Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blue jay preview

Finally I have some time to draw some birds. I have gotten a lot of inspiration in the US last fall, and didn't get round to actually drawing the Blue Jay, Cardinal and Waxwing. Wonderful birds!

Now my new year's resolution is to finish the Blue jay...before the New Year....See if I can make it! Here's a preview of his head which IS finished. Now let me get back to work to finish the rest!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In the Etsy Voter

I am in the Etsy Voter!!!
Someone very nice- obviously- nominated my wren cards for the Etsy Voter.
This means:
1)a huge honor
2)attention for my birdie
3)if you vote for me possibly more attention...
So I would be really really grateful to all you sweethearts if you would vote for me!
You can vote here. Click on the circle below the item and then click on vote on the bottom of the page.
Thanks so much!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pillow cases Preview

I have finished two of my first 6 pillow cases. They are 16*16 inch. Soon I will have all of them ready for sale. The back of the pillow looks like the picture below. It is made of matching color fabric and has a blind closure with 2 buttons and buttonholes and a brand label.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My work in VTwonen!!!!

Yesterday evening I got a happy e-mail from Steven, one of the owners of the lovely and fabulous shop The Otherist in Amsterdam,(and also my stockist). A while ago he told me someone from VTwonen had picked 2 of my prints, and there was a chance they could end up in the magazine. I watched the October issue and bought the November issue and sort of gave up after that. But he told me that my Starling and my great Tit are in the December issue!! I am thrilled!!! On page 92 and 107 my two sweeties help the stylist make a lovely point. So get the magazine! Not only for my birds, but also because it is so very inspiring and will give you loads of great ideas!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Here they are!! The fabrics I have designed! They were photographed in the evening so the colors don't really look good, but I am so thrilled about this new endeavour! I just keep looking at the pile of new fabrics. I have already ironed them to test shrinkage and what the color does when it is touched by an iron. It remains lovely and colorful... I cannot wait to get sewing! Above you see the fabric that is going to get turned into a pencil skirt! Below the fabrics that I intend to make a bag from, and perhaps something else.

And then there's the fabric for the pillows! I also love the fact that it is ecofriendly and just so high in print quality!
I hope to have everything ready next weekend... I won't sleep!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A HUGE Robin in my back yard!

I dread the back yard with 'undressed' trees and lack of color. But my clever Friend Nicole thought of something. She had my Robin printed on a type of sail fabric. It measures 1 meter square/ over a square yard, and the colors pop!
It withstands the Dutch Autumn weather!
It will liven up my back yard and perhaps more people will miss the summer colors a little less if they look at this English Robin.
More info available via my e-mail address: mirthquake at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pillow fight no longer in boring white!

I hope it will take a few weeks until the next time you're having a slumber party. By that time I hope to have these birdies available. They're MirthQuake pillow cases! And just like yesterday's post, I have ordered some fabric with my friends on it. The quality of the fabric will be organic cotton sateen ( GOTS certification) and the back will be in a nice matching color. As with the skirt fabric it will be a test to see if people will like this.
I kinda do. I mean, hanging up frames is a hassle, popping old pillow inserts in these cases is a job anyone can do right?
I guess it will be a matter of weeks until these pillows will be up in my etsy shop. If you would like to be informed when exactly you can also e-mail me, and I will keep you posted! mirthquake at gmail.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Owl Skirt

I took the plunge:-) I am going to mix my illustrations with my fashion ideas. Fashion is where I am coming from and I am very excited to do this. I ordered some fabrics to make some fashion items and I will see how things will develop.
It is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and why not try it?
I have ordered black fabric, printed with my Little Owl. The pencil skirt will be the first item. I can make this in a hip width ranging from XXS to 143cm/56.5 inch.

I've got more up my sleeve which I am going to keep a secret for now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easy Framing for Messy People

I remember when my art class teacher at high school told me to redo the framing of a watercolor. I hated it, I also completely understood because I am a messy person, but I hated it. I must've complained a bit in his presence. My face probably didn't radiate happiness, anyhow he told me that we had it easy. When he was in school they had to cut the thickest of matting in a perfect angle. A cutting line that was a fraction of a cm/inch longer than calculated as the perfect line would ruin the whole work and you could start over. I didn't actually feel better about my extra work but I understood his point :-) I only had to cut out a square out of a piece of thick paper to cover the messy edges of my watercolor to make it presentable. Today thankfully for me, no teachers are checking out my work anymore. So now I have invented my own way of framing that I advise to people who don't really demand a museum standard in their home. (People who do, bless you too, because secretly I am a sucker for the thick old fashioned framing.) BUT I DIGRESS again.
A while ago some one who bought the this set of prints. Asked me how I framed them. She was a beginner at these type of things so I advised her the method too.
What you do is cut out the prints with a 2.5cm/1inch edge, or whatever you would like.
Sometimes you don't have enough white around the edges, then you cut out the print exactly along the edge of the print. A white edge is recommended so cut out a square of white paper that is 5cm/2 inches wider and longer. (With originals and limited edition artworks it can be a problem as there is a signature you don't want to cut off. Then you can keep the edge small and add a light grey matting to the project. )
After that you paste the art work on the square with some sort of glue that allows you to remove the art work if you are not happy with it. Also make sure the glue doesn't damage or distort the paper. You know the kind! Look at the project from a distance so you know when the artwork is not exactly in the middle. In doubt get a ruler, but believe me, the human eye is a good advisor!

Now we have to pick a nice color for the backing. I usually look at the art work and make sure my eyes are set to ' blurry' and see what color is most dominating. With the KingFisher for instance, you see a lot of orange that you want to pop out. Choose the color complementary to orange, which is blue, but not bright blue because it will mute the colors on the art work. I use dull greyish tones.
On this picture the arrows point at each other's complementary colors. But remember to pick out a dull color, to make it sublte.
To get a coherent feel about the several different birds I make sure I sure the matting for one of the other birds too, and use the same other color for the 2 birds that are left. These colours should match nicely, and not be very contrasting with each other. That would distract the eye from the artwork to the fabulous matting. Although I know you will be proud of the matting, the point was getting the art work up, and not just the matting right?
This is the easy part, you get the glass from your frame and place it on the color matting. Cut out the shape of the glass. Now all you have to do is paste the art work on the colored background, and frame the whole project!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Smile at the birdie, if you see it!

We were in Concord, New Hampshire, coming out of our hotel, when I was drawn to such cheerful chatter by this birdie. It wasn't a very small bird, and I don't know them from home. Who can tell me who this fellow is, that looked a bit pale, but gave color to our morning!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What else I do in my vacation:

How to love Ikea furniture..even after 15 years
From the moment I needed to buy furniture I have had this love/hate for Ikea.
The quick solutions, the low cost and of course the witty design has brightened much of our lives. I have bought lamps, rugs, bedding, boxes, closets and beds at that place, but always with a feeling that it was a short term solution and I wanted to save for something REALLY special and unique. Because with a run of 10.000's you can't really call it unique design. Years ago, my mom bought this wooden dresser in pine. Pine....the ultimate Ikea material. That is the hate part. I've seen houses filled with the Ikea pine and hated it. Well, to all the people sharing this feeling, I have spend my time off applying some paint and I have rid myself from my last pine dresser. Follow my example by getting some paint in one of these colors:
Use paint that is not harmful for the environment. That adds to the fact that we're reusing this ugly dresser by giving it a second chance!
Then buy some antique porcelain knobs somewhere or shop at Anthropologie.
I bought these knobs at a shop in Eindhoven that unfortunately I couldn't save from being closed down.
Then this is the result:While your at it, use another color on the walls!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blueberry muffins recipe- Remember Summer!

As I was talking about earlier I went blueberry picking in Achel- A lovely place!
So I had about 3 kgs of blueberries that I also put in my freezer. Yesterday I got them out to make muffins! I got a recipe from www.Allrecipes.com that I slightly altered. I used all organic ingredients.
I love the way American recipes sound so old fashioned, with the use of cups and certain terms like 'folding' the blueberries in the mixture.
But unfortunately I don't have anything to measure a 'cup' in. Thanksfully the Allrecipes website has a calculate/convert function that transforms the ingredients into amounts that I understand being Myrte de Zeeuw.

What a recipe comes down to is throwing in the ingredients and if I have any say in it, the recipes would be explained like this:

#1 preheat oven to 400F or 200C and grease muffin cups.
#2 -Mix A:
470grams of flour
375 sugar
8grams of salt
2 x16grams sachets of backing powder
#3-Mix B:
200ml vegatable oil
3 eggs
200ml milk
#4 Mix A+B together
#5 Fold in 400grams of blueberries, if they come out of the freezer you have to be extra careful, they will stay firm and fresh when they are cold. But as long soon as they melt you get a mushy mixture. So add the blueberries when they are still pretty cold.
#6 Make a mixture of 250 grams of sugar, 100grams of flour,150grams of butter and 10grams of cinnamon. Use a fork and stir the stuff until it is a dry crumbly mixture.

#7 Fill the cups with the A+B mix up to the rim, and sprinkle the cumbly mixture over it and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and stick a skewer in them to see if it comes out dry. Then they're done!

I would never be a good cook, because I am messy and chaotic. And most of my culinairy creations fall apart(as did the muffins) but the taste is good anyway, and after 2 hours of cleaning everyone's happy again :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The man behind MirthQuake

Last August I had the pleasure of writing a little story to honor the man behind Mirthquake for the European Street Team Blog. This is the article: http://europeanst.blogspot.com/2009/08/men-behind-besides-women-martjin-is.html And checking out the EST blog is more than worth it, so please do, but I have repeated here what I have to say about him:

"My boyfriend Martijn is the opposite of me and rarely understands what I am doing. When I explain my creative ideas he waits to see where the project will lead to, in his mind doubtful if it will be any good. He keeps it cool when I lose my head. But when there is a craft show or an obscure place to visit for supplies he's there by my side! He loves shopping just as much as I do.
He is the tidiest person I know, and for him it isn't easy, living in one house with a messy girlfriend. I tend to draw on my pc for hours without eating or excersizing. He deserves extra points for making sure I take better care of myself, by dragging me on my bike and race for a couple of hours, or sitting me down for lunch. Something we do have in common is our sense of humor and the joy of watching little creatures everywhere in the world. He appreciates squirrels and robins almost as much as I do. This tells me he is such a good person."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Participating Good To Know #5 by Pikaland!!

Amy from Pikaland has started another great project to help artists and illustrators with the struggles they have in everyday life. The Good to Know Project is full of advice + inspiration from artists/illustrators/designers on creativity, business and life. Every month, she asks one question and forward it to friends of Pikaland, who in turn will share their thoughts on a particular subject.
The last question was something that was really often on my mind. I often hear discussions on the topic and I have my own issues with it, so I decided to share my thoughts. The questions was this:
Do you think that artists need to have degrees or qualifications from art school in order to be one?
I myself have followed a private fashion school that is not the norm over here. I have searched for the right way for myself and came to the conclusion that perhaps I should've made different choices. Gone to art school and get a degree in the visual arts perhaps...or not, perhaps the road I took has shaped me better. A lot of artists are thinking about this issue and she's compiled them in the newest issue of Good To Know.
To get a copy visit http://pikaland.com/goodtoknow
It is the biggest issue so far and full of interesting opinions! See the preview on her website!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fine Art Prints

his weekend I got them! the samples of my new line of high end prints. They will be made in a limited run of 50 and each comes with a certificate and will be listed in the Hahnemuhle archive to make sure that the owner can check if he or she posesses a genuine print. The prints will also have a hologram seal on the back.

The prints have to give you the idea that they come out of an old ornithology book with big pages you have to lay out on the table. You know the ones that you have to move your whole arm to turn a page. They will be 48*60cm/ 16.5*23.5 inch. Here you see the owl on the actual size( without the rest of the image, as you can see it will be a bigger print in total)

With normal printing at my local print shop I can never get a nicely structured paper. Laser printing can't handle that. With this technique you have a choice of the most wonderful papers.

Here you see the structure I chose. It looks like watercolor/etching paper. Almost handmade. I intend to approach shops and galleries with this new print. I am totally in love with it and can't wait to see one in full.
Look at how well the detail is visible. There are no dots visible and the blurring of the colors and feathers that I do, comes across really well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Pendants!!!

For a while I have been looking for better pendants trays than the ones I had to fill with glaze. I have found them right now and I am in love with them. After some trial and error I have found a way to keep them as pretty as possible without too much glue.
The old ones are a little more fragile. Not a problem really in daily use, but still. The glass cover is a magnifying glass that makes the illustration pop out. I love that! I have them available with all my birds and if I haven't listed them in my shop yet, I will make them for you especially.
Een tijdje al ben ik op zoek naar nieuwe hangertjes dan de hangertjes die ik met glazuur moet vullen, die ik al had. Gelukkig heb ik ze nu gevonden en ik ben er helemaal weg van. Na wat gehannes en geprobeer heb ik een methode gevonden om ze zo mooi als het kan te houden, zonder al te veel lijm. De oude hangertjes zijn iets teerder. Geen probleem op zich, maar toch wilde ik iets stevigers.
De glazen cover is een vergrootglas dat ervoor zorgt dat de illustratie naar je toe komt. Geweldig vind ik dat. Ik ga ze maken met al mijn vogels en als je favoriet nog niet in mijn etsy shop staat, dan wil ik 'm speciaal op bestelling voor je maken.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My own font

Using already existing fonts never made me completely satisfied. Not because I didn't like it, but because it wasn't my design. It was always bugging me that I didn't make it by myself. But I am not a font designer, I have ideas on the subject and I know what I am looking for, but I can't write the program, the file. I have no idea how it works in a computer. I never learned to program a .ttf file. I am a bird nerd, not a computer nerd.

Thankfully there are other clever people who came up with this website and after paying a few dollars you get your .ttf file from your font design. So you design each letter, and they put it in computer language.

So today, after some days designing each letter, I made my own font that will be used for the name of the bird on my ornithology plate series. I feel better about this. It makes it more special. because of this I will only use it for my special high end giclee prints.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birds in fashion!

As some of you might know I am actually a fashion designer. I was trained a fashion designer and I still work as an independant and freelance designer. Strange perhaps, to label yourself as something these days because people switch between professions and change their destiny all the time. A good thing too. I once read that Barbara Hulanicki, the founder of fashion label Biba, said that once you could design one thing, you can design anything. It gives me hope I wil be asked to design a car by Mercedes or something one day. One with a big chicken on it :)

But I digress. I would like to unite my fashion design and my bird illustrations in one collection of styles or fabrics. I love fashion and hate fashion, the clothes are great but the scene can be cruel and earth swallowing. However, everythime I step away from it, it calls me again. I have been playing around with the throught that feathers would make a great attire for us human beings. Real feathers are usually not obtained in an animal friendly way, and I want to use my style of feathers. I have designed some Tees with my birds and fabrics that have the feathers of my birds on them, and some dresses made with printed fabrics and feature my birds larger than life. I'd love to know what people think of it!

MirthQuake Newsletter August 09

After a short stay in the French Alps and assisting my boyfriend cycle the Marmotte I kinda feel like summer is over. You can feel autumn approaching already. Once you get over the fact that spring is a long time ago and get adjusted to the idea of having cosy dinners by the fireplace and not to forget a new autumn warderobe, it isn't so bad.

- Fabrics and fashion
I was trained a fashion designer and I still work as an independant and freelance designer. I love fashion and hate fashion, the clothes are great but the scene can be cruel and earth swallowing. However, everythime I step away from it, it calls me again. I have been playing around with the throught that feathers would make a great attire for us human beings. Real feathers are usually not obtained in an animal friendly way, and I want to use my style of feathers. I have designed some fabrics that have the feathers of my birds on them, and some dresses made with printed fabrics and feature my birds larger than life. You can see them on my blog. If anyone is interested I intend to make them.

- The Little Owl
My newest work the Little Owl is being printed as we speak. It is a baby little owl actually. He still has down on his head. but his wings look more and more like the wings of an adult. Little Owls are moody looking little beauties. I think owls are the strangest birds. They look and behave a bit like cats the yellow eyes, the hunt for mice- except the flying part ; ). This one has a lot to learn to become like the wise owl that once assisted the goddess Athene.
- My first stockist; Amsterdam.
In the heart of Amsterdam there is a lovely shop that used to be called Egg Mercantile, but that has changed its name in The Otherist. It is in the heart of Amsterdam, on the Leliegracht.

- Blog update
If you are close to the Belgian-Dutch border around Achel and still have time before autumn is here I would love to recommend a visit to a place where you can pick blueberries by yourself and be surrounded by the beautiful land of 'The Bever'. The place truely is beautiful and if you are close to Achel you should go there a.s.a.p. it is a peaceful place in the middle of a national park. There are no pesticides used and the place is crammed with birds and insects enjoying the silence. If you pick the berries yourself you also save a lot of money, they practically cost nothing.

-I am currently working on...
..Getting ready for the Carftparking Fair in Maastricht! You're welcome to come and meet me and my birds there!

Stay updated on Giveaways, new birds and their stories on http://moremirthquake.blogspot.com/. Sign up to follow the updates or follow me on http://Twitter.com/moremirthquake I have a facebook fanpage that I would like to invite everyone to. Become a fan by clicking on this link. You can post reviews, suggest birds I should work on, see how I work, etc. You're most welcome to join! I will also keep you updated with my normal Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/myrtedezeeuw

Myrte de Zeeuw

If you want to be on the mailing list let me know: mirthquake [at] gmail.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The French Alps!

What a great week it was in the French Alps. We hiked and watched some birds. I am freshly inspired not only by the birds but also Martijn's accomplishment of cycling the Marmotte. According to wikipedia one of the toughest one day cyclosportive events. 174km of cycling, 5180 meters of climbing.
Alpine Chough. He looks so tough but makes the sweetest chirring sounds.

Up on 2200 meters we saw crossbills and several finches.
On the roughest rocks you find the most delicate flowers.
2000 Sheep make sure the field stays suitable for skiing.

Icecold water in a lake up the mountain. A great escape when in the valley it is hot.

Lovely flowers and little paths to walk through the mountains!
After reaching the Col du Glandon, the Col Du Télégraphe, there was the Col du Galibier, and after that the Alpe D'Huez. Martijn did all of them in one day and completed La Marmotte in a very respectable time!
Of course not without my help. I waited for him on top of the mountains to fill up water and food. Just like in the Tour de France :).
Tough man!! As a trophee I bought a mug with a marmot on it!
Worth the effort huh?!


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