw a possibility to create magic and beauty as a counterpart to all the bad and nasty which is constantly brought to us all day long. It is thought to give imagination and relaxation a place again in life too and to balance out. And apparently it is seen like this by others too, which makes me happy.
“Menhir Guardian”, created in Disco Diffusion goes in the same direction of magic, this time combined with ancient history, as a visual reminder, that there is more to the world than the constant busy buzz of all day life.
“The garden of the soul” is another one of my images created in Midjourney to give a visual possibility to relax and so I subtitled it accordingly: “Sometimes you just need a little rest. I offer you to go for a walk in my garden of the soul and let yourself unwind :)”
5. Do you use any stock images or do you paint everything from scratch?
I rarely use stock images I have to pay for, only when I have a very distinct part of a picture in mind. But I use the free images from Pixabay to combine with my renders.
“Moonchild” is an example of it. A render in Vue for the landscape and the Moonchild is combined with a cloud photo from Pixabay and brought together by blending and adding other clouds in in postwork.
6. How do you get inspired to create your art? Do you take any references from other artists?
There are many things inspiring me, for photography it is the beauty in nature, the little things along my walking way, which other would not realize and which are beautiful to look at and the light playing with the landscape or plants.
For my 3d renders it is mainly just experimenting with new objects or fractals I created and texturing them and out of this a new render is born.
Or it is a scene in a film or documentation I saw, that imprints in my mind because of its beauty and comes out as a render again.
For the AI programs it is playing around like I started with Artbreeder and suddenly seeing something in a landscape or portrait which can be further developed by combining, painting over or photo bashing. And lately with the AI machines based on words like Midjourney or Discodiffusion it is more and more the spiritual and soul nourishing part, which I feel is missing especially in our days. And yes, for the styles of an AI creation I sometimes take reference to other artists, and I also recreated paintings from other artists in 3d renders.
7. Anything else you want to share with the readers?