The Moon Rises, oil on linen, 40 cm x 80 cm
The intricacies of lace, the soft fall of satin, the crisp stiffness of taffeta: Textiles such as lace and silk feature in many of my works. Series of my paintings are inspired sometimes by paintings from the past (17th Century – 19th Century), sometimes by more elusive things, such as a certain piece of fabric, the Gothic period, films, books, paintings, or the theatre.
The past plays an important role in my paintings. I am especially inspired by Dutch 17th Century art and English Jacobean portraiture, for the exquisite detail to be found in the semblances and clothing. I am amazed by these old paintings’ delicate depictions of lace (its development still in its infancy in the early 17th Century), and enjoy challenging myself to emulate such refinement in my own work, to add a dash of theatrical drama and, even at times, stillness.
I am interested in current debates about the role of women in art and contemporary media, and explore female portraiture with this debate in mind. I regularly ask people to model for me (often, these are women from my own life whom I see regularly) and, taking my inspiration from 17th Century culture, am able to imbue my work with the unique look and feel of the past.
About the Artist
Sophie Ploeg is a Dutch artist based in South Gloucestershire, in the United Kingdom.
A student of art history at Dutch universities, where she specialized in English Baroque architecture and rhetorical theory, Sophie Ploeg holds both a master of arts degree and a doctorate. It was her study of 17th Century English art that first took her to the UK, where she elected to stay and works full-time as an artist.
Extensively exhibited in the UK, Sophie Ploeg’s work has been juried into shows of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and Pastel Society, among many others.
In 2013, Sophie Ploeg won the BP Travel Award at the prestigious BP Portrait Award 2013 Exhibition, which gave her the opportunity to research 17th Century portraiture and its depictions of lace and fabrics. (The BP Travel Award provides for two years of study and work on a portraiture-related project.) Inspired, she created 10 new paintings*, selections from which were exhibited in the BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition, which toured from the National Portrait Gallery in London to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, and thereafter throughout the UK. One of her self-portraits was included in a major Manchester Art Gallery exhibition, “Artists in the Frame: Self-Portraits by van Dyck and Others.”
Work by Sophie Ploeg also has been exhibited in various Women Painting Women shows in both the United Kingdom and the United States, and it was featured in the November 2015 issue of American Art Collector magazine. The painting Brabant Lace, pictured above, received a prize from International Artist magazine.
Catto Gallery in London is scheduled to host a show of Sophie Ploeg’s paintings in March 2016. Sophie Ploeg is at work on a body of new work inspired by an important art collection housed in Nottinghamshire.
Represented in the United States by Haynes Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, Sophie Ploeg accepts private and public portrait commissions, regularly speaks at public and corporate events, and offers painting workshops. She also is an active blogger, writing about art history, techniques, inspiration and creativity, and many more art-related subjects.
Mall Galleries (This is the home of the Federation of British Artists and the location of many art societies’ annual juried shows.)
* The painting Repeating Patterns, seen above, is one of a series of 10 BP Travel Award paintings Sophie Ploeg created for the National Portrait Gallery. View the entire series. Complete information about the BP Travel Award and exhibition can be found at Sophie Ploeg’s Website. Subsequent to receiving the BP award, Sophie Ploeg wrote and published The Lace Trail, a collection of essays on English and Dutch 17th Century portraiture, costume, and lace history and the making of her paintings.