Artist Spotlight Series: Sophie Margrette Treppendahl

Charleston’s many artists and their talents are among my favorites.  

The Charleston artist features past are HERE if you want to see more from this delightful city of creatives. 

Enjoy getting to know the latest gifted lowcountry artist in my Artist Spotlight Series.

Sophie Margrette Treppendahl

Charleston, South Carolina


What is your training? 

My mother is an oil painter and I’ve grown up watching her.  As a kid, craft time often involved a full spread of oil paints and turpentine. Later going to college, I had my formal training at College of Charleston. I was a studio art major, spending most of my time in the painting studio, and every moment I could spare after that in printmaking.


What inspires you and your designs?

I am constantly inspired by things around me, but still trying to figure out what exactly it is about those things that caught me. There is some perfect meeting of light, color, shadow, and slight awkwardness, and those are the bits that overwhelm me with inspiration. I don’t know how to find them or what the equation is, but I know when I see them.  Sometimes I am lucky enough to photograph these moments when I encounter them in hopes to turn them into a painting. Often I come across old photographs that have that “glow” I love and I work from those. Lately I’ve been heavily interested in waterscapes, wrinkled faces, and a light shade of blue.

 What is your favorite piece? 

My favorite picture at the moment is this small painting I did of my father and his brother when they were kids, called “Brothers.”


How has the your area influenced your work?

Charleston is where I learned to be a painter, so everthing I’ve done has been heavily rooted in this city. When I step back a bit, the influence seems laughably obvious. The water scenes, the dreamy color palate, the yellow light – it all feels very ingrained in Charleston. I am excited to see what will happen with my work when I live in a different city one day.  

What is your favorite restaurant in Charleston?

I am torn on this one. My tride and true favorite is the classic, cluttered, adorable Fast and French. A Croque Monsieur and a bucheron salad is just right.  


But my newfound love is Edmund’s Oast. I dream about the shrimp toast. 


What is your favorite cocktail?

 My sister introduced me to a Gimlet with St. Germaine, and I never looked back. 


How do you balance personal life and work?

This is something I’ve yet to master. My schedule is a bit hectic. By day, I work at Garden & Gun Magazine, by night I paint, and on the side I help organize a breakfast lecture series called Creative Mornings.

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Needless to say, it can be hard finding a balance. For now, painting is my personal time. Its a breath of fresh air after a long day. The balance is always shifting, and I would love for my art to shift into the “work” scope, and see where things would go from there. 

Dream trip?

India. I hope to find a way to go this year. I want to see all the bright colors and smell all the spices and scents (taste them too of course!) 


Dream commission?

Ooooh, this is hard. Well, I want to do more portraits from life. They are often disproportionate and rarely ever flattering, and its so anticlimactic to show someone a portrait of themselves   But I just have so much fun doing them! I would love to be commissioned to do portraits (especially of elderly folks), but with the following conditions: it doesn’t have to looks like them, it does not have to be flattering, and they subject will never see the painting of themselves. And its for the royalty of England so I can retire when I am done. 

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

If I am being an over achiever (and planning ahead) – homemade condiments. I love making mustards. And I have a tree full of fresh figs right now for jelly. Who doesn’t love a sweet ball jar filed with homemade goodness? Typically, however, I just give succulents or a candle. 


Who is your style icon?

I bounce somewhere loving the clean crisp elegant style of Audrey Hepburn (especially in Roman Holiday) – riding around on her bike with her popped collar and dainty waist. And then also love the messy sport-bra-and-overall feel of Maggie Gyllenhaal in that in the bakery scene from Stranger than Fiction. Covered in flour (or paint), hair in a bandana, doing her thing. So at the end, my haphazard result is typically a high wasted skirt covered in paint stains and a wrinkled shirt. 

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Your favorite up and coming artist?

My roommate and good friend, Catherine Dawson


 What is your most treasured possession?

I have a painting my mother did of her father, Bob. I never met him, but it feels like the closest I can get to him. I’ve had it in the living room of every home I’ve lived in and I plan to to take him with me wherever I go. 


What are you reading?

I just finished the only graphic novel I’ve ever read,  “Here” by Richard McGuire. Though there wasn’t much reading, actually, because there is only one two sentences per page, tops. But oh, its just so darn pretty. Its one of those books that makes me almost sad because its so beautiful, and every page  feels like a painting I wish I could have created. But I am of course happy he did. And I look at it constantly for color and composition inspiration.


What are you listening to?

I listen mostly to podcasts. My favorites at the moment: 99% Invisible, New Yorker Fiction, and Fresh Air. And I am going through all the archives of This American Life. For some reason, there is nothing more comforting after a long day then Ira Glass while you paint. 


What are your favorite blogs / publications?

Of course I am a fan of Garden & Gun Magazine (hehe).


I also love recipes from Smitten Kitchen and My New Roots.


And for years I’ve loved the analog photographs by Famapa of My Funny Eye


Enjoy a few favorites from her portfolio
















And do not miss her big show this week! 

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