The Heroine’s Journey of Sophie Ploeg

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I am an artist, art historian and writer as well as a full time mother; I love the fact I can combine all these things and they all strengthen each other. Art history infuses my paintings and being a mother has inspired me to work on the role of women in art and society as well as develop an interest in children portraits. I truly feel I get the best of life: I get to raise two youngsters into this world, I study our cultural heritage and interpret it into my own paintings and writings. If we just not mention the laundry and the dishes, my days consist of nothing but the essence of life.

What is my greatest fear? Like most parents, it would be that something bad happens to my children.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I admire anyone who is strong enough to stand up for fairness, kindness, tolerance, science, nature and heritage. The world is a wonderful place and we should celebrate it.
What is my greatest extravagance? Being an artist.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Sometimes I am trying to reach for things in my painting, often something that is hard to put into words, even to myself. But I know I am fighting to reach it, and I know when I get there. When I know I have broken down a wall in a painting, reached the other side, and taken giant steps in my painting development I am very pleased. These moments happen only rarely though.
Another moment of true gratitude is when one of my paintings moves someone and they show or tell me so. What an honour to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.
What is my greatest achievement in work?I am very proud to have had my self portrait exhibited in the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, where I subsequently won the Travel Award. I used the award to research lace in 17th century portraiture, and was able to exhibit a series of new painting at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2014/15. One of these works was in an exhibition on self portraiture together with Anthony van Dyck’s famous self portrait as well as many other famous works. It was such an honour to have a work hung in the same room as Van Dyck. But I suppose I must call my greatest achievement the inspiration I sometimes manage to give to others. Nothing beats getting an email or a tap on the shoulder from someone who is telling me they picked up painting again after a long break and they are inspired, because of a painting they saw by my hand or after reading my blog.
Where would I most like to live? Europe.
What is my most marked characteristic? I am optimistic, down to earth and practical.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? My home is where my heart is – ie with my family.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband has always supported and encouraged me to pursue my passion and talent, he has stood by me in times of bad health and will always be my partner in crime. With very little extended family around we tackle the world together and encourage and support each other as much as we can.
What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? I am currently exploring a slightly different approach to painting; an approach that involves a lot of working from my imagination, which is new to me. I am taking some old master paintings as a starting point and letting my imagination run free – working things out on the canvas and see where it takes me. There are a lot of ruffs involved. I am also actively blogging twice a week and hope to continue to reach more people who love art making, art history and art collecting.
Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I have paintings in various open exhibitions throughout the year – for the latest details, check out my website where you can also find my writings on my blog.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Except for bad health, there is no reason to ever stop doing what you love, even if it is just in a little bit of spare time.
How can you contact me? First and foremost via my website www.sophieploeg.com
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