Even after tragedy struck her not once but twice, Ute Reichling-Wack greets the world with a big smile.
"Even after the loss of two of my three children, I'll always keep my humor... I am a Sagittarius, I never give up!" Reichling-Wack said in an interview with Renderosity Magazine.
After her 23-year-old daughter, Diana, was killed in a traffic accident in 1995, Reichling-Wack moved to Spain from her childhood home of Luxembourg with her husband Rene and started looking for a new hobby to occupy her time.
She found digital art. Since finding Renderosity, she has contributed an astonishing 4,236 digital artworks to her gallery.
In 2005, she found the Renderosity community and redoubled her efforts in 2006 following the death of her son Steve. He was a train conductor and died in a train accident on Oct. 11, 2006, in northern France near the Luxembourg border. Called the 2006 Zoufftgen train collision, the wreck occurred when two trains collided head-on. Six people were killed, including the two train conductors.
"Always with a smile even when the soul is crying from time to time," she said.
After 17 years in Spain, Reichling-Wack and her husband moved back to Luxembourg to be closer to their surviving daughter Severine and her family.
Even in the hard times, she finds solace in her art and dedicates everything she creates to their memories.
Reichling-Wack said what she creates often depends on her mood, but she always creates with a smile using DAZ Studio along with a variety of photo manipulation software for post-work.
That's why she chose UteBigSmile as her Rendo name.
Recently she has expanded by creating videos along with her passion for the moment, wallpapers and blendings.
But really she creates many different types of art from toons and manga to science fiction and fantasy. She's even tried her hand at fractals.
"I am not limited in my mind," she said. "I have a very open mind and I let the inspirations come in and flow around."
Reichling-Wack works primarily with DazStudio and in mixed media. She uses her talent and imagination to create evocative imagery that is often infused with themes of fantasy, science fiction, folklore and domestic scenes from history.
She also draws upon current events and even other artists for inspiration, often dedicating her work to other community members.
No matter what she creates she does it with an eye to detail. For example, her characters often have very intense expressions.
"I work very carefully on expressions and details," she said. "I don't want my characters to look like puppets. I want to breathe life into them with expressions and interaction."
She said she achieves the detail by talking to the characters as she creates them.
"I also pay very much attention to all details like lips, eyes, makeup and outfits. They all have to go together, otherwise, I am not satisfied."
Reichling-Wack is grateful to the community, and not just for the awards.
"I can go as far as to say that the art and the community here at Renderosity saved my life," she said, describing the community as "a big, virtual family."
"The community inspires me and keeps me going," she said. "The contact and interaction with my fellow artist-friends always stimulates me and pushes me further and further."
The one thing, other than the Rendo community, that keeps her going is her smile.
She said her personal motto is "Humor is if you can still laugh at yourself in any situation."
It doesn't always work, but she keeps it at the front of her mind with her Rendo name.
"But because I always kept my smile, I use the artist name UteBigSmile," she said.
To learn more about Ute Reichling-Wack, visit her website.
Michelle Willard, Editor of Renderosity Magazine | Former newspaper reporter. Recovering archaeologist. Political nerd. True crime junkie. Read her articles here.