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.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What a week ...!

Working 70 - 80 hours a week can get a bit tiring esp when you can see no end in sight - but the positive is when you can look back and see what you've achieved ...

The biggest thing this week is the NZ Art Guild new website - now hopefully this will go live Monday - its FANTASTIC! Really exciting - it really easy to use and navigate - offers far more promotional opportunities for members - online store and much much more! So keep an eye out!

This week we also had 3 more businesses approach the NZ Art Guild to establish a discount relationship for our members which is awesome!

On a down note we have made the hard decision to make the NZ Art Guild Art Awards a Biennial event rather than annual. The economy now is really hard on business owners esp with the elections looming ...

However, well known NZ artist Sofia Minson approached me with a fantastic idea for an event for Feb at the Bruce Mason Centre - so keep and eye out for more details ... its going to be big!

This week I collected and delivered all the fabulous donations from NZ Art Guild members who are participating in the NZ Health Industry Awards and UNICEF Charity Auction - what an amazing collection that is. The organisers were so excited and impressed with the calibre too. My kids were particularly fond of Beate Minderjahns range of positive fashions for kids - with slogans on tshirt and caps - so they are now very proud owners of their own sets!

On a personal note I was approached this week by a company who sell original NZ greeting cards, prints, calenders etc. They want to reproduce my dot series onto cards - perfect timing too esp with Christmas just round the corner - so I've been busy with them trying to sort that out. Once that's all finalised I will post a link here so you can check them out - and buy them of course! lol

And of course - tomorrow we have the Vegetarian Lifestyle Festival where we are exhibiting artwork - so I have to get things organised for that too.

Throw my nursing work, trust board meeting, kids, kids birthdays into the mix and you can see why I haven't posted all week. lol

Sunday, September 21, 2008

NZ Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Festival

NZ Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Festival

Every year vegetarians around the world observe World Vegetarian Day on October 1st to celebrate a healthy, compassionate and environmentally friendly way of life.

Set aside Sept 28th now - this is a vibrant and fun vegetarian event with a variety of stalls and activities, cooking demonstrations, food tasting,lifestyle products, craft and of course original NZ Artworks from 3 Vegetarian Artists (myself included)

WHERE: Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 489 Dominion Road, Auckland
WHEN: Sunday September 28th 10-4
Sophia Elise, Melissa Muirhead, Michelle Whitehouse

For more info -

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Personal Invitation to all my blog readers ...

Your Personal Invitation,

You have been invited, to the ‘New Zealand Health Industry Awards & Benefit Gala’ on Saturday 11th October 6pm at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland

The awards are to celebrate and honour the outstanding New Zealanders for their many years of dedication in the field of Natural Healthcare. This amazing evening consists of a dinner, awards ceremony, UNICEF Charity Auction and spectacular International Entertainers that has come to New Zealand to perform for you.

The NZ Art Guild is a proud supporter of the evening with several of our artists donating artworks for this event.

Would you like to Celebrate this evening with us? Please go to the following website

Kind Regards,
Sophia Elise
NZ Art Guild

P.S: If you would like to view the top art work and items in the Charity Auction Catalogue please visit

Thought of the day - Giving

While you have a thing it can be taken from you - but when you give it, you have given it. No robber can take it from you. It is yours then forever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give. - James Joyce

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Six degrees of seperation ... ?

The girl with an apple - remarkable story

This is a long one but its worth the read - received it via email - or google 'Herman Roma Rosenblat' Video

(This is a true story and you can find out more by Googling Herman Rosenblat. He was Bar Mitzvahed at age 75)

August 1942. Piotrkow , Poland .

The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.

Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.

'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.

'I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.

An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.

'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.

My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.

I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?'

He didn't answer.

I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her.

'No, 'she said sternly.

'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.'

She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany .
We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night weeks later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.

'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.'

I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator.

I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number.

Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin ..

One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice.

'Son,' she said softly but clearly, I am going to send you an angel.'

Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream.

But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.

A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed-wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone.

On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree.

I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German. 'Do you have something to eat?'

She didn't understand.

I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish.. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life.

She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence.

I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'
I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple.

We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both.

I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me?

Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.

Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia .

'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving.'

I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed.

On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM.

In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over.

I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited.

But at 8 A.M. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers.

Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived;

I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival.

In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none.

My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.

Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America , where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.

By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in.

One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me.

'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.'
A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me.

But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.

I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.

The four of us drove out to Coney Island . Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with.

Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!

We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.

We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat.

As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'

'The camps,' I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss I had tried to forget. But you can never forget.
She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany , not far from Berlin ,' she told me. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.'

I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world.

'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.'

What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked.

'He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.'

My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it.

This couldn't be.

'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'

Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes!'

'That was me!'

I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! My angel.

'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.

'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week.

There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go.

That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.

Herman Rosenblat of Miami Beach , Florida

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell Me Your Story by Dan Gottlieb

As you know, not only do I manage the NZ Art Guild, paint, blog and raise two kids - I also work as an Occupational Health Nurse 2 days a week. The reason I haven't blogged for the last 2 days - is because I've been at Occupational Health and Safety Industry Conference.

There were approximately 500 people from around NZ and overseas speakers too - who came together to share their stories, experience and knowledge - to work together to help prevent the 1000 deaths a year in NZ from occupationally related injuries and illnesses.

As you can imagine, there was some very sobering information - but also uplifting information about new initiatives and ways forward. We also had the opportunity to network - meet other people working in different areas of health and safety - different roles - different expertise and naturally different stories.

Therefore coming home and checking my emails it was timely to find this one.....

Tell Me Your Story by Dan Gottlieb

It came to me in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago, four words that could change the world: Tell me your story.

These four words could have an impact on everything from global conflict to personal well-being. All we have to do is ask others to tell us their stories and then be quiet. Oh, one other thing: While you are listening, try to imagine what it would be like - and how you would feel - if it were your story. That's called empathy.

So just ask people for their stories, listen, imagine, and feel - sounds naive, doesn't it? Stick with me here.

First, saying these words will change you. Listening to others is an act of emotional generosity, and there is ample evidence that generosity stimulates the brain's endorphins - natural antidepressants. [...]

Second, this little exercise will change the person whose story you've asked for. Socrates may have overstated the issue a bit when he said, in modern translation, "an unexamined life is not worth living," but we humans do have a fundamental need to be understood for who we are. Think of how full we feel when someone looks in our eyes and says she wants to know how we experience our lives.

In today's world, social networks are shrinking. The number of people who report having no intimate friends is increasing. Simple eye contact, along with a caring "tell me your story," can go a long way toward diminishing someone's feelings of alienation and aloneness. I've spoken those words to kids of all ages in all kinds of neighborhoods. Most thank me for asking - and say that no one has ever done so before.

Third, beyond diminishing alienation and increasing a sense of connection, these four words can have a biological effect on both parties. According to Herbert Adler, a psychiatrist at Jefferson, compassion in the doctor-patient relationship actually changes each person's biological healing system. And if that happens in those relationships, it happens in other relationships. It literally promotes healing.

(...) Try it with a neighbor you don't know very well, a relative with whom you've had a misunderstanding. Try it with a street person and see what happens to both of you.
Just four words. We could start a movement.

- Dan Gottlieb

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


At some point in our lives most of us realise that we are not going to achieve our childhood fantasies of fame, power or wealth. Nor are our lives going to be a never ending adventure or romantic novel.

Its at this point that we really need to remember that we shouldn't be disappointed - our final goal should not be about wealth or self gratification. Genuine contentment and lasting happiness don't come from fulfilling all our desires - it comes from reaching high levels of understanding and exercising virtue in our every day lives.

Like anything this requires work and practice. Our behaviours quickly become habits - good behaviours - virtues - bad behaviours - vices. Aristotle said that peace of mind is only achieved through reason, temperance and noble character. Confucius also said that having virtue wasn't just knowing what was right and wrong but it was living your life by what you know to be right.

Charles Murray asked a really good question in his book - "If your children grow up to be courageous, temperate, able to think clearly about the consequences of their actions, to be concerned with the welfare of others, with a sense of obligation to set a good example for others in their own behavior and to accord to others their rightful due, do you really care whether they were raised to be good Christians or Buddhists?"

Sometimes we need to get our children back to basics as Charles Murray also points out - we used to encourage children to play sports so that they learned "fair play, courage in adversity, loyalty to teammates, modesty in victory, dignity in defeat." - certainly gives food for thought .......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Marketing Tip of the Week and Success

I received this via email today (one of the numerous email subscriptions I have these days!)

Artists are notoriously bad at marketing and promotion - they simply want to hide away in their studios and create - however there really is no benefit (or need) to being a starving, struggling artist - we need to be savvy - we need to sell to purchase materials - to feed ourselves so that we can survive and create more.

It may not be easy - but its simple - sooooo ......

Marketing Tip of the Week
- Set aside time in your diary for marketing.
- Use this time to create and send direct mail, do email newsletters, or arrange post box drops.
- Write ads and test them.
- Give talks to relevant audiences.
- Promote your web site.
- Make cold calls.
- Present proposals and follow them up.
- Not all marketing is equal - work out what works for you, and spend your time on what gets you results.

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek." - Mario Andretti

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Title: Confusion
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Acrylic on canvas - hand painted dots in black, white and grey on red background
Size: 30cm x 30cm
For Sale at Mercure Hotel, Customs St, Auckland
Yay! I have finally finished my 4 paintings for the Mercure Hotel on Monday.
Also the NZ Health Industry Awards website has gone live so you can now check out all the amazing artworks up for auction.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Title: Contained
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Acrylic on canvas. All the dots are hand paintined in white, black and grey on a deep red backbround.
Size: 30cm x 30cm
For Sale at the Mercure Hotel, Customs St, Auckland

I really enjoyed doing the one for the NZ Shore Plover auction with this design - completely different pattern and background - but similar concept.

Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do. - Napolean Hill

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. - Ambrose Bierce
Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. - Thomas Jefferson

Friday, September 5, 2008


Title: Radiate
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Acrylic on canvas. All dots are hand painted in black, white and grey on a red background.
Size: 30cm x 30cm
For Sale at Merucre Hotel, Customs St, Auckland

To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being. -John Lubbock

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fractured - red abstract painting

Title: Fractured
Media: Acrylic on canvas - all the dots are hand painted in grey, black and white on a deep red background
Size: 30cm x 30cm
For Sale at the Mercure Hotel, Customs St, Auckland

I've been busy creating 4 small new artworks for the Mercure Hotel in Hobson Street, Auckland These will be exhibited in their restaurant from Sept 8th til Dec 8th. The Restaurant is at the top of the Hotel and has stunning harbour and city views.

This artwork is one of my dotty paintings - quite a different design from my others - its called fractured - which is how I'm feeling at the moment a bit - so many projects on the go - and many commitments - that I'm pulled in so many directions ....

My friend sent me this quote today - I think shes trying to tell me something ;-) I think I might just heed the advice - thanks :-)

Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work. - Ralph Marston‏

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NZ Shore Plover Charity Art Auction - Artworks

The artwork is hung - and now listed on the NZ Society website. Check them out here

Amazing artworks by NZ Artists Elspeth Alix Batt, Sally Blyth, Sophia Elise, Nancy Frazer, Chavah Kinloch, Tony Brown, Tania Verrant (all NZ Art Guild Members) and NZ Artists Kay de la Tour Scott, Jono Carmichael, Jonathan Clark, Judy Ellis, Mary Jane Kay, Steve Moase, Rae West and Graham Young.

If you're in London an event not to be missed!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

NZ Art for the NZ Shore Plover – Press and Preview Night - by the NZ Society UK

NZ Art for the NZ Shore Plover – Press and Preview Night
Unfortunately I'm too far away to accept the invitation to attend the preview and press evening in London ... but here is the invitation for anyone else that is interested .....

We would be delighted if you would attend our forthcoming preview night to view the art which has been donated by a number of NZ artists. This art will then be auctioned to raise funds for the NZ shore plover conservation project in New Zealand.

We are delighted that
The New Zealand High Commissioner, Derek Leask, will host the preview evening which will take place at Suze in Mayfair on Wednesday 10 September from 6.30pm until 7.30pm.

Artists who have contributed works of art include Graham Young, Nancy Frazer, Sophia Elise, Steve Moase, Kay de la Tour and we hope that you will be able to meet some of the artists at the preview evening. In 2006 this event raised more than £7,000 for the Campbell Island Teal Appeal and this year’s is expected to raise an equivalent amount – hopefully more.

The auction itself (tickets £45 each to include a gourmet menu with kiwi “champagne” and wines) will take place on Friday 10 October at the Penthouse of New Zealand House. We expect the event to be a sell-out and places are strictly limited.

We are delighted, that thanks to the support of Crown Fine Arts, we have been able to bring over nearly 10 works from New Zealand and that Tom and Susan Glynn of Suze have allowed us to display the works in their private dining room for the month before the auction.

Please RSVP by emailing or telephone Katherine Hersey-Meade on 01634 318825.

Yours sincerely
Helen Campbell
NZ Society