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Since my early childhood I felt the need to express my unspeakable feelings. Drawing, dancing, music helped me with this sometimes difficult task. When I was thirteen I took an evening class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Kortrijk, Belgium, where I got my first drawing lessons and where I got a taste for good. I loved that place and the atmosphere, in-between plaster sculptures and life models, where I could observe those older than me in front of their easels. My teachers, but also my father, an amateur painter with very good oil painting technique, encouraged me to continue this path. 

Three years of visual art studies followed as well as two years of graphic studies at the Sint Lucas Higher Schools of Arts (LUCA School of Arts) in Ghent, Belgium. 

Drawn by the beauty of special forms, designs and their stories I ran an antique shop for four years until I moved to Kinshasa, then Zaire, with my two-year-old son. For eight years I thoroughly enjoyed the colours, sounds and rhythms of African life. My Zairean friends introduced me to the different expressions of African art, statues, masks and fabrics, especially the Kuba art of the Kasaï I started to travel professionally  to all Mediterranean countries, always a pencil and a brush in my luggage.

After the birth of my daughter, I founded a meeting place for bargain hunters and fashion and design enthusiasts in Roeselaere, Flanders, together with a stylist friend. After four years I moved to the Bordeaux region where I settled in Entre-deux-Mers, which remains my place to  spend all my time painting.


hilde defuster peintre bordeaux

I paint because of a genuine necessity. After a life of travelling, collecting experiences and impressions, painting caught up with me and took over my days. With every new work I now follow the desire to give form to “something” that results in shapes and colours on the canvas. But what is this “something”? For me it is an insecure, fleeting yet very accurate sensation. I try to get as close as possible to an emotion, a fragile feeling, accompanied by the fear of going too far, undoing something of which I don’t really know what it is: maybe nothing, or a shadow, a touch of colour, a line? The moment I feel that completion has been reached, that the painting is there, that it is essential, comes naturally, or it does not come at all. I make preliminary studies before I start a painting. I assemble images over each other and give them a frame. Oil painting gives me the opportunity to give depth to the characters I bring to life, sometimes with humour, worry or reconciliation.

The subconscious and the conscious, the abstract and the figurative intersect and meet in my paintings. Characters appear in a play of appearance and concealment, of figurative forms that are subsequently broken. A silhouette that seems recognizable at first dissolves to return to its world. It has arrived and is ready to go again. The character turns away from the viewer and directs its gaze to a calm horizon where the transparent haze colors open up possibilities for being elsewhere. The first row is occupied by characters who seem familiar to us, as if our memory competes with our imagination. For me, this moving boundary between the known and the unknown, the near and the far, the figures and their faces, this long path in search of the unspeakable, is the expression of an inner world, my inner world.