Dragonflies in the shop

Last week was Dragonfly week and I uploaded a few of my favorite odonata.

There will be more to come, and I have a few in my head.

With spring coming I want to make more plant stakes.

Maike's Marvels Dragonfly Plant Stake

I also did neck shots and earring shoots as the sunlight permitted. I don’t have a photo studio so it’s just how the light falls in the living room.

It’s time consuming to get situated, but fun at the same time.

The aftermath of a photoshoot…

I cropped and recropped and set about writing product descriptions.

I also put two popular paper wedding anniversary pendants up on the shop. Earrings and bangles are coming soon.

Then I asked tech support why I couldn’t figure out how to get my necklace length options to work, and of course all I needed to do was start the attributes from scratch instead  of fiddling with the one I had created prior to the ecommerce migration.

When in doubt, just reset the thing you are doing in WordPress…

Anyway, after a day of going through all my pendant listings, you can now specify your necklace cord length when ordering a product, no special notes needed.

Being my own techie is frustrating sometimes, but learning how things work is fascinating too.

I still need to decide on an international shipping plugin, and want to explore more themes so the sidebar goes where it is supposed to to help you navigate better.

For real-life perusal, I made over a few older pendants and gave them new flair.

These are so 2013.

So now they are all made over in vibrant colors.

This spring collection is at The Collage Cafe.

Let me know what you would like to see next. I have many ideas for Spring, but enjoy hearing from you the most!





Swarm Show Opening

I had such fun creating a Swarm, and it has garnered more ideas percolating in my head.


I love how the dragonflies turned out, and am also enamored with the ladybugs.


At home, I fiddled with various configurations. The mobile can be added to and subtracted from.

swarmathome closeup

I put on a swarmy collection for the Art Walk.


After the Evanston Made ArtWalk, I headed over to SideTracked Studio, where Rory was adding final touches to the swarm.


Seeing it installed was so fun.


Paintings include: Lauren Levato CoyneRory CoyneJason McPhillipsErin Gergen Halls, Anthony Cramer, Gail Potocki, John Walker, Erich J. Moffatt, Victoria Fuller, Renee McGinnis, Maike van Wijk, and Stephanie Inagaki.


The exhibition continues through July 2, 2016, check Facebook for opening hours.


The details in each painting are amazing.


Sidetracked Studio is the storefront studio of artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne founded with collector and advisor Michele Mahon Jahelka.


Throughout the year Sidetracked Studio, located at 707 Chicago Avenue, also presents gallery exhibitions of visiting artists, workshops, and lectures.


Sidetracked Studio is located near the purple line Main Street station, as well as the Main Street Metra station.


Metered parking is available on Chicago Avenue, and you can find residential parking a few blocks closer to the lake. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.


At night, the shadows added their own art to the installation.


Go see the exhibit and also check out Rory’s videos of the art at the Facebook Page of SideTracked Studio.

Emily Oaks Critters

Summer is a bit late in starting, but I was able to get my critter cam out last week. (Yeah it’s the same camera for everything else, just different models in front of it during summer).


Here are some favorite snapshots from Emily Oaks Nature Preserve, a minuscule preserve in Skokie that lets me get away when I don’t have time to drive off into the sunset.


I love that the deer are so tame here. They look to see what you’re doing and then just keep on chewing 4 feet away from the path. But if you linger too long they do walk away.


Unfortunately a red dragonfly (possibly a darter) and a brown one with a yellow stripe wouldn’t sit still very long, but the 12-spotted skimmer accommodated me.


Blue Dashers were plentiful.


A Common Whitetail under another Skimmer


Getting frisky.


I don’t know what this butterfly is.



Respect the Geese and they respect you.


Hairstreaks are adorable, and I love its zebra antennae.


I met some fun critters in Lemont at Waterfall Glen as well, but that’s a story for another day.


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.

Bug Fest opens tonight, and appreciating dragonflies

May and June were abuzz with dragonflies, which has inspired me for new projects.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

I love the blues, such as this Northern Bluet Damselfly

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

and the Twelve-spotted Skimmer.

You can appreciate all kinds of insects this weekend and through September 21, at the BUGS!!! Exhibit. Tonight marks the first evening of Bug Fest—a tribute in the form of paintings, drawings, photography, performance and music to all the creepy crawly creatures of the earth—hosted by the Kinzie Corridor Community Association in conjunction with the Arts of Life at 2010 west Carrol Avenue, Chicago IL.  This is the Chicago location of the Arts of Life, which is another spacious studio providing an artistic outlet to people with and without disabilities, like the Glenview studio I had been to this spring.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

 Green Darner

Tonight’s (August 3) free admission show, starting at 6 p.m., includes performances by Spider to the Fly, Andy Ortmann, and an 8 p.m. Open Mic session. I look forward to being introduced to avant-electronic dance music and eclectic electronic experimental music by the headliners.

The August 4 festivities begin at 7 p.m. with the DayMoths from Minneapolis and El Circo Cheapo (just the name makes me smile), which will have a ticket price of $10-15.

Throughout Bug Fest the Kinzie Corridor gallery will be open for viewing as well as the purchasing of all work, with a portion benefiting the Arts of Life (donations are accepted as well). The BUGS!!! show includes photography, painting, assemblage, and other art work by Christopher Iith, Debbie Vasquez, Jean Wilson, Jim Newberry, Jon Walz, Laura Krause, Maike van Wijk (that’s me!), Marta Sytniewski, and Mike Kaskel.

All work pays tribute to the bugs that inhabit the earth that we live in, and the beauty that they provide to the world around us. My four encaustic collages feature the butterflies I love so much. BUGS!!! will be on view from August 3 through September 21, with the gallery open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Common White Tail

Damselflies have longer bodies than dragonflies, and fold their wings when resting. Both dragonflies and damselflies metamorphose from waternymphs to creatures of the air. I learned a lot about them through Hilda Simon’s Dragonflies book.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Green Darner