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It goes without saying that Marjolein loves nature. True happiness for Marjolein is a walk through the woods, bird watching in the dunes, touring through meadows or searching for shells on the beach. Marjolein is fascinated especially by the small details she observes during her walks. The fact that many people overlook these details motivates Marjolein to paint them. For instance, Marjolein has painted the bunny peeking out from under a bush along the bike-path, the pimpernel found blooming in a Swiss meadow, the wagtail feeding its young under the overhanging roof and also the raccoon who visits in the middle of the night to steal the contents of any birdfeeders left outside.
Marjolein’s fascination with that very small piece of earth immediately surrounding her started when she was only a few years old. In the garden of her parents John and Pia Uit den Bogaard in Loenen aan de Vecht Marjolein would often simply lay on her stomach in the garden enjoying every living thing around her: the yellow shiny flowers of the Lesser Celandine along the edge of the creek, the duckweed on the pond inhabited by several ducks, the flower garden, and the apple- and pear tree lined road leading to the Vecht river. Marjolein quickly realized that the closer you look the more things you see.
When Marjolein was nine years old her family, now including a second daughter Babette, moved to the Veluwe, a forest-rich area in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Her father, author of a very popular series of books about a mischievous vagabond named Swiebertje, had been promoted to editor of a national TV guide and so Marjolein got to see a different part of the country. Different plants, different birds, different smells, the dry sand of the Veluwe, the move provided a new series of discoveries for Marjolein. Sitting down on the ground she could now watch dungbeetles struggling to transport rabbit droppings to their underground tunnels, ground beetles running through the sand, small lizards and slowworms hunting for insects between the Heather plants.
It is clear that Marjolein has always felt a strong bond with everything that flies, crawls and grows. This bond, coupled with the urge to share it with others, motivated Marjolein early on to start drawing. At first just to show her mother what was happening in their family backyard, later to share her fascination with millions of others.
Following her studies at the Academy for Visual Arts, where she met her husband Gaston, Marjolein worked at a variety of advertising agencies and publishers. This proved a very busy time for Marjolein with little time to paint the nature around her. In 1974 Marjolein and the Dutch women’s magazine Libelle started a relationship that continues to this day. Then, in 1980, Libelle gave Marjolein the freedom to translate her enthusiasm for nature in a column that has appeared in the magazine every week for over thirty years now. Every weekly column provides a peek into Marjolein’s heart, which in turn reflects her desire to show people what they could observe in their own backyard, if only they looked.
Since the early nineties people in the United States of America have taken note of Marjolein’s work. Working with several companies in the US has opened up a new world for Marjolein as well. Just like her first visits to the Veluwe, Marjolein’s visits to the US were an opportunity to discover something new and proved a huge source of inspiration. Armed with her endless enthusiasm Marjolein has begun to paint American nature in her unique way. Notwithstanding the enormous size of the country, Marjolein immediately looked for the details in nature. She shows people that behind the vast landscapes and plains lay small treasures that are particularly fascinating. “Unknown birds, new flowers, unfamiliar butterflies – I had to start all over, I had to look up everything! And now I want to share the beauty of American nature with my friends in Holland and show people in America how beautiful Dutch nature is.”
Her passion for the natural world is of a universal quality that appeals to people the world over. You can find Marjolein’s artwork on greeting cards, calendars, dinnerware, bedding, gifts and many other products. But for Marjolein only one thing remains important: spend every day behind her desk painting the natural world around her.