Spring: a lovely drawing season

April 10, 2016 in Blog bericht, pencil drawing, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

foto viooltjes

Here in the Netherlands spring is finally starting to break through. Today I have been drawing in the garden in the warm sun for the first time. True moments of bliss for me.

It will not be surprising that flowers inspire me most at the moment. Every year in April I post something about spring, drawing flowers and feeling lots of positive energy. So perhaps instead of repeating the same word, I’d better show new images of some drawing moments.

In case you would like to draw just like me and you would like to learn about the technique, reading one of my eBooks can be interesting. I offer previews of the books (PDF’s and ePubs) here and here.

From today I will start an ‘of the record’ drawing challenge on Facebook too. Feel free to join the community and draw daily with me. You can find the group here.

potlood viooltjes violtje viooltjesorchidee

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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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Keukenhof inspiration

May 6, 2015 in Blog bericht, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

boeket opdracht klein

Early April I got a custom request from a bride to paint her beautiful wedding bouquet. I had never painted a bouquet before, but I loved the challenge to paint one. The result can be found above. While painting her bouquet, I realized that painting flowers made me feel happy. So I decided to also paint a bouquet for myself, one that I could look at home.

During that same period spring finally broke through here in the Netherlands. I now live in the house of my grandmother since she had become to old to walk up the stairs and  live on her own. But on warm sunny days she loved to come over and visit her old place and sit in the garden underneath her beloved Japanese Cherry tree.

 In the week I was painting the wedding bouquet, I also started cleaning the garden in preparation for visits of my grandmother. This year her favorite tree flowered a lot later than the year before.  Because of her great love of flowers she also had plans to visit Hollands most famous flowergardens ‘Keukenhof’ with a group of other people. But it was not to be. In stead of going to Keukenhof, she caught pneumonia, had to go into hospital and died a few day later on April 17th.

So it happened that my ‘happiness bouquet’ became the design on her funeral card, hoping it would cheer up other people as well.



The week after my grandmother died, her beloved Japanese Cherry slowly started to flower. Exactly on the day of her funeral the flowers had fully opened. I spoke a few words in memory of her, noting that the blossoms symbolized a new start: for her, her family and myself.

I have always noticed that in periods of great loss, wonderous things can also happen. A week after the funeral I got a message from Gianni, an American Facebook community friend, that he was on a trip in the Netherlands and would loved to meet in……Keukenhof. Now I have to admit that after living for more than 10 years nearby Lisse, I had never payed a visit to one of the most famous tourist spots of the Netherlands. I had my own ideas about Keukenhof: dull, for elderly only, lots of tourists etc., but I decided to go in honor of my grandmother and to make the trip she couldn’t make anymore.

Yesterday was that day. I woke up quite early and looked out of my window to see if the weather was really as rainy as the forecast had predicted. What a suprise to see that almost all cherry blossom had fallen down that night and the garden looked as if  it had been covered in pink snow!


bloesem sneeuw

After taking some picture of my own ‘Keukenhof” I went to Lisse and during that trip the weather got better and better. I discovered that some of my prejudges were indeed true, but others needed some adjustment.

There are indeed many tourists in Keukenhof (from all kinds of countries by the way) but there are also more beautiful flowers than I could have ever imagined. What I liked a lot is that you are allowed to sit on the grass and take a close look at that great variety of (mainly) tulips.

As I write this blog it is starting to rain with thunder and lightning, which is the weather that was expected yesterday!



Meeting Gianni was great and afterwards I sat in the grass to paint some flowers.


It was a perfect day and hopefully my grandmother looked down from heaven and enjoyed our day “together” in Keukenhof.


In a minute I will start to paint my second wedding bouquet. Even though it rains I will feel cheerful today.

From now on the new phase is starting, hopefully with lots of flowers!

If you have any wishes for a flower painting you know where to find me!




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History of watercolor

April 15, 2015 in Blog bericht, Buddhism, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin


A few weeks ago, on a grey Sunday afternoon, I visited the Mesdag Museum in The Hague. To my surprise there was a temporary exhibition about watercolors and their history. Even though my life has been about watercoloring a lot the past 2 years, I hardly knew anything about the history of it. I never gave it a serious thought why you hardly find watercolor paintings that are dated back hundreds of years ago.

It was lovely to see the first paintboxes in wood that were used commonly by artist, even of Brands we still use today.

watercolor box

watercolor materials

The exhibition opened my mind in several ways. It also confronted me with the status watercoloring seems to have here in the Netherlands. It’s often ridiculed and not taken seriously. Watercoloring has a name of being a hobby for elderly women.

Walking through the museum made me wonder what has happened with the status of watercoloring, since it was only 100 years ago that it seemed to be a far more respected form of art. As I found, watercoloring was frequently used to accentuate illustrations in black and white. But in the late 19th century factories produced cheaper watercolor paint of high quality that made them more populair among artist. In the UK, Belgium and later the Netherlands, artists working with watercolors gathered in societies (called the Dutch Watercolour Society or in Dutch: de Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij). Among them were two Dutch female artists too.


My personal favorite was a painting by the Italian Mose Bianchi that had quite some color and humor compared to the Dutch painters. This painting is called ‘Choir boys’ (1877)

mose bianchi

Choir boys

choir boys



Wikipedia says about the history of watercoloring:

Several factors contributed to the spread of watercolor painting during the 18th century, particularly in England. Among the elite and aristocratic classes, watercolor painting was one of the incidental adornments of a good education, especially for women. By contrast, watercoloring was also valued by surveyors, mapmakers, military officers and engineers for its usefulness in depicting properties, terrain, fortifications or geology in the field and for illustrating public works or commissioned projects.

Reading this text I ask myself why it was especially good for women? If you look at Asian art that uses similar fluid techniques there doesn’t seem to be a gender difference. Does its has to do with colors? Is it because watercolors are perfect for making botanical illustrations and women love flowers and plants more than men? Or is it because the transparent paint creates lighter, brighter and therefore ‘sweeter’ images. I seriously don’t know the answer, if you do I would love to hear!

The only thing I know is that you need quite some courage and an assured hand to paint with watercolors. If you learn how to paint ‘in the Zen way’ it can free your mind and soul you can use it as a meditation technique. And if watercoloring is considered as ‘typical feminine’ , I think Zen watercoloring could be a very effective meditation technique for women (and of course men too)!

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Digital watercolor illustrations

March 25, 2015 in Blog bericht, NEWS, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

sets backery

This year started with quite some discussions about the new EU VAT rules concerning selling digital items in the EU. I was just at the point of starting to sell digital illustrations of my work, when I discovered that this would make my VAT administration incredibly complex. Selling my products from Holland to the rest of the world would mean that as of the 1st of January 2015, I had to pay VAT tax in all the countries of the EU for my customers instead of only in Holland. Luckily Etsy solved this problem for all it’s European based sellers like me in February and since then I started to offer digital items in my shops.

sets fruit

This is how it works:

You purchase a digital poster size 8″ x 10″/ A4 (section ‘printable poster’) in my shop. You will receive a download link so you are able to download the images directly to your computer and print them on your own printer(s). You can of course also have them printed in your local print shop on high quality paper if you want. I also offer PING images with transparent backgrounds as ‘clipart’ (=a set of images about 5″ x 7″ and smaller), so you can design your own personal invitations, posters etc. Please be aware that these images are for non commercial use only.

I f you have plans for commercial use, please contact me to discuss terms and conditions. You can find my clipart images here in my shop. I will upload more sets in the near future. If you have any special requests or want to use my prints commercially, please contact me.

sets groente

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Zen drawing on a Buddha board

February 5, 2015 in Blog bericht, NEWS, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

I had never heard of it before until I got a  Buddha board as a present from my uncle. It was very nicely packed in a box together with a tiny pencil. I was attracted to it strait away even I had no idea how it worked.

buddha board

Funnily enough it had been lying next to my book about Zen drawing in a Dutch museum shop! I understand why; the board is perfect for using in a zen drawing practice. You paint with water, and as it dries up, the result disappears.  Depending on the temperature and amount of water you use, this happens in several minutes, sometimes already before you finished your drawing. It forces you to paint quickly and be relaxed about ‘failures’ and mistakes.

buddha board (2)buddha board 2

Now you would say this board is perfect for children too. The thing is however that the board is quite vulnerable, and within a few minutes of exposure to my daugther and friends it had suffered severely from well meant experimental try outs like painting with real watercolor and using tons of water. The white coating doesn’t like both, and as you can see there are already permanent stains and ‘bubbles’ like this:

board buddha

I think this should be improved as kids love to use it. Here is a piece of art by Leah 8 years old:

drawing boardchildren drawing

The Buddha board is available in several colors and the color of the box will be the color of your art. I prefer black. It looks just like an Asian piece of art on rice paper. Speaking of which; I have just opened a new shop on Etsy with Black ink/ watercolors by the name Zen Inks.

tiger zen painting


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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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Drawing goldfish

November 24, 2014 in Blog bericht, Geen categorie, pencil drawing, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

Nov 24, 2014


Over the past few weeks, I have been quite busy re-decorating my living room. As a result it was a bit of a mess and since I also worked until the late hours, there was hardly any time left to sit down and draw. So I decided to take some time out as soon as the most important decorating I needed to finish, was done.

How wrong was I? By ignoring my needs for some well deserved rest, my resistance got low and I got a flu instead. I didn’t even have enough energy to pick up a pencil and make some drawings. So yesterday I was incredibly happy that I finally found some time and energy to sit down and draw for while. Especially since my daughter got some new pets; two goldfish! Perfect models as I found out.


gold and brown drawing fish ‘Blackie’ and ‘Spotty’ -as they are called- have been chosen by my daughter for their sweet personalities and I liked their ‘modelling’ looks. Drawing fish -especially long tailed goldfish- is great fun if you use watercolors. I fully understand why fish are popular ‘models’ for ink paintings in the East. The ink and watercolor flow on your paper like the fish move in the water, and its a matter of a few strokes to see the fish come alive on you paper. Use diluted ink or paint first for the tail to show its transparencygoldfish drawing.

goldfish watercolor

My first attempt to paint Spotty in action was really fun. It looks hilarious, could have been a Quentin Blake illustration.

For ‘Blackie’ I used a photograph to see the colors more clearly.  If you take a close look at a black goldfish, you will find that underneath it is truely a GOLD fish too.

If you don’t have any fish yourself or a nearby Chinese restaurant to go to, just search for fish on the internet and you will find anything you like.

This picture shows the wet watercolor painting, which makes it look like a real wet skin of a fish.

black goldfish

And the final dried up result:

zwarte vis klein

Another goldfish I made:

goudvis klein

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My illustrations in Elle City Germany

October 28, 2014 in Blog bericht, Watercolor by Michelle Dujardin

elle city november

This November my ostrich watercolor paintings will be included in Germanys Elle City magazine. It looks lovely!

elle city germany

tierisch berlin ostrich illustration

The illustrations are for sale in my Etsyshop.

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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 Amazon.com. 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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Women in Art 278 magazine

November 3, 2013 in Blog bericht, NEWS, Watercolor by admin

Aquarel huilende wolf

This month (November 2013) my painting was included in the ‘Women in Art 278″ online magazine.

Click here to read the magazine.



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Zen drawing and watercolor painting in the Provence!

August 12, 2013 in Blog bericht, Watercolor by admin

zen alpilles bewerkt klein

Provence France


It is quite a cliche to be inspired by the South of France. Many famous artists have been there before me. But does it matter? In the Zen tradition, distinguishing yourself from others is not so important. Trying to perfect your practice is. So that is what I did the last weeks on holiday. I followed the footsteps of artists like van Gogh by drawing and painting the same landscape over and over again until I had the feeling that I caught it’s essence on paper.

lamanin schets

Zen drawings are the perfect base for a watercolor painting. The idea is not to fill in your drawing with paint, but to use your drawing as an example. Your drawing already contains the most important information. It reflects the essence of what you have seen. Later, for example at home, you have the drawing and your memories to translate it into a colorful watercolor painting.


lamanon grottes de cales klein

Drawing or painting in nature with watercolor is also lots of fun. You have to bring more materials and water. Just like zen drawing, the idea is to catch the essence on paper. Do not loose yourself in details too much. You have to draw fast too. When I did the painting below, it was at sunset. Because of the changing light, the scenery changed by the minute. Meanwhile I got attacked by a swarm of mosquito’s. I did my best to stay focused. The painting below and itchy arms and legs where the result…

alpilles berg

The first 5 watercolor paintings are on Etsy.  Some more a re still to come!


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Custom Order of A Peony Rose Watercolor Painting

July 3, 2013 in Blog bericht, Watercolor by admin

Peony Rose Watercolor klein


This is the result of Custom order.  I also painted another rose:

pioenroos 2You can find the original painting here in my Etsyshop.

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Beyond the monkey mind with Osho Zen Tarot.

May 21, 2013 in Blog bericht, Buddhism, Watercolor by admin

monkey portrait watercolorosho zen tarot

Zen drawing is more than a drawing method to me. It’s one of the ways by which I force myself to become aware of the moment and accept what is happening. Zen drawing is one of my favorite methods, but not the only one. Physical exercises (like belly-dancing in my case) can be powerful methods to clear the mind as well.

My ‘path’ could also be called ‘the path of coincidence’. I use everything that comes into my life by accident and feels right. That’s why I use different methods from different origins and background. In the end, it all fits very well together.

One of these accidental discoveries that has a great impact on me is Osho’s Zen Tarot. I didn’t know much about Osho, except negative opinions of friends and family. At the moment I don’t have any opinion about Osho, except for the fact that he has said and done some very extraordinary things. I love the way he stimulates people to be self confident, happy, playful, interdependent and powerful. His beautiful illustrated Zen cards are a great help in achieving that. The cards tell you what is happening at an unconscious level and mirror the tricks of your monkey mind. I had some suspicion (my monkey mind) in the beginning, but in the meantime I could write a book about all miraculous things that happenend and the effects of the cards. I dare to say now: the cards are always right.



osho zen tarot cards kaarten Osho zen tarot

If you would like to try the tarot yourself, take a look at this website and you pick you card there.

This article with his vision on creating and art is also very interesting to read.

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Drawing a Magnolia tree

April 18, 2013 in Blog bericht, pencil drawing, Watercolor by admin


mooie magnolia


The first weeks of spring were incredibly cold in Holland this year. As a result, nature got a little confused and all plants and trees flower much later than usual. My most favorite of all plants and tree’s; the magnolia, is still not in full bloom yet.

Last year the magnolia flowered in the third week of March! I tried to draw the tree then, but couldn’t get it on my paper. It was to tall and I was sitting to close. This year, the Magnolia is even bigger. I learned from last year, I will not even try to draw it completely.

tekening magnolia zen drawing

The branches of the magnolia have surprising shapes. The flowers are like jewels on a necklace. Every day, I see them open up a bit more.

Today, I also tried to paint a flower with watercolors.

magnolia drawing tekening klein






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A zen drawing Etsyshop

February 27, 2013 in Blog bericht, NEWS, pencil drawing, Watercolor by admin

gebera klein

This week I opened a new Etsyshop with my Zen drawings. You can find original drawings and reproductions.
And of course my Dutch book about Zen drawing. The shop is attached to this website, you can find it in the menu (shop)!

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