An updated photo gallery

I just received my new CD of Tom van Eynde’s art photography. There are a few calls for art I’m submitting to, and professional photos are key.

So now I can show you what I’ve been working on the past few months. I wish the dimension came out more in these photos, but the thing with encaustics is that it is very tactile, and you have to see it in person to truly appreciate the texture and depth of the medium. My photo gallery is available here.

My Malachites were happily fluttering about at Butterflies and Blooms earlier this summer.

Malachites encaustic collage diptych by Maike’s Marvels

The dragon/damselflies were snapped at various locations. The Northern bluet damselfly was resting at the Houston Botanical Garden, while the Twelve-spotted skimmer and the Ruby meadhowhawk hung out at the Emily Oaks Nature Preserve during different trips there.

 Damselfly-Dragonfly diptych by Maike’s Marvels

Ruby Meadowhawk encaustic collage by Maike’s Marvels 

For another submission I played with layering and patterns, inspired by the mechanical music scrolls I was gifted with.

Musicscroll diptych encaustic collage by Maike’s Marvels

This Turquoise and White piece was intended to become a background, but I like it as is, so it may stay this way.


Turquoise and White by Maike’s Marvels

Someone has dibs on the marbleized piece, which was also intended as a background until I was halted by an ‘I want this as is’ alert.

marbled art encaustic painting by Maike’s Marvels 

As my older pieces return to me from other shows I am loading things back on the Etsy shop, so keep your eye on it for something to add to your collection.

Meanwhile, this map I worked on in Shawna Moore’s workshop will head to the Kinzie Corridor Gallery for their upcoming Community Cartography exhibit, which is still taking submissions.


Superior beeswax collage by Maike’s Marvels

Booklet-making at the WIN Summer Retreat

When I was in Geneva for the WIN Summer Retreat, we decided on a Pajama party with a craft project. After contemplating various ideas, I settled on a bookmaking project since it was simple, glue-free, and personizable.

I had never ‘led’ a craft project before, so preparing for it was quite fun.

When we started the project, everyone stitched away rapidly, and, being the swift entrepreneurial types, the booklets were created in no time.

One lady even completed an ambitious double-spine booklet.

As Secretariat was playing and the fireplace roaring, everyone enjoyed the embellishing of pages.

Markers were used.

The various rubber stamps I had brought were used in creative ways.

I was impressed with how quickly everyone picked up on more advanced techniques, such as using markers on the stamp for a multi-color effect.

We also had a palette of yummy cupcakes from The Sugar Path.

Everyone was so creative that the caramel corn was barely touched.

I enjoyed seeing personalities come out in each project —

— while the group enjoyed getting into the creative zone.

Several participants proudly displayed their booklets the next day.

Aren’t you impressed with what they did?

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

Finding hearts along the way

“Love is the highest vibration on earth.”
~ Sonia Choquette, Your Heart’s Desire

I like to find hearts on my meanderings around town.

“In a way, every beat of our heart is a mini wish
that circulates and communicates the nature
of our own subtle energy and our heartfelt intentions”
~Paul Pearsall, Wishing Well

Sometimes it feels my whole life is a path filled with love.

At other times, it is peaceful to seek guidance in solitude.

“Following your bliss is not always easy, and it can be scary,
but I am convinced that if you listen to your heart,
go with your instincts,
and proceed with due diligence and hard work,
you will be led to the right place.
The challenges and bumps we all encounter
along the way make us better at what we do and who we are”
~ Nancy Soriano, Where Women Create Magazine Autumn 2010

But mostly, love overflows and needs to be shared.

“For the heart, just doing what it loves is reward enough.”
~Paul Pearsall, Wishing Well

Kelly Rae Roberts likes finding hearts too. I like this open heart print of hers.

What sets your heart aflutter?


works in progress

I’m back in the studio working on some things for upcoming show deadlines.

The stunning colors of the Malachite Butterfly had me playing with its photos and the energy of the stone it is named after.

Malachites encaustic collage diptych
on 10×10 inch boards by Maike’s Marvels

While I had the green out I played with another background for a piece that hasn’t quite come together in my head yet.

I worked on pieces to complement the auction donation of the Candyality Gala.

Idea leuconoe triptych by Maike’s Marvels
on cradled 6×6 inch boards

And also made a background with those colors on another piece under development.

Professional photos were shot this week so I look forward to showing you the better versions.

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday, which I have been celebrating for quite some time. In reality, this entire year has been a celebration of life.

 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

The official birthday kick-off was with Crowns, the evening before the beginning of August. But I also splurged with the Geneva trip, and treated myself to some lovely art work by a friend (more on the personal gallery in a future post).

 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Art Work by Bridgette Guerzon Mills

On Friday I tried on Ferragamo Shoes during the WIN Innovation Circle, but my wallet isn’t ready for that kind of splurge yet.

Photo courtesy Women’s Innovation Network

However, I did sell one of my pieces to my friend, which is very exciting and helps toward the newly implemented Ferragamo fund.


Dancing Heliconiiae encaustic collage by Maike’s Marvels

In the evening I perused the Hot Wax in the City Opening, while enjoying catching up with all my FUSEDChicago friends. It was lovely to examine their new works and close that evening dining with a friend.

Hot Wax in the City Opening

Saturday was spent at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, where Il Dottore offered advice to passers-by.


We also played with hats, and watched jousting, whip crackers and a mud show.

Sunday was spent relaxing and reading.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

This week I get to see the Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry show again at Piccolo Theatre.


The fun just won’t stop!

200 blog posts, a retrospective

This is my 200th blog post. Amazing, isn’t it? Since it is my birthday week I am particularly reflective.

When I started this blog in September 2010 I had no idea where my life was going. I had just returned from a remarkable conference (and a terrifying flight there) and knew I wanted my life to change but wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
~ Buddha

In December 2010 I was able to make the change I longed for, after numerous months of pondering the how and internally saying farewell to the familiar of the old life.  It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. There were shifts in relationships, there was self-doubt, there was relief, and there was confusion. Now what?

“Many persons have a wrong idea of
what constitutes true happiness.
It is not attained through self-gratification
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

~ Helen Keller

The better part of that year was spent in a cocoon. I read a lot, I took a wonderful trip, explored local attractions and galleries, and spent a lot of time trying to plan.

I attended the Creative Connection again, which helped me affirm my path and my goals, and also forged relationships with new and old friends. This conference nudged me into the social media waters, and gave me a little more confidence in getting out and doing, instead of planning. It also prompted me to clear my studio and start creating wall decor instead of greeting cards.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
 ~ John Lennon 

January 2012 marked a turning point with my first gallery exhibit. Being accepted in an art center validated my new direction and gave me more confidence in trying out other exhibit opportunities. Since then I have been in six other group shows—almost one a month, which last year I wouldn’t even have dreamed of!

Through the Women’s Innovation Network, FUSEDChicago and the Chicago Painters and Artists’ Group my local community started to grow, and I became engaged in the outside world again after almost hiding from it.

 “You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and
it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
~ Matthew 5:14-16 

Since then I have met so many inspirational people, made new friends, and deepened existing relationships. And after years of thinking of myself as ‘just a crafter’ I’m also beginning to feel part of the artist community. Numerous workshops added to these connections and also helped me grow and try new things in my art work.

There is still a lot I feel I haven’t done, and there are tragedies in life, but there is soooo much to appreciate. I truly am living the dream, and in spite of worries and doubts I know that everything will work out.

“The great thing is, if one can,
to stop regarding all the unpleasant things
as interruptions in one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life.
The truth is, of course, that
what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”

~ C.S. Lewis 

So as I check in with my new year’s resolutions, I still need to keep working on #1 and #2 (the myself part), but #3, #4 and #5 are well on their way!

  1. Give the positive exponentially more value than the negative
  2. Honor people as they are, including myself
  3. Stick to the artistic journey and give it room to expand, shift gears, grow
  4. Continue to build meaningful relationships
  5. Draw inspiration from life

Hot Wax in the City opening tonight

Tonight I’ll be perusing the Hot Wax in the City show and visiting with my FUSEDChicago friends. Several of them have been accepted to this show, and I am excited to see their latest and greatest work, curated by Kathleen Waterloo,  Jenny Learner and Kathy Roman.

  • Alicia Forestall-Boehm
  • Denise Funfsinn
  • Bridgette Guerzon-Mills
  • Brad Hook
  • April Nomellini
  • Emily Rutledge
  • Donna Zarbin-Byrne
  • Kathleen Waterloo
  • Jenny Learner

will each have pieces at Morpho Gallery at 5216 North Damen Avenue in Chicago. You can meet and greet them tonight from 6 pm to 9:30 pm, and the show runs August 17 through September 6.

Have a great weekend!

researching and creating

In keeping with my lepidopterist/entomologist month I am immersing myself in the life of Margaret Fountaine.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

She was one fascinating and gutsy lady (the kind of company I like to keep). I am reading her (edited) diary and a biography about her simultaneously; each fills in blanks the other doesn’t, so it’s a cool exercise. I need to finish Wild and Fearless by the end of the month, only 100 pages to go!

On a stroll I spotted this swallowtail.


I am not sure what it is yet, since I only have this fly-away shot to go with.

On the visual end I am studying this paper kite butterfly for my next drawing, along with working on some encaustic collages.

Have a fabulous mid-week!

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

BUGS!!! Exhibit open through September 21

It’s been a very buggy time around here. Once you become aware of something, it is everywhere, and so it is with insects for me.

Since getting to know Lauren, entomology has started to creep in on me, and it continues with the BUGS!!! exhibit at the Arts of Life.

Mike Caskel

From assemblage to collage to paintings to photography and paper-cut-outs, insects are portrayed in colorful ways.

They aren’t the creepy crawlies we think they are, when we spend time studying them and understanding their place in this world.

Jon Walz

On Saturday evening, El Circo Cheapo entertained with acrobatics, and the Arts of Life emcees offered up insect jokes and trivia, such as the strongest beetle in the world.

Exhibiting artists include: Christopher J. Erickson, Debbie Vasquez, Jean Wilson, Jim NewberryJon WalzMaike’s Marvels, Marta Sytniewski, and Mike Kaskel.

Marta Sytniewsky

Swing by the gallery at 2010 West Carroll Avenue if you’re in the Kinzie Corridor neighborhood.

 Three Butterflies by Robert Cruz

The art work will be up through September 21, and the gallery is open from 9 am to 4 pm each weekday.

Insects at the Field Museum

Our drawing ‘final’ was a day in the Zoology Department at the Field Museum of Natural History. We were greeted by Entomology Collections Manager James Boone, who is featured in this lovely video.

We spent two hours just oohing and aahing over the drawers we were given access to, and took many photo records.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Luna moths

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Moon moths

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Night-flying moths (oops-no photo of the day-flying variety)

photo copyright Maike's Marvels


photo copyright Maike's Marvels


photo copyright Maike's Marvels


 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Walking sticks

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Lauren was drawn to the Cicadas and Beetles, which had a surprising array of colors (purple to match her phone, blues, reds, golds and greens).

 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Imagine wearing them around your neck.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Or as cufflinks.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Some beetles were quite velvety, and there were other bugs I’d never seen (and whose name escapes me now). I drew the line at photographing tarantulas and wasps. I appreciate their beauty but their venom freaks me out (I’m allergic).

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Lauren picked this still life to take notes on.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

And my class mate picked this giant walking stick.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Since I am still learning how to see tone, I went with a black and white butterfly as my model. This is the Apollo.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Lauren gave me pointers on the difference between field drawing and ‘home’ drawing. You basically sketch out the basics, the most characteristic features, and make lots of mental notes (along with taking photographs) for later reference.

 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

At the end of the day, everyone was happy with their progress, and I had a butterfly drawing to call my own.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Lauren will offer this class again in the Fall, and I plan to practice in between with the specimens she gave me to see if I can add color to my drawings or need more technique in the next session.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

There is an insect of the week Facebook page showcasing some of these wonderful specimens, with information on what these critters do.