Moose Art on Rescue Junction album

September 24, 2015 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin


About a year ago I got a request from the Canadian bluegrass band ‘Rescue Junction’ to paint a moose for the cover of their upcoming album. Of course I wanted to give it a try and the result, a moose portrait with hughe antlers, is now one of the most popular images in my shop.


I was thrilled when I received a copy of the album. It looks lovely and I love their music! I am proud to be part of this project.

When you visit their website, you can listen to some of their songs.

I copied this text about the band from their website, in case you would like to know more;

Rescue Junction is an award winning Canadian bluegrass band based out of Millbank, Ontario and has been travelling and singing together since 2009. Originally comprised of brother and sister, Kyle & Kaitlyn Gerber on mandolin and guitar respectively, the band has grown to include Roger Martin on banjo, Dallas Roth on upright bass and most recently Nick Huber on dobro.

Rescue Junction combines a plethora of musical tastes with their passion for bluegrass resulting in a unique, refreshing style. From gospel quartet numbers to traditional and contemporary bluegrass to original songs by Kaitlyn, audiences can expect an exhilarating time with the band. Performing mostly throughout their home province of Ontario along with some traveling to the US, Rescue Junction has been fortunate to play at many kinds of venues including churches, parks, community centres, auditoriums, and the bluegrass festival circuit.

Having received numerous nominations at the Central Canada Bluegrass Music Awards, including Album of the Year for “On Any Road,” Rescue Junction has been honoured with awards for Most Promising Group (2013) and Gospel Group (2014). While it is a privilege to represent Canadian Bluegrass and meet many new friends and bands from across the US and Canada, the goal of every Rescue Junction member is to glorify God through music and to share the love of Christ with everyone they can.


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Drawing Stitch in Disney Paris

August 27, 2015 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist by Michelle Dujardin


This summer my aunt took me and my daughter to Disneyland Paris. It ‘s sort of a tradition, because my aunt took me there when I was just a few years older than my daughter is now.

We took the Thalys (train) from Rotterdam to Paris and stayed a few hours in the city centre. The last time I visited Paris I went there to draw for the Dutch book I wrote about Zen drawing. This time, with my daughter beside me, I didn’t have much time for drawing. Except for some moments when visiting Parc Luxembourg, one of my most favorite spots in Paris.

foto 1-3

foto 2-2 Palmtree and a small ship

I had never thought there would be any possibility for me to draw when visiting Euro Disney. But to my surprise there was a drawing class in the Walt Disney Studios Parc. Demonstrated on a big screen, pupils where asked to draw the face of monster Stitch step by step, showing how easy drawing really is.


disney tekenen klein

My daughter, drawing

lemoni stitch

This is my daughters drawing (age 7)


My result (age 36)

Because of a lack of time we had to skip the last part of the lesson, which gave me the opportunity to see what some other pupils (mainly adults) had been drawing. To my surprise some of them still had serious problems with following the instructions and drawing circles. Probably feeling insecure and little practice are the major causes that they hardly draw anymore.

My daughter complained that my drawings are always prettier than hers. I explained that I had been practicing about 20 years longer than she did which made her proud of herself again. If all children would be stimulated a bit more to practice throughout their lives, I am sure any drawing problem could be solved in a few years. And what would the world look like if we would all be able to make magical drawings and movies like Walt Disney did? If anyone showed the importance of drawing, fantasy and creating it was him! For that reason, Walt Disney is one of my heroes.

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Frederick Franck’s Eye in Love

January 25, 2015 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist by Michelle Dujardin

seeing Venice Frederick Franck

With Valentine’s day around the corner seems to be the perfect moment to fall in love again. Like Frederick Franck fell in love with everything he saw, I just fell in love with a book of him called ‘Seeing Venice – An Eye in Love’. This beautifully illustrated book shows Venice in a way I didn’t see it myself, in many ways. Take a good look at the cover and perhaps you will see what I didn’t sadly enough..

Could there be a more romantic place to go to than Venice? I visited Venice once and I can’t say that I found it really that romantic.  I was 19 and it was in the middle of summer. I remember mainly tourists, tourists and tourists. But I also remember that special atmosphere of the water around Venice. It was this specific smell and light that I will never forget. So did I fall in love with Venice? A bit, but I never sketched there when I had the time. Seeing Franck’s book, I do regret that.

Maybe I should visit Venice another time when its off season. Franck writes that a special atmosphere can be found when the great amounts of tourists have left again. I can imagine that. Will Valentine’s day be off season? I am not sure and can imagine dozens of couples coming to Venice on February 14th. But is that a problem? I don’t think so, because this is actually my most favorite drawing in the book. I love the expression on the face of that lady:


And as he expressed so beautifully, love is ageless

franck venice


Inspired by all these couples in love and those beautiful spots in Venice, I keep on dreaming of traveling to romantic places like Venice and meanwhile I enjoy painting all kinds of quite animal couples in ‘love’.

zwanen konijnen 2 parkieten


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Drawing Vermeer

January 7, 2015 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, pencil drawing, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin


In December I visited the ‘Mauritshuis’ – Museum with old Dutch masters and took my sketchbook with me. I came across one of the most famous paintings ever: “Girl with a Pearl Earring. Now the latest news is: she isn’t wearing a pearl, they weren’t available those days. My conclusion after a concentrated look: it could also be a peace of metal, perhaps silver as well. Of course I couldn’t resist to make my own version!


michelle dujardin vermeer meisje

The result:

vermeer meisje girl pearl zen drawing

I am lucky to live only 30 minutes from this Museum full of historic art treasuries. There is a lot to learn from these old masters. It was a great relief to find they to struggled with proportions now and then. I sure hope this artist could laugh a bit about the result.  It would make him a real (Zen) master. Just cover the bottom half of the face of this child with your finger and she gets younger instantly.

schilderij kind

Another beauty and famous too: Fabritius goldfinch. Goldfinches have a nickname in the Netherlands; Puttertjes. Referring to the days people kept them for fun and let them get water in tiny buckets. You can see the chain on the birds paw. I felt a bit sad for this beautiful small bird.

puttertje fabritiusMy quick sketch:

Carel fabritius puttertje

Once you have seen something properly you will notice it everywhere:

puttertje donna tart

I always wanted to paint a Goldfinch and the Museum visit encouraged me to draw one. Unfortunately no real life model for me, I had to search the internet for images.

puttertje aqaurel

Last but not least I drew a very quick sketch of one of Karel Dujardin’s paintings. I don’t know if he is my ancestor. I love to believe it, but apparently  he died childless by drowning in Venice! Speaking of Venice… my next topic will continue on this subject.

For now, best wishes for 2015. Wish you lots of beautiful and exiting drawing moments!


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Mirko Hanak’s animals

February 5, 2014 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

Mirko Hanak Animals we love 2


Just a while ago I received a Facebook message with some beautiful illustrations. I was asked if I knew the artist, because of the resemblance with my work. I had never heard of the Czech artist Mirko Hanak before. After a bit of research on the Internet I found that sadly he passed away at a young age in the early ’70′s. Hanak was inspired by Chinese and Japanese painting techniques and like me, he used watercolor and ink together. But the thing we have in common the most, is our love for animals. I found many LOVELY images of his work on the Internet and I regard the comparison as a great compliment!

On the Internet I also found two books with illustrations of Hanak. It’s a series called ‘Animals we Love’, published in 1972, just after he died. Only two (brand new) pieces were available on I just had to buy them…

The good news was that some of my family-members had planned a visit to the USA and were willing to take the books with them when they returned. That’s how I got the books to the Netherlands and it had cost me almost nothing. Hurray!
Two weeks ago I finally got the books. They are beautiful! Despite some yellow edges on some of the pages it is hard to see that these books have been waiting for me for more than 40 years. Amazing isn’t it? Two elegant books, quite thin but filled with beautiful illustrations by Hanak. Some of my favorites can be found below, and I compared them to my own work just for fun. Hope you love it as much as I do.



Mirko Hanak Animals we love eekhoorn tekening


img418 eend klein


img417 img419

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Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy

May 30, 2013 in Blog bericht, Book posts, Inspiring artist by admin

tekenboeken blake dujardin

It was because of the resemblance with my own zen drawingbook  (white, square and one color accent), that I took Quentin Blake & John Cassidy’s ‘Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered (published by Klutz) from a bookshelf in a nearby store. I have been a fan of Quentin Blake’s work since the first time I saw it. No matter how scary, horrifying or awful the story was (mostly written by Roald Dahl): his illustrations always made me laugh. Learning how to draw by using a book from the master himself must be great fun!

I know now, that the book is great fun indeed. Reading it, I discovered that there are more similarities with my book than I thought. In essence it’s all the same, but the manner in which you draw is different. In this book you use your own imagination and capability to become what you want to draw. There are no rules, just as long as you have fun and catch ‘the essence’ of what you are drawing. The book is based on Gung-Ho, meaning something like enthusiasm and dedication.

The importance of seeing (the main subject of my book) is not mentioned a lot in this book, but finding a way to ‘catch’ the subjects essence is. Drawing spontaneously, letting go of criticism and using coincidence are all other similarities between this approach and zen drawing. Not such a surprise, since the basic assumptions all come from the eastern world. Quentins approach also matches with Sumi-e, but the results are very different: the humorous and absurd  exercises result in funny, sometimes hilarious Quentin-Blake-cartoon-style drawings.

Today I opened the book at a random page and followed the instruction (I have a Dutch book, so here’s my translation back in English): Draw brooms, mops, swabs etc 1) in an enourmous bucket 2) as condemned specimen:





The next exercise was: “draw pencils and pens in a glass, without looking at the subject (exactly the opposite of zen/seeing drawing) and ‘draw a robust plant’:


Finally I drew my own idea: A quick tempered, hairy monster:

harig monster quentin blake

Quite difficult, but fun to do! It resulted in some kind of caveman…

My conclusion: this books sits perfectly within the Zen tradition, just like mine. But I must say that seeing (visual awareness) remains the most important element in the ability to draw and it is not really explained how to do that.

For children and adults, this is a very nice book to learn how to draw. Google the title for images and you will find a lot of funny creations made by others!

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Simenon’s Paris

March 25, 2013 in Book posts, Geen categorie, Inspiring artist by admin

Het parijs van Simenon

In the beginning of this year I was surprised to receive the book  ‘Simenon’s Paris’ through my letterbox. A very special book by Frederick Franck and the famous writer George Simenon, dating from 1969. It’s a big, slightly yellowed book with a drawing made by Franck on the cover. I had never heard of the book until a few days earlier. Francine Verbeek had asked me if I was interested in the book because she bought it twice by accident. Before I knew, she had already send me the book. I know Francine due to Etsy. She has a webshop with beautiful watercolor paintings of animals and had been inspired by the work of Franck and Edwards as well.  Even though she had asked me, the book came as a surprise.

At first the book brought back lots of memories. The name ‘Simenon’ reminded me of high school, when I had French lessons together with four friends. We sat in the back of the classroom close to each other. We really wanted to learn French. One of them lives in France permanent, one stays there a lot with family and one lived and worked in Paris when I wrote my book about Zen drawing. That friend was the reason that I went to Paris to draw. Our French teacher on contrary, was famous for his uninspiring lessons and regularly fell asleep. While he slept we fantasized about the future and hung out the window that gave us very nice view on Delft from the fourth floor. We called it ‘the window of freedom’ since it gave us light and fresh air. We had French lessons late in the afternoon, and saw other children cycle home through that window.  I don’t remember why, but we did have lots of fun about the book ‘La pipe de Maigret’, a book we were obliged to read. Seeing the name ‘Simenon’ immediately reminded me of that window and my sleeping teacher.

When I explored the book, I immediately noticed the beautiful drawings of Paris by Franck. Some of them even have colored accents. So pretty and such a coincidence that I went to Paris as well to draw! It even had drawings of the Place des Vosges. (I wrote about my drawing experience there in my book). It even became more accidental, when I spoke to my dear friend Willem Radder, who had introduced me to Franck’s work and had helped me writing my zen drawing book. He appeared to have read all Simenon’s books when he was young! He immediately understood why Franck should have been a great admirer of Simenon’s work: Simenon was a genius-observer that never had any judgements about the characters in his books.

The book ‘Simenon’s Paris’ has been initiated by Frederick Franck. He didn’t see Simenon’s books as detectives or novels, but as ‘love letters from Europe’. He read his books when he was homesick and his craving for Europe became unbearable. The idea of making his book started by coincidence too, when he was drawing in Paris and a passerby exclaimed: “But sir, that’s purely Simenon what you are drawing!’.

In the book, Franck brings passages from Simenon’s books together with his drawings of Paris.  He sees it as a homage ‘to the magician that brought European shapes alive, when he was so much in need for it’. The drawings aren’t illustrations, but serve as a bouquet of flowers for Simenon. The foreword has been written by Franck while he sat in Simenon’s study, in the company of his (at that point 65 year old) hero. There seem to be lots of parallels between their lives. Both were born in the same area and were in love with Paris. This is also why the book feels like a personal and intimate document full with beautiful drawings of which I will show some.


franck kleuren simenonfrederick franck dame frederick franck illustratie frederick Franck Simenon 1

It should be noted that Frederick Franck’s wife (later widow) Claske Franck-Berndes, translated Simenon’s quotes from French. Two weeks ago I heard that Claske died on the 7th of March at the age of 94.  Her memorial and photograph can be found here.

It was a coincidence that inspired Franck to write the book about Simenon and it was a coincidence that made me write my book about Franck’s work. Coincidence brought me to Paris and now it brought paris back to my home. I have the book in Dutch, but I just saw identical secondhand English versions on the internet. If you are a fan of Francks drawings (0r Simenon or Paris), you should definately try to find a copy.



frederick franck lantaarns









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Father and…

February 19, 2013 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, pencil drawing by admin

Father and

Last weekend, I drew at Scheveningen beach. There was no wind, and the sea was calm. While drawing, a father and son appeared. I only drew the son.


scheveningen 2 kleiin


Than my uncle told me, the drawing reminded him of the film ‘Father and daughter’ by Michael Dudok de Wit. I had never really seen the film until now.

Here it is, very pretty:

I now see the coincidence with not drawing the father in Scheveningen…

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Trevor Ledford about drawing meditation

December 5, 2012 in Blog bericht, Buddhism, Inspiring artist by admin



Last week I found the blog and drawings of Trevor Ledford on the Internet. Trevor wrote me about himself and his drawings. I’m happy to share his story and experiences here with you.

“Several years ago, while I was still in art school, I was taking lots of drawing classes. Over time I noticed that a very unintentional phenomenon was happening inside of me as I drew in these classes. As I became focused on the model or the subject we were drawing on any given day, and settled into a drawing session, my mind and heart were cleared of all stress. I felt deep connections with whatever I was drawing. The classes became silent after the first few minutes as people started to draw. After classes were over each day I noticed I always felt refreshed and had a great sense of clarity.

I began looking into the effects of drawing and the mind. Around this time was when I found Frederick Frank’s book, “The Zen of Seeing”. It opened my eyes to a brand new way to use my drawing experiences. I began focusing on the process more. As a result, my finished drawings actually improved without any other additional effort. I also began reading about other process-oriented artists. Chogyam Trungpa also really resonated with me.”

Trevor uses several ways of drawing for his meditations, like realistic drawing and Mandala drawing.

trevor ledford mandala-2

He tells about his realistic drawings:

“When you look at the drawings they just look like really well-rendered drawings with close attention to details. In other words, you would never know they were meditations just by looking at the finished drawings. It’s the whole seeing/drawing thing that Frederick Frank talks about in his books. There really is no distinction. I think anyone who draws with quiet focus for extended amounts of time falls into a meditative state whether they intend to or not. As for knowing others that intentionally use the techniques, I do know a few individuals that do this, but not many. Most artists I know use their art primarily for other purposes. I am also a Buddhist, therefore, I think I make the connection quite naturally as a result of my more traditional meditations.

Zen drawing/seeing is something everyone can benefit from whether they are trained artists or not. The beauty of it is that you don’t need a lot of equipment (just pen and paper, or even dirt and a stick). You don’t need specialized training. Once you know the basic process, it’s very easy to just begin and reap the benefits.”

Trevor lives in Chattanooga, U.S.

He has a blog about meditative drawing:

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The Zen drawing story of Holger Wendt

October 30, 2012 in Blog bericht, Buddhism, Inspiring artist by admin



Holger was already into meditative drawing when he was a teenager in the 70’s. It was in 1983 when he read the book “The zen of seeing, seeing/drawing as meditation” by Frederick Franck that he realized he was already ‘Zen drawing’. The work of Franck opened Holger’s eyes to a different purpose of seeing and drawing and it gave him more freedom to practice drawing. Frederick Franck is still his most important influence when it comes to drawing.



In the winter of 1988, Holger Wendt was in New York for business and he brought his Frederick Franck’s book with him. It was pure coincidence that Holger’s eye fell on a address mentioned in the book. Warwick NY it said. Before he knew it, he was looking up the telephone number and dialled the number. It was Franck himself who answered the phone and he was so delighted to speak with Holger, that they arranged to meet.


Holger met Frederick Franck three times after that and he joined one of his workshops at ‘Pacem in Terris’. Here he drew these portraits of Frederick Franck, ain’t they beautiful!

Besides Zen drawing, Holger practiced zazen (sitting meditation) a short period in his life. He also practiced Taiji, Aikido and Qigong as a form of physical meditation.

Holger works as a Traditional Chinese Medicine-acupuncture practitioner. In the past years he also taught many people his ‘zen drawing’ method. He says about his teaching:


“To teach zen drawing requires a feminine side of me, a sensitivity and perceptiveness to what is wanted and needed for the student. I guess it’s the same kind of perceptiveness I use, when I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine with my patients. I need to see where they are stuck and provide something that can move them further on their way to wholeness and harmony.”


To Holger, Zen drawing is a way for harmonising with the universe, to fall in love with it all over again. Zen-drawing is a guide to perceive what “is”, a door to the present, to the moment of now. He explains:

After practicing Zen drawing, the eye-heart connection stays open for a while, or forever, occasionally clouded by the mind. An example of this is given by an Italian young woman who practiced zen drawing with me for a day in Sweden. The day after she returned to Italy, and she sent me a text message, saying:

”I could see with my new eyes and it was simply fantastic! I’ve been exclaiming all the time, “WOW, è bellissima!””

After this beautiful remark there’s not much left to say about Holger and Zen drawing. One thing: take a look at his Blog about zen drawing.


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Zen drawing and the work of Betty Edwards

October 5, 2012 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, Post on Psychology and science by admin

Betty Edwards
Betty Edwards taught the world how to draw. It’s good to see that her work still gets a lot of attention. If you ask me, her method should be taught to all teenage children, just like mathematics.
Likewise, it’s time to spread the word about zen drawing too! This drawingmethod enables you to draw without rational knowledge, when you are experiencing a relax state of mind. The drawing happens by itself as you use your drawing reflex. It’s great fun, increases your concentration level and your awareness.
In my Dutch zen drawing book I refer a lot to the work of Edwards. I was pleased to find this video on youtube and to see her demonstrating the practices herself. You could look at the video if you have the time, it’s very interesting. And remember that you don’t need any viewfinder with the zen drawing method. Great isn’t it?



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Drawing the work of Saul Leiter

January 31, 2012 in Blog bericht, Inspiring artist, pencil drawing by admin

Saul Leiter
At this moment (januari 2012), the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam is holding an exhibition of the artistic work of Saul Leiter. I had never heard of him before, but friends recommended me to go and have a look. So I visited the museum last saturday for the first time.
I took my drawing-book with me to Amsterdam, but I had not expected his work to be so suitable for blind contour-drawing. Especially the pictures of gentlemen in fifties outfits, wearing beautiful hats where perfect…..! Saul Leiter himself seemed to be quite ‘Zen’ to. He did not like the ego elements of the art business  and instead saw creating as a way of life.
If you know his work, maybe you will recognize some of his pictures in these drawings:




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