To view more of Sophia's art go to or

to purchase prints and cards of her artwork go to

If you see an artwork on this website that you like but it's already sold - please contact Sophia as she does commissions.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Gem ...

from my wonderful friend that sends me thorugh thoughts of the day that she thinks I might enjoy ....

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life. -Greg Anderson

Thought for the day

If a design doesn't feel good in your heart what the mind thinks doesn't matter. -April Greiman

I think that many artists can identify with this - and it's certainly something I have struggled with a bit lately - especially with the pressures of having to get an artwork finished for the NZ Art Guild Annual Exhibition alongside normal work commitments, children, my own business and the exhibition/collaborative project organisation.

Finally finished my piece today - and it feels good in my heart ......

Too wet to photograph still so that will have to wait sorry.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Media release – June 26, 2008
Secret collaborative work by 88 NZ artists to be unveiled in Takapuna next Tuesday

Eighty eight artists have contributed to produce one large piece of art for the New Zealand Art Guild’s annual exhibition opening at at Takapuna next week.

The merging of all the small paintings creates one large piece of art with proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Guild spokeswoman Sophia Elise said the image of the collaborative work would not be known until the opening night at the Bruce mason Centre next Tuesday, July 1.

"It is being kept secret, even from those participating in it, until the opening night unveiling. And we’re thrilled to be working with the foundation this year to increase awareness and help people suffering from mental health problems. "

Elise said 20 percent of the proceeds from the annual exhibition sale will be donated to the foundation. The artwork will be auctioned on Trademe July 19-29.

The NZ Art Guild was formed in 2004 to promote artists at all stages of their careers.

Media advisory: For further information, comment, photos, or interview contact Sophia Elise on 027 630 1810 or Kip Brook at Word of Mouth Media NZ on 03 374 5426 or 0275033 855 or

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You haven't seen the light til you've seen the dark ....

Today I was sitting in the hairdressers reading a magazine - about the only time I get to sit and read anything!

I happened accross an article written by a New Zealander during one of her bouts of severe depression. Her story was amazing - so well written - expressive - heartfelt - and I have to say took me back to my darkest moments of post natal depression. I was sitting there tears - lump in my throat - experiencing it all again with her. It's been a few years for me and time makes you forget to a certain extent the intensity of the feelings you had. Her story took me right back but also made me appreciate the fact that for me it is a distant memory.

Having post natal depression changed my life and beleive it or not it was all for the better. Mind you at the time I certainly didn't feel that way. I had no idea that my life would turn out so well or that I would ever feel this happy with life.

However, I know for a lot of people suffering from depression that they don't have the luxury of it becoming a distant memory - this is something that they struggle with their whole lives. I was lucky - I only had it for a short time after my children were born - but that was enough to give me a new found understanding and insight into what so many people go through. It still saddens me that 1 in 4 New Zealanders suffer from depression at some time in their life.

Having depression yourself is just as difficult as living with someone who has depression - I've been on both sides. You can feel helpless, frustrated and even resentful and angry. You offer them love and support - yet nothing seems to make a difference. You try to give them hope but telling someone that theres light at the end of the tunnel - things will get better means nothing to them in their darkest moment - they cannot see it and nothing you can do will change it.
Today, really reinforced the decision the NZ Art Guild made to support the Mental Health Foundation this year. The one thing I wished I had been able to do when I had post natal depression was to Reach Out - to be able to tell people without fear of judgement - stigma etc - to ask for help - to get support.

The Mental Health Foundation of NZ have done a brilliant job in recent years in breaking down barriers and encouraging people to be open and talk about it - to reach out - and for others to be there for them. They rely mostly on donations so please - next time you have a few dollars to spare - think of them.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2008 is promoting these themes -

• It’s in your hands: make good mental health a priority in your life
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead

• Reach out: make connections and increase understanding
“All knowledge should be translated into action.” Albert Einstein

• Put your hand up: Be an advocate for positive change and social inclusion
“The passionate are the only advocates who always persuade. The simplest man with passion will be more persuasive than the most eloquent without.” RenĂ© Descartes

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Art has no boundaries

The quote below was a very timely one sent to me by one of my dearest friends today.

Yesterday I received in the mail a surprise - a book all the way from France - about French abstract artists - wow!! Not only a lovely surprise and stunning artworks - but even a personal dedication from one of the artists - this was all courtesy of my Aunt who resides in France and freely admits she knows nothing about art - and hadn't even seen the book! lol

Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation. It favors no race. It acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to heal, reveal and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible. It creates a dialogue between individuals, and communication between communities. It allows us to see and to listen to each other. - Richard Kamler

I think that says it all ...........

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Battle of life

WORK IN PROGRESS - Watch this space

Sometimes I find when you are half way through an artwork that you can not only become blocked with your creative flow but also paralysed by indecision. Too scared to go forward - fear of failure - or simply not knowing what to do. Actually - it's just like life in general at times.

Anyway, I got to this point with an artwork of mine. I textured it to start with - then it sat there for 2 months - then I painted the background - then it sat there and that was it.

My friend Tony (an artist) came round last night and I was talking to him about it - he picked up a smaller artwork of mine and held it against it and said there you go - that's what you should do - I hadn't even thought about combining the two styles in the way he suggested - but now I feel energised and excited about the possibility and cant wait for a bit of time to actually try it out ....

Its good to have people that you can bounce ideas off - and great to have people who will give you an honest opinion. Sometimes we need external influences to help us through our blocks - we can't always do it alone ....
The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible. - Richard M. De Vos
And remember most importantly in hard times fraught with indecision
Every premature withdrawal from the battle of life, simply because it involves stress and strain which we think is too much for us, fails to fulfil the object with which we have entered that battle - N Sri Ram

Friday, June 20, 2008

wow!! 10,000 hits on my blog!! yay!

Title: Celebration (2006)
Media: Mixed media, fabric, acrylic and resin
Well 10,000 hits is certainly a cause for celebration in my books!
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Gail Devers

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Laughter is the best medicine .......

Title: Laughter
Media: Mixed media
Size: 25cm x 25cm

Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. – Mother Teresa

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Family needs time

Title: Family Values
Media: Mixed media
Size: 25cmx 25cm

No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished? - Lee Iacocca

How often do we forget that the time, attention and love we give out needs to start with the people right next to us ...... often we give more to our work, hobbies, making money, other people etc and forget that our family needs just as much quality time (if not more) as everything else in our lives.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lifes Branches

Title: Lifes Branches

Media: Acrylic on canvas

Size: 10cm x 30cm


This weekend I actually did some painting - yay!! I decided not to focus on doing anything specific but just to relax back into it and let it flow. The ones I have done are only small but for some reason I prefer working on small paintings.

This is a flow on from yesterday about spirituality.....

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience - Teilhard de Chardin

The purpose of life is a life of purpose - Robert Byrne

Monday, June 16, 2008


Title: Joy
Media: Mixed media and acrylic
Size: 20cm x 20cm
GIFTED to my little sister who fell in love with this piece - love you Steph!

My sisters and I had quite an alternative upbringing by a lot of peoples standards - especially during the 70's. At the time I didn't appreciate how privileged we were to be shown a "different" way of life because I didn't like being different. As children we all just want to fit in - not stand out. Luckily times have changed and with the diverse cultural mix NZ now has we are blessed with being exposed to many different types of culture, religion, traditions, beliefs etc. People are more tolerant - more enquiring - more open minded - ok maybe not everywhere ....

We were raised within a Theosophical family - not many people have heard of Theosophy especially in NZ. We went to Sunday School like other kids except ours was called Round Table and was nothing like an orthodox Sunday School. It is modelled on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is non denominational and its aims are very simple and universal.

Round Table aims to
1) To create in the minds of the young a recognition of the unity of all people and of all living things.
2) To help the young to be happy and useful members of society.
3) To create conditions for harmonious living and to promote in all ways possible, universal love and compassion by encouraging the young to be of service to all living creatures.

There are several ways in which they promote these aims including
1) Activities that stimulate the spiritual development and inspire the young to become ideal citizens of gracious, courteous and righteous behaviour.
2) By study and teaching of the great heroes of the East and West, such as the legends of King Arthur, which symbolise the Ideal Man, the Chivalrous Knight of Service.
3) By stimulating the love of nature and animals and care of the environment. Starting or conducting our own activities for this purpose or helping such organisations and schools where this is practised.
4) By such activities in which the young can express themselves through the various arts and crafts.
5) By social service where the young can give practical help to the poor, the aged and the suffering.
6) By camps and groups that bring together the children and the young in friendship and understanding.
7) To do all possible to inculcate greatness of character in the young.

There are always a few things that stick in your mind more than others when you're growing up and some phrases from Round Table are there.
Their motto - Live pure, Speak True, Right Wrong, Follow The King.
Who is the King? The perfect/ideal man

I am a link in the Golden Chain of love,
That stretches round the world
And I must keep my link bright and strong.
So I will try to be kind and gentle
To every living thing I meet
And to protect and help all who are weaker than myself.
And I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts,
To speak pure and beautiful words
And do pure and beautiful actions.
May every link in the Golden Chain
Become bright and strong.

One of the many aspects of Round Table was to encourage the children to practice a certain quality each month - and the quality for the month of June is Joy .............

Thought of the day

One of my best friends sends me little gems every now and then via email. Here are the latest two that I wanted to share ....

Our true wealth is the good we do in this world. None of us has faith unless we desire for our neighbors what we desire for ourselves. -Muhammad

Healing is not a matter of technique or mechanism; it is a work of spirit. -Rachel Naomi Remen

Sunday, June 15, 2008

NZ Art Guild sponsoring Tauranga Art Awards

The NZ Art Guild are proud to announce they are sponsoring the prize for the Best Watercolour at first Tauranga National Art Awards.

The Tauranga Art Awards will be held from 10 – 16 November 2008 in Tauranga.

For full details on how to enter these fantastic art awards go to and for more information about the Garden and Artfest

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another gallery closes

Well it sure is a sad time for the arts in NZ at the moment - the economic climate has affected everyones disposable income with the flow on effect being that people have to tighten their budgets to afford essentials. There isnt any left to "indulge" in the arts thus artists and galleries are feeling the pinch. The latest caualty is The Garage and Gallery in Christchurch.

I guess if artists want to survive this economic downturn they are going to have to look at alternative sale outlets - like overseas galleries or corporate art rentals etc ....

Busy ....

Well this week I've hung new artwork at Albany Garden Centre and Pizza de Casa Restaurant. Stunning art by Angela Laby and Alison Mulgrew. It's Alison's first time exhibiting. If you're in the area make sure you check it out. Albany Highway, Albany - almost opposite Kristin School.

Yesterday was another busy day - hanging more amazing artwork at the Mercure Hotel, Customs Street, Auckland. A beautiful hotel with stunning views all over Auckland from the restaurant. If you're in the area check out the artwork there - Catherine Outwin who produces fantastic mixed media artworks incorporating resin. Tony Brown who has 3 huge minimalist abstract paintings on display. Jennifer Christiansen with a kiwiana style artwork including native birds, fauna and Rangitoto. Terri Dangen with very funky textured abstracts and Sue Keast with an enormous 2.6 metre fabric wall hanging in red and black.

In between this I'm still organsing the NZ Art Guild Annual members exhibition which opens in about 2 weeks at the Bruce Mason Centre.

This weekend is the Original Art Sale at the Telstra Clear building in Manukau. I was hoping to make it out to have a look around - but with the cost of petrol you think twice about an 80k round trip ....

Since the members exhibition is only 2 weeks away I better get cracking on my painting - I haven't even thought about what to paint yet ... arghhhh.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too lazy to hate

Title: Three Sisters
Media: Acrylic
Size: Diptych 30cm x 60cm

I was asked an unusual question today by a friend "with all the shit that has happened to you how do you end up not hating the people who did it?" It really took me by surprise. I had never thought about it. I hadn't even consciously realised that I didn't hate them. Maybe being angry at the initial time like any other person - or feeling hurt but hating them hadn't really entered my head as an option.

Of course I said the usual things that most people do - what's the point in hating - hatred only hurts you - it's a negative emotion that eats away at you and can bring no positive effect into your life - it doesn't affect the person you hate because they continue on with their life - that there's really no point carrying a grudge for anyone or any wrong doing - what's done is done - learn from it - move on - send the person who wronged you love. ( I have to say that there is a disclaimer here - I think if anyone harmed my children I would probably hate them)

Some of my friends have said to me that I have a big heart - am a good person - am forgiving etc And I have to confess that it's nothing as altruistic as that at all. Ultimately hating takes up too much energy - and I said to my friend today - I'm too lazy to hate ... it' s too much hard work to carry that poison around and expend the thought and energy that is required to keep such a negative emotion alive - my life is too busy and I have much more important things to put my energy into.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Title: Pathways
Size: 20cm x 20cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
All the dots are hand painted by brush.

"The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives."- Albert Einstein

Monday, June 9, 2008

What are they not saying .... ?

Title: Waves of Oblivion
Size: 20cm x 20cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
All the dots are hand painted by brush.

I have a friend who is feeling rather stressed and unhappy at the moment. A beautiful person who's inner light is not shining as bright as it should be at the moment. The one person she needs to talk to about it - who she needs more than anyone to be there for her - she just can't seem to find the right words to tell them - to explain to them.

When we are in a state of distress it can difficult enough to actually reach out to someone - to let them in - to explain how we are feeling - what we need. If we are the one that this person is trying to communicate with - we need to remember to truly listen to what they say - but more than that - listen to what they are not saying - sometimes it's so hard for someone to reveal to us their thoughts and feelings because the pain is just too great.

Reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say. - Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes the people we are the closest to and love the most deeply are also the ones we find the hardest to communicate with on a deeper level. We owe it not only to ourselves but also to the other person and our relationship with that person to communicate honestly with them especially in times of need.

Love yourself enough to always express your true feelings, needs and limits - Stephen C Paul

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I am thankful ....

Title: Chain of Life
Size: 20cm x 20cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
All the dots are handpainted by brush.
I received this via email a few weeks back ... And I think sometimes we do need a reminder of how wonderful our lives are - just even if we stop and reflect on the so called basics we have that we take for granted. It sure does put things in perspective some days ....

I am thankful that I can walk because there are those who have never taken their first step.

I am thankful I can see the beauty all around me because there are those whose world is always dark

I am thankful that I can hear music playing there are those who entire life has been spent in silence

I am thankful my heart can be broken there are those who are so hardened they cannot be touched.

I am thankful I can move about freely and express my beliefs because there are those who live in constant fear.

I am thankful I have been loved because there are those who no one has ever cared for.

I am thankful I can work because there are those who have to depend on others for even their most basic needs

I am thankful for the opportunity to help others because there are those who have no been so abundantly blessed as I.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sale on Trademe

Title: Waves of life
Size: 20cm x 20cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Hand painted dots in black, white and grey on a red background. Part of my journey of life series.

Ok - I've started another little sellout of some pieces on TradeMe - my user name is sophiaelise so check them out if you want to grab a bargain.

I dropped off 4 pieces to the Original Art Sale yesterday too .... that's on in Manukau from the 13th - 15th June. 300 artists exhibiting - guaranteed to be a great show

Am looking forward to creating some new artworks .... have got a few pieces half way there - ok that's an exaggeration - probably about 1/4 of the way there .... just need some more time to actually paint - we're heading into the annual exhibition - and we've just completed the collaborative project - we've also just secured another venue for NZ Art Guild members to exhibit at and I'm organising the first exhibition there - as well as a new exhibition for our Albany venue for Wednesday ... hmmmm add in nursing and kids ... probably not likely to get much painting time - and I still have to do mine for the annual exhibition ... arghhhh!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Facebook - Connections

Title: Connections
Size: 20cm x 20cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
All the dots are handpainted by brush.

Since joining facebook I'm even more gobsmacked by the 6 degrees of separation we seem to have with other people - in fact in NZ it seems way smaller than 6 degrees! Not only that I'm finding it a great way to meet other artists - and also a great way to promote events and keep in touch with some people that are usually rather hard to keep in touch with.

However there is a down side to facebook - all these applications that someone like me doesn't full grasp ... in fact inadvertently - don't ask me how - but last week I somehow managed to invite everyone in my address book to be my friend on facebook - this is over 300 people - including all my business contacts, the mayor, my ex husband, my lawyer etc - ok laugh if you have to - everyone else who has heard this story has - but I tell you - having to apologise and explain to everyone what happened is not only time consuming but a tad humiliating - it did however have the upside of doubling my friend number on facebook and introducing a lot more people to it - including tipping my "staunchly against facebook" cousin into joining ;) hehehe

Now the one and only reason I actually joined in the first place was because I read an article about promoting yourself as an artist on the net and it said that facebook was a great way to do it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hard times ahead for artists?

Title: Family Paths
Size: 20cm x 25cm
Media: Mixed media and Acrylic on canvas (flax mat)
For Sale: $70 - contact me
Hand painted dots in green and metallic gold on a dark green background. Part of my journey of life series.

I was very sad this week to learn of another gallery closing. The Back Street Art Gallery in Whangaparoa has closed its doors. I collected several of my pieces from there today. They are now listed on my art for sale blog so please take a look.

Is this a sign of the difficult economy - artists struggling to sell their art - with the rising costs of petrol food, power etc - it certainly is really becoming a luxury item for the wealthy. That's not what art should be - art should be for everyone to enjoy - it enriches our lives irrespective of income and the wider community benefits from the postitive flow on from creativity ....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Invitation to NZ Art Guild Exhibition and unveiling of "Reach Out"

If you have not already received an invitation to the Annual NZ Art Guild Members Exhibition "Make it Memorable" then here it is ... everyone is welcome to attend the opening - please invite anyone else you feel might be interested - entry is free.

'Make it Memorable'

Opening night: Tuesday 1st July 2008 at 6:30pm – free entry – all welcome
Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna Beach, Auckland
Date: July 1st - 30th 2008
Exhibition Open: Monday to Friday 9 - 5 & Saturday 10 - 4

The NZ Art Guild would like to formally invite you to the opening of the 3rd Annual Members Exhibition "Make it Memorable", which is being held at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland on the 1st July at 6.30pm.

Not only are we showcasing a stunning array of original New Zealand art by 63 artists from around NZ, but we will also be unveiling this years Collaborative Project, "Reach Out"!

"Reach Out" is a large, awe inspiring artwork comprising of 90 individual paintings completed by 88 NZ Artists. At the end of the exhibition this one-of-a-kind artwork will be auctioned off on TradeMe with 20% of the funds raised being donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

The NZ Art Guild is proud to be working with the Mental Health Foundation of NZ to enable individuals, whanau, organisations and communities to improve and sustain their mental health and to realise their full potential.

We would be delighted if you would join us in the opening celebrations of this fantastic exhibition.

For more information go to or

Kind Regards

Sophia Elise
NZ Art Guild