It is a sunny spring morning. The doors and windows of Irene's 1920s house are wide open and the smell of fresh coffee welcomes you. "What I like most about my house is the feeling of space: high ceilings, wooden floors and lots of light. I feel grateful that I can live here. I work from home and now have my own studio here too. That's nice. In Copenhagen I worked at the dining table in the living room, which is fine too, but it is special to have my own place in the house.”Dutch artist Irene de Klerk Wolters has been living in Haarlem, the Netherlands, for three months now with Arjan, her two sons Beau and Pepijn, and puppy Lou. Before that she lived with her family in Copenhagen for nine years. "I have lived abroad before and wanted to go on an adventure with my family. We were initially going for two years and stayed for nine years in the end. We deliberately chose Copenhagen. It's a real family town, We lived close to the beach and I took a dip in the sea every day. A wonderful start of the day."Irene makes beautiful abstract works of art and just like in Copenhagen she also works from home in Haarlem. "Because I'm a painter I can work anywhere. I take care of the boys and while they are at school I paint. I work very intuitively with colours, emotions and light. I always feel the need to create whether it concerns interiors, fashion, or painting. I have worked as a lawyer for more than 15 years. The transition to an independent visual artist has actually gone very organically. When more and more assignments came in, I stopped working and completely focused on my visual work. I love it and am grateful for it, never thought I could do this for a living."
"The sea is important in my life. The colours, the light, the feeling, the vastness of nature. I need the sea. You can see that in my work."
tell us about the pop-up gallery Irene de Klerk Wolters X by Mölle?
"I really enjoy starting new projects and collaborations. This is a spontaneous idea that fits well. What you make really appeals to me and I think that our colours and style go together very nicely. For the online exhibition I selected four works. The whole month of May these can be seen on the By Mölle website and via my instagram account. You are most welcome in my studio in Haarlem."
what inspires you?
"Inspiration can be anything for me. When I look around me there is so much beauty that I enjoy. I get inspiration from what I see in the city, in nature and in books and magazines. I am very visual and love beautiful structures, sculptures and the endlessly changing sea. But also what I feel, hear and smell is important. Especially light touches me. The light in Copenhagen is so beautiful, even on a gray day it was beautiful there. How the light falls on the plastered houses is magical."
"I have a huge need for beauty of colour. I incorporate that poetic beauty into my paintings. For me, fashion, interior and art are connected. The colours that I paint with are also what I like in my house and what I wear. They are soft natural tones, very organic. I like it when something is unique, with a story. I like looking for something special. I learned that from my mother. That's why I like antiques and brocante and I like to wear second-hand clothes found in beautiful boutiques or in Denmark at the great loppemarked (flea market)."
how would you describe your style?
"I think it's the colours that fascinate me the most. Harmony and tranquility, softness. This is also reflected in my home and art. I like it when it is unique. I like to combine antiques and brocante with modern and design. Preferably with beautiful natural materials such as linen. I have By Mölle linen curtains in warm white in my studio for a few weeks now and I love it immensely. The color is beautiful. This makes a home so much purer. It really is a moment of happiness every day, just like making a cappuccino for yourself."
"Now with the pure linen fabric the light falls so beautifully in my studio. I really love the gentle movement when the wind blows. That is only possible with linen. That is why I also paint on linen. I work abstractly. I intuitively pick the colors I like and then I get to work. And I always work with gold. The sun always shines was my father's motto and it is also an important guideline for me. Gold filters the light of the sun so beautifully. Almost magical, very pure, I can look at that endlessly. A painting is not finished until I have worked with gold.”
can you tell us more about Haarlem?
"Haarlem is an atmospheric city with narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. You can still find lovely, authentic places to shop and eat, I love beautiful food and food shopping. There are such nice, small artisan shops here with honest and pure food. The reason we moved here though is the sea. In Copenhagen we lived a 5 minute walk from the beach. Here in Haarlem I jump on my bike and then I am at the beach in half an hour. I often go to Bloemendaal or Zandvoort aan Zee."
what are your favorite addresses?
Ax Specialty Coffee is a very small authentic coffee bar in the historic center of Haarlem (Kruisstraat 4). It seats two people only, which makes it very intimate. Coffee is made with so much love and passion. Wonderfully genuine and recommended.
Mabrouk, is also where I really like to go. Here I buy the freshest fruit and vegetables, herbs, nuts and tapas. The scents and colours are amazing, sometimes I buy a lemon or an artichoke there only because it looks so beautiful.
Another nice place on the Grote Houtstraat 156 is Boulangerie Oscar. An artisan baker. They bake fresh bread every day and use only natural ingredients.
Bakken en Bikken at the Botermarkt is also a must. Traditionally baked fresh sourdough bread every day.