Sunday, September 26, 2010

First of 50- the Three Crested Tits

I am having so much fun with my printer it is totally ruining my plan to finish my Canadian birds! I have printed out a work I have not placed in my etsy shop yet, but already published on Flickr and Facebook. Now I have finally printed the first issue of the limited edition of 50 of my Three Crested Tits. They're a family of course. This is their story:

Here they are, three members of the pack of crested tits we saw hunting through the woods. When you hear them making 'krr krr krr' sounds, and then find them way up in a conifer tree, what strikes you first is their fairytale like little heads. They have pretty bright brown eyes, and that combined with their mohawk style haircut is a cute and fascinating sight. They move quickly and carefully follow you around pretending to mind their own business. Pretty quickly they will lose interest in you and focus on each other and their food again. It makes you want to join the pack.

See the listing here.

I am so crazy about the hahnemühle paper I have found. It is made of a by-product from the sugar industry and in the process they use renewable energy and environmentally friendly resources. It is 300grams- very nice and heavy weight- has a lovely structure that absorbs the colours in such a fabulous way. I am printing all day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Tote Bags

This weekend I finally had some time to focus on adding new things to my etsy shop. Boyfriend was playing in the South of the Netherlands with his bike and some friends so I had 3 days to do as I pleased.(And eat what I wanted not to forget!) It resulted in listing 3 new bags and sorting out a lot of small flaws in my listings. I found new energy in cleaning up. It is I thing I am becoming aware of: a cleaned up place is pretty okay. Don't tell my mom. ("I told you so!") I guess it comes with age.
I actually want one for myself, but I have a deal with myself that I can only keep misprints or damaged goods. But I don't have any damaged bags yet. I keep them safely in a box so nothing can happen to them. So I guess I am going to send all these bags out to new hip owners.

Take a closer look here:
Eurasian Jay Tote bag (not pictured here)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inspiring people Jane and Daniela

Last friday I had a fabulous Aussie in my studio: Jane Hardjono from The Dossier. The Dossier is a blog that focuses on anything creative happening in Eindhoven. I think the only blog in English that will get you to the design heart of Eindhoven. We had a great conversation about all kinds of things. From high heels to true Dutch cliches. But we also talked about the phenomenon artist, and how I feel about that term. Jane writes inspiring articles about artists and designers so she asked me some in-depth things that I hadn't given any thought yet. (later more on Jane and The Dossier)

Sometimes artists do what they like and not necessarily what the audience viewing the so called art like. It got me thinking; I think I need to make things that people like, or at least it would be hard for me to continue doing what I do if no one would respond to it in some way to it. Just when I started to figure that out I got a message from Daniela, and ornithologist from France. She told me she reads this blog regularly and ordered a cross stitch pattern of the King Fisher. She looked forward to creating things herself in her craftroom. All lovely things. She ended her lovely message with:"I hope you'll keep designing for many years to come!"
I tell you this is the type of response that I am making my work for. Perhaps it is like this: If you do what you love, there will be people who love what you do!

Thanks so much Jane and Daniela, for inspiring me!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hummingbird work in progress

Before I start to work on any bird I have in my mind a rough sketch. With the colored background birds I need to investagate how the bird looks the best in my opinion. For instance with the Blue Jay I wanted to show its lovely back with stripes like a decorated Lord or something. The feathers of his head had to be straight up to show you how majestic and statuesque he is. It matches the story I wrote about him. There is not a lot of composition going on, artistically speaking. The most comes forth out of the lighting. The dark pole on which he is sitting, versus the bright blue feathers and the orange background. It is orange for a reason: it is the complimentary color of blue. So he stands out even more.
But for the hummingbird it would seem dull and not very true to life to fill my digital canvas with just one bird! I want to express that this is really a small birdie and just showing one would not make that point. And then there's the fact that the hummingbirds are very interesting to observe when there's more than one. They interact so swiftly eventhough they're loners. So now I thought of a few styles or positions I would like to draw them in. Hovering over flowers, drawing nectar from the flowers, just sitting there like a moody little bird( I LOVE their moody, irritated look) And then there's the cute thimble-like nests they stuff their two kids in, which I am crazy about. That makes 4-5 birds. It also means I have to practise. Because like with the crested tits , they have to look alike, simply because they are the same kind, but yet look like they are different persons. I use so many colors in one bird, and I never know exactly how many. For multiple birds have to remember the colors a lot better so they don't look too different and still change a bit to make it interesting.
But another thing is composition. I have to know in advance where the birds will be and where the light comes from. Below is a rough sketch of how I hope my birds will fit together nicely, and still not get into a fight. I want to add another moody one in the lower section of the work, to make the composition a little more dynamic and versatile. Of course it doesn't look like much, but it is just a map of who will be next to draw. Now I will have to get to work and determine the colors!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stranger by the road: Northern Flicker

On Vancouver Island there was a bird sitting by the old highway through Qualicum Beach that I could not identify. We drove at normal speed towards Campbell River and I saw it very quickly. I always have a notebook with me to remember places, songs on the radio and of course birds. So I sketched a bit while driving, so excuse the result. The bill was Jay-like, the head brown and there was a distinct black crescent spot on his chest. Pretty easy to find I thought. I had just downloaded an app on my iPhone to be able to identify new birds quickly. But as with a lot of apps that should recognise things one way or the other: it did not work.

My iPhone app kept telling me it was a Cowbird. "Perhaps some local mutant," I wondered. It didn't look like one. Later we really saw a Cowbird and I missed the white spots I saw on the stranger by the road.
Martijn didn't agree with the label Cowbird with this new bird either. :"It is just a crow."
"But it flew in a sine wave kind of way."
"What? " Another discussion! ( If anyone knows how cowbrids fly: let me know!)
Today I stumbled upon a picture of a Nothern Flicker and Eureka! This was the stranger by the road!
photo from:

What a beautiful bird! What great and trendy colours. I would like a blouse with a print of his chest, with black peter pan collar of course and a skirt in the hues of his tail.
This discovery saves me the frustration of another personal Vancouver Island frustration. Three years ago I thought I saw a big dark cat-thing or cougar, but I saw it from the car, and it was not safe to stop (we're not the wild life-jam creators) so I will never know(yeah yeah, chances are slim, but tell me what it was then!). I am very glad that this doesn't turn into another myth, having to convince people that I saw this bird("Sure, probably a crow"). Although I understand it is easier to believe than the cougar story.


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