I found Sophie D’Ansembourg’s paintings online and fell in love with her naive flower still lifes. Her work reminds me of all the reasons I love painting—they are beautiful, free, and sincere. I asked Sophie some questions about her life and practice. – CM
PUBLISHED IN ISSUE 17
As a child I used to draw a lot. I grew up in the countryside and my mother tended a beautiful garden. Every room in the house had flowers.
I learned to paint at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in my late teens. I paint with oil. When I paint, I have to feel free, then I feel calm and delight. If not free, the work is monotonous and dull or stressful, and it shows in the work.
I work on many paintings at a time, sometimes nearly twenty, because oil takes so long to dry, but also so that I can be free to move from one painting to the other and indulge in those that give the most pleasure. Some paintings take weeks, some an hour.
I paint subjects from my imagination, which gives them a naïve and plain quality.
I work in a studio that is in a garden with wild flowers and fruit trees. I haven’t always had the luck of working in such a beautiful and serene environment. It has always been my ideal that my studio would be in a garden with flowers and insects!
I started painting flowers about a year ago, which coincides with the appearance of this new studio in my life. I love to paint flowers because they are from a world of color and form. They are perfumed. They are beautiful, stylish, and sometimes they are strange, mysterious. Each flower has a character. They are alive, live simply, and die discreetly and humbly.
Besides painting, I like to garden. l enjoy walking, dancing, and singing. I look after my family. I have three children and I’m married. My kitchen is a small laboratory in which I like to experiment. I grow my herbs and some vegetables and I cook. I make my sauerkraut, broths, and cheese.
My favorite things are nature, animals, love, and humans. My favorite painters are: Dufy, Rousseau, Matisse, Jean Hugo, Forrest Bess, Walter Swennen, Tal R, Joe Roberts, and Basquiat.
© 2019 The Editorial Magazine