Irene de Klerk Wolters
Artist • 2 Children • Copenhagen, Denmark
Dutch artist Irene de Klerk Wolters lives with her husband and their two sons in a beautiful apartment in Copenhagen filled with vintage furniture, special pieces collected from her travels, lots of light, and of course her paintings.
After several years of instagram and email friendship, I finally met Irene this summer and it was unique how the two of us as well as our husbands and children connected. I am very grateful for this special connection and how it has enriched my life — and so happy to introduce you to this wonderful woman here!
Irene not only gives us a glimpse into her home, she also shows us her favorite local spots and travel destinations. Have a look!
Hi Irene, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Irene:We are a Dutch family of four. My boys are 13-year old Beau and 8-year-old Pepijn. Six years ago we moved from Holland to Copenhagen. The move was meant to be an adventure for a year or two - but we stayed! Both my husband and I work here. Since I’m a painter I can work everywhere. I take care of the boys, and while they are at school, I do my work.
Did you always know that you want to be an artist?
Irene:I worked as a lawyer for more than 15 years. I have always loved interiors, fashion, painting, being creative in all kinds of ways. When more and more people asked me to make them a painting, it made me think I could actually live a creative life. After a long, long thought I quit my job as a lawyer for Nestlé and started to work for myself. One of my biggest decisions ever and also one of my best!
What is your inspiration behind your paintings?
Irene:Inspiration: can be everything: Nature (my big love for the endless ever changing sea), fashion, the colors you see in magazines or other artists' work. But often I guess it’s my feeling about color which is leading for the painting. Painting is always a process. I know which colors I like to work with, but how the painting develops is a process... I never know what will happen. I have to let it come and do it.
How would you describe your style? Do you see your clothing and the interior of your home as an extension of your creative life and art?
Irene:Fashion, interior, and art are for me totally connected. I love it all. I guess it’s the colors which interest me most. Harmony and calmness. Softness. This also reflects in my style, home, and art. Also, I love it when it’s unique, in the sense that I love to combine. Vintage, secondhand - I love these in combination with modern. Old furniture, inheriting furniture with modern elements. Make it your own style, home and of course create your own art.
What do you love most about your home?
Irene:What I love most about my home is the feeling of space: high ceilings, wooden floors, and light lots of light! Really, this apartment is so beautiful in its simplicity. I feel very grateful to be able to live here for six years already.
You and your husband are originally from Holland, but you live in Copenhagen with your two boys. How does it feel for you living in a different country? What cultural differences do you experience?
Irene:We are not expats, we really wanted to live abroad as a family to experience life outside our comfort zone. I had lived abroad before, in Paris and the States, and it taught me so much. The love for language, other foods, other cultures. My boys go to an international school. That’s exactly what I like so much of our life: that they will be ‘world citizens’. They come in contact with kids and teachers from all over the world. The kids learn so much from each other. All cultures are taken into the school and get attention. I think this is enriching them for the rest of their lives.
What is your favorite part of living in Copenhagen? What are your favorite local spots for a family visiting Copenhagen?
Irene:When my husband was asked to work in Copenhagen, we immediately said yes. We knew the city. It is not only a beautiful calm, kid-friendly, and safe city, it is also close to the sea. I think we are so privileged to live in a city and at the same time next to the sea. Also being Dutch we love to bike and the Danes are in that way the same as the Dutchies! Biking is not just a mode of transport, but a way of living!
Describe an ideal day with your family?
Irene:Ideal day: breakfast together with delicious fresh bread and coffee. I love loppemarked (flea market) where I find the most beautiful clothes for my family. We love to have a coffee and lunch together in the city but most of all we love going up north of Copenhagen and go to the sea. In the summertime we will bring food and barbecue and stay all day. It always feels like a little holiday. The beaches are so empty and beautiful here. Even after six years I’m deeply impressed by the beauty. My favorite weekend is when we rent a Airbnb house in Sweden. The nature in Sweden always takes my breath away. I love the calmness, the swimming in the lakes and sea. A feeling of freedom. I always see everybody getting in a total relaxed mood. Living outside in nature does every one in our family a lot of good.
You are the mother of two wonderful boys. What is for you the beauty of being a mother of boys? Challenges?
Irene:I always thought I’m a typical 'girl mother'. But it’s also maybe because I’m a girl.. and that’s what you know and like! Living in a man's world feels sometimes as if they are on a different planet. They do have different interests than I have. Which means a whole new world opened up for me! And I love it! On the other hand, I feel responsible to bring the female touch to this household.
Please share with us what you think are the most important lessons to teach your boys.
Irene:Important lessons... I truly hope my boys are kind kids. Being interested in other people, with an open mind and respect for people and the environment. Generous to others.. We hope no matter what choices they make in life they do it with engagement…
As your children get older (Beau is already a teen) what are some things that keep your connection strong?
Irene:Beau as teenager: I totally love seeing my oldest in this phase. Of course he is looking for his boundaries which is good. But he is so wise, I love the way he thinks. As if we see a preview of him being an adult. And at the same time he still just is a boy of 13 years old. Since the age difference between my boys is big (5 years) spending time one on one has become more and more important. When Beau was 9 years old we gave him a cookbook which was a big success from the beginning. He is such a great and creative cook! Being together with him in the kitchen cooking meals is my quality time with him. We talk about everything. I notice he loves to talk but only when he know I’m really listening and have time for him. I also like to go in town with him. Just for a coffee or doing grocery shopping. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as
as he has my undivided attention. We both enjoy this time together.
Do Beau and Pepijn decide what they wear or do you help them? What is most important for you and for them when choosing clothing?
Irene:I mostly decide what the kids wear. Beau loves to choose his shoes, the Nike sneakers which you can create on your own. Pepijn really really loves clothes. He likes to dress up and would love to wear a costume to school every day. If I let him, he would love to wear a total soccer look. But I always say sports clothes are for when you are doing sports. I guess that’s a European way of dressing. He definitely has his own style, which I really love to see.
What is something meaningful you turn to when you feel stressed or pressure?
Irene:Swimming in the sea.. it is my best remedy when I feel stressed or not happy. It always gives me my strength back.
How has social media impacted you as an artist and as a mother?
Social media has become part of my daily life since that’s the way I show and sell my work to the world. I absolutely love how it can connect you to the most wonderful people in the world and also show my work
to everyone who is interested. Instagram definitely has changed a lot during all these years. I guess as long as I stay true to myself, do it the way I like, it is all fine.
You travel a lot with your family. What are some of the favorite places you have visited? How do you find the accommodations you stay at?
Irene:We love to travel! We have to save money for our trips abroad but it’s money so well spent. It’s all about being in another environment, experiencing new food, new people, being on the road and letting things happen. And above all experience it all together as a family. I think traveling makes you stronger as a family. It doesn’t have to be far away.. we love Sweden and Portugal....
Irene:But yes, our California trip was a highlight. Traveling by mobile home, making campfires, washing the dishes while the deer were walking around, and watching the stars from your bed.. Yes it was a dream trip and we hope to do it again soon! Airbnb is always my number one if we travel. So far it has only given us good experiences!
What are your wishes for the new year?
Irene:My wishes: staying healthy & together... what more can I wish for.