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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Original Fine Art Greeting Cards

You can now purchase my "Journey of Life" paintings (the dot artworks) as Original Fine Art Greeting Cards from NZ Niche Greetings. Check them out Sophia Elise Fine Art Cards

They approached me over a month ago - but with everything else I've been doing I forgot to post it on my blog! oops!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Instruction - Living the Life your Soul intended

I hardly have any free time to do the things I love - like reading, painting and cooking - but this last week I've stolen a few minutes here and there to read a book loaned to me by my wonderful artist friend Julia.

"The Instruction - Living the Life your Soul intended"- by Ainslie MacLeod. According to him, each of us has a soul type that describes the core of who we are. By unlocking the secrets of your purpose you can help illuminate the path of your life. Read more about the soul types and find out your SOUL TYPE now with this QUIZ...

This book has been discussed on Oprah and theres heaps on the net about it - but I would really encoruage you to read the WHOLE book - most of the stuff on the net is about the first chapter - only one part of your soul etc - there's a lot more to it than simply identifying your soul type. You can learn more about your soul type and how it influences your soul’s age, mission, talents, and challenges etc

Oh and for the record - ironically enough .... I'm a spiritualist ..... (with helper, creator, thinker all pretty much an even 2nd place)

What unites Spiritualists is a deeply held belief in a world beyond this one. You will have a desire to express your spirituality in some way, and may be drawn to religion or other spiritual practices. Many Spiritualists are highly intuitive, which is why you may have had psychic experiences in the past and why you will tend to use your sixth sense when it comes to decisionmaking.

You have a great deal of compassion, and may feel a strong need to create a better world, or to help people make the best of their lives. Charities and nonprofits are places where you and other Spiritualists can express your soul’s desire to help others. Whatever work you choose, you must feel you have a higher purpose. It is not enough for a Spiritualist type to simply pick up a check at the end of the week. There has to be a feeling that someone has benefited from your efforts. That’s why many doctors and healers are Spiritualists.

Whether you know it or not, you frequently inspire others through your behavior. By expressing Spiritualist values such as compassion, fairness, honesty and altruism, you encourage others to live by these values—especially younger Spiritualists who will wish to emulate you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

International Artist Day - October 25th 2008

October 25th is International Artists Day and it's gaining support worldwide. This grassroots movement is not mainstream as yet but artists and galleries in communities everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon. Why?

Artists are a much ignored group although almost anything you use day to day has an artistic design at its root. Throughout history art has been the most important defining characterization of a culture or people. Art survives personalities, dynasties, movements and civilizations. Artists are pioneers and are usually at the forefront of changing times and events. We might well ask why.

True art is timeless and universal and recognizable to all. Where does the inspiration for art come from? What makes some art priceless and other art mediocre? The artist themselves are the lynch pins. Art that is inspired comes from the “unexplainable” and is translated by the artist. If the artist is “tuned into” this area of consciousness, masterpiece works in painting, sculpture, music or prose can manifest. There are thousands in the arts over the centuries of this magnitude, they are natural conduits and are household names because of the recognition of their contribution to culture and humanity.

The day chosen to honor artists worldwide is October 25th, Picassos' birthday. Why this artist and not another was more a matter recent contribution. Picasso was instrumental in bringing art to the masses more than any other artist up to that time. Picasso is the iconic artist personified.

Now more than ever it is important to focus on art and culture. Mainstream television, globalization and the internet are wiring everyone up to the lowest common denominator. True living requires atunement to our common humanity which is accessed through inspiration and the arts. By giving our attention to artists, we have the opportunity for one day to focus on what is eternal and timeless in our civilization. Just as Remembrance Day is important for the pausing to reflect, Oct. 25th can give us a reason to participate in the arts personally.people, you didn't grow up with art as an important aspect of living, but “the buck stops here” when it comes to your kids and we need to take more of an interest for their sakes.

By Marilyn Hurst - Founder

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thought of the day

Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness - both the ones you have received and the ones you have given - you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter -Dawna Markova

Friday, October 24, 2008

North Shore City Art Awards Raises the Bar Even Higher

Winner Barbara von Seida with her painting "Stony Bay Coromandel"

Christopher Johnstone and Di Smallfield, judges for the North Shore City Art Awards 2008, were very impressed by the high standard of artworks, making special mention that the entries are getting stronger with every year. Artworks came from all over NZ with 83 finalists selected. This is certainly an event to keep an even closer eye on in the coming years.

Once again the Mairangi Art Centre created a fabulous opening night with live Jazz and over 150 people attending. North Shore City Mayor, Andrew Williams, officially opened the Art Awards and was particularly taken with the winning artwork by Barbara von Seida – Stony Bay Coromandel.

The judges felt the winning artwork included a wide range of painting conventions such as confident media application, a selective and complimentary palette, high viewpoint and an asymmetrical strength to the composition. Added to this was that the artwork epitomized the qualities of a contemporary context and the risk-taking they were looking for.

The artworks are diverse and eclectic ranging from traditional oils to contemporary mixed media. It’s a must see exhibition and is at the Mairangi Art Centre, Hastings Rd , Mairangi Bay , Auckland until November 15th.

Congratulations to all the award winners who also receive an annual subscription to the NZ Art Guild.

Factory Frame Merit Award - $500
Sue Collins – Moutere Coromandel

Laurie Coon Merit Awards - $500
Dana Rose – Out of the Mist

Comworth Systems Merit Awards - $500
Jos Coufruer - Children

Runner Up
Gordon Harris – The art and Graphic Store Award - $1000
Janet Williamson – Summer Sunshine

North Shore City Council Premier Award 2008 - $4000
Barbara von Seida - Stony Bay Coromandel.

The Bunnings Warehouse Peoples Choice Award of $500 will be announced at the end of the exhibition on November 15 - so make sure that you cast your vote for your favourite artwork.

North Shore City leading the way in the Arts

From Left to Right: Victoria Anderson, Margaret Copley-Bishop, Sophia Elise, Ellie Drummond, Rachel Irwin (The Fantastic Hats were created by Natalie Bliss)

ShoreSpace, a NZ first, was officially launched Tuesday 21st October 2008 at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland. North Shore City have created a first of it's kind - a unique art portal to unite all the arts organisations in the local community and further afield.

As early as 2001, the North Shore City-Te Raki Pae Whenua arts community has been working with the to find an effective way to support and promote the energy and vitality of the arts and creative activity within its communities. With ShoreSpace Arts Portal, North Shore showcases these talents and services through this interactive arts portal, in recognition of the proud and progressive arts community we are home to.

ShoreSpace is an online arts hub which gives easy access to everything that celebrates the arts in our city. All sectors are invited to register; visual, literary, performing and multi-dimensional arts and crafts, as well as technicians and other supporters of our evolving and growing creative industries sector.

Shorespace follows the model of shared governance of arts outcomes by being a collaborative initiative between the arts organisations and North Shore City Council. Shorespace will continue to support this value through ongoing development and management of the site.

Last night saw the team from Mairangi Art Centre (including NZ Art Guild Members - Victoria Anderson and Sophia Elise) taking art out to the community and getting everyone to pick up a paint brush and express their creativity. Two giant canvases were set up to encourage the hidden artist to appear - North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams was keen to show his support of the local arts community as well as his artistic flair with a painting of the Pumphouse.

To find out more about Shorespace and to become involved go to

North Shore City Mayor, Andrew Williams

North Shore City Mayor, Andrew Williams

One of the finished community Artworks which will be displayed at Mairangi Bay Art Centre

The second of the finished community Artworks which will be displayed at Mairangi Bay Art Centre
Creating the Community Artworks

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My new website

As you all know the NZ Art Guild website underwent major changes a few weeks ago - its fantastic - and offers so many more opportunities for online promotion for artists - even a free artist directory for non members to be included in!

Check out my site

I have loaded many images on yet - it takes time and I just don't have a lot of that at the moment.

Tomorrow I'm at MAC (Mairangi Art Centre) helping to hang the North Shore City Art Awards which opens on Wed night. Then Tomorrow night I'm attending the opening of the art auction and exhibition to raise funds for the Hibiscus Coast Community House in Orewa which is in need of repair. The exhibition will be on for two weeks - and the auctions are silent. (ie. Write your highest bid on a piece of paper and pop it in the box - person with the highest bid wins the auction)

Then Tuesday I'm nursing followed up by the launch of Shorespace at the Bruce Mason Centre - the new internet portal for the Whole of the North shore to isn't all the different arts together. Check out the website! Anyone that happens along that evening will see the MAC Trust Board members wearing these VERY colourful and specially designed hats by Natalie Bliss - they are awesome and you def wont miss us!

Wednesday night is the opening of the North Shore City Art Awards and it will be a fabulous event - everyone is invited - it opens at 5pm but speeches wont be until about 6pm. Be great to see you there!

I think that's enough to keep me busy so far .... :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Six Steps to a more relaxed life

I received this via email from Alexander Green - and it was very timely for me .... So thought it may be timely for some of my readers too.

Many of us lead hectic lives, feeling pressured, harried or overwhelmed by responsibilities and deadlines.

In his book "The Secret Pulse of Time," Stefan Klein argues that the culprit is modern society itself. The pace of life has accelerated over the past few decades - and we are faced with almost limitless opportunities, making it tough to decide how to best spend our time.

Klein recommends six steps to avoid being a slave to the clock, regain control of your time, and live a more relaxed life:

1. Take sovereignty over your time. Many of us have a tendency to load up our schedules unnecessarily. For example, studies show that faced with a choice between a bigger paycheck and more free time, most people go for the money. When we get home from work, many of us are still taking business calls or checking our email. Yet much of this work is unessential or can wait until the next day.

If you find you don't have time to relax, the first step is to break out of your routine. Plan your days - and weeks - more effectively. Set boundaries between work and home. Change what you're doing.

2. Live in harmony with your biological clock. Our genes determine whether we are early birds or night owls. I know I do my best work in the morning, for example. If I get waylaid early in the day by non-work-related activities, it takes me twice as long to meet my deadlines in the late afternoon or evening.

Psychologists say you can accomplish more in less time, and make fewer mistakes, by conforming your daily routine to your inner circadian rhythm.

3. Cultivate leisure time. The world seems to be made up of two types of people, those who must be goaded to work and those who have to be reminded to stop. The latter often develop the unconscious habit of believing that an hour without anything accomplished is an hour wasted.

That's so untrue. We all need to relax to achieve some balance. As Klein writes, "Two hours at a café without a cell phone, travel, a stroll, music, gardening, the almost forgotten art of conversation - all of these are occasions to modify the pace of life. Leisure does not simply happen when there is a lull in our crowded schedule. We have to create it actively."

4. Experience the moments. We all spend the majority of our time thinking about the future or reminiscing about the past rather than lingering in the present moment. It's a tough habit to break. But the present moment is all we have... or ever will have.

Our resistance to this notion is partly cultural. In the West, we tend to think in terms of efficiency and productivity. It's different in the East. The Japanese tea ceremony, for example, exists so that participants can calm down and sharpen their senses, leaving their worries and responsibilities at the door. It is a reminder that life isn't just a race against time.

Vietnamese monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hahn says, "We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive."

5. Learn to concentrate. Americans are famous for doing two things at once. We answer our email while listening to a conference call. We watch TV while we have lunch. We drive down the road, listening to the radio, nattering to the kids in the back seat and talking on the cell phone at the same time.

We think we're multi-tasking. But are we really doing any of these tasks well? Every time you turn your attention from one problem to another, you interrupt your train of thought. Important information vanishes from your working memory. Most of us can do better work in less time by concentrating on the most important task at hand and eliminating distractions.

6. Set your priorities. Life is mostly about making good choices. Do you want to be the best production manager or the best father? Do you want to earn a higher income or spend more time playing tennis and getting in shape? It's tough to excel in one area without giving short shrift to others.

Only you can decide what is most important. You may be happier working on a Red Cross event than a corporate function. You might get more satisfaction spending time with your family rather than chasing that promotion. (After all, it won't be your boss and co-workers weeping when you're gone.)

Your life revolves around the calendar and the clock. But they shouldn't dictate it.

Studies show that continual time pressures create stress - and chronic stress affects your quality of life, undermines your health and lowers your life expectancy.

The key is to slow down, prioritize your activities, and appreciate the many people and blessings that surround you.

As Henry Van Dyke said, "Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Update - NZ Health Industry Awards and UNICEF auction

What a fantastic event this was on Saturday night - Credit to Nigel Fowler and Jenny Hammond for thie vision, dedication and passion.

Great food, fabulous entertainment (my personal favourite Fiona Pears - violinist), tribute to the health industry professionals and of course the Charity Auctions for UNICEF.

Petra Bagust did a brilliant job of hosting the evening - and Alison Mau gave a very sobering talk about Women and Children wtih HIV and AIDS in Papau New Guinea.

Given NZ's current economical climate and the impending elections - it was great to see there were still people willing to get their cheque books out for UNICEF. I wish I had some spare $$ because the artwork was top - and the prices were sooooo low!

NZ Art Guild members donated all but 2 of the artworks - and two members also doanted items from their original clothing brands.

Amount raised -
Sofia Minson $2050
Sharlene Ngatapuna $700
Nataha Wheeler $600
Sally Blyth $600
Sophia Elise $500
Tony Brown $500
Julia Dungan $500
Kirsty Black - Ties $150 for 2
Beate Minderjahns fantastic range of positive kids tshirt and caps - 8 tshirts and caps for $200!!! this was the bargain of the night alongside Sofias painting valued at around $5000

Combined amount raised $5800 which was over half the total raised in the auction!

Thank you to all the artists for their generous contributions.

Update - NZ Shore Plover Art Auction

Well Friday was the Art Auction night for the NZ Shore Plover Appeal in London. NZ Art Guild member Sally Blyth was there in person - the atmosphere was great - feedback fantastic and the auction raised 10,000 pounds!!

7 NZ Art Guild members kindly doanted artwork for this event and below are the amounts raised by each (in pounds) ...

Sally Blyth 1240 !!!
Nancy Frazer 420
Tania Verrent 320
Sophia Elise 240
Chavah Kinloch 160
Elspeth Alix Batt 140
Tony Brown 100

2620 combined - over a quarter of the total amount raised! Well done guys!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NZ Art Guild Artists Shave for Leukaemia

Artist: Tony Brown
Title: Life
Media: Acrylic and Pastel

Well known NZ Artist, Sofia Minson and 9 other top NZ Artists will donate artworks for the fine art auction and line up to have their heads shaved in a fantastic, not to be missed event. The opening night is Feb 3rd 2009 at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland. All the money raised from this event will be donated to LBF.

There will also be a month long exhibition of amazing artworks depicting various aspects of life. 20% of the sale proceeds will be donated to LBF.

The Leukaemia and Blood Foundation started “Shave for a Cure” as a fundraising initiative and it has now turned into an annual event. March 9th – 15th 2009 is the official shave week and month. People are sponsored for shaving their hair off – or if you’re not quite that daring then you can always dye it purple or some other exciting colour …

For more information about the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation and Shave for a Cure go to

Or for more information about this event please contact
Sophia Elise
NZ Art Guild

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NZ Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Festival - 28/09/08

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.

On Saturday 28th Sept 2008 the annual NZ Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Festival was held at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall in Auckland. I was there for most of the day displaying art by myself and two other vegetarian artists (also members of the NZ Art Guild) - Melissa Muirhead and Michelle Whitehouse.

Over 1300 people came through in just 6 hours - the place was packed all the time - amazing food - great information and incredible atmosphere. My kids came with me and had a ball - helping on the table selling pens and bags and of course taste testing all the great foods.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mental Health Awareness Week 2008

Mental Health Awareness Week 2008 started today and runs until Oct 12th.

As you all know the NZ Art Guild donated the use of the collaborative project image Reach Out for all the promotional material and posters this year. It has already been in several newspapers and posters are everywhere. We are all very proud to have been able to contribute to this cause.

The Limited Edition Prints of Reach Out are still available through the NZ Art Guild online shop. $5 form every sales is donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

29/09/2008 09:33:00 AM

Make Your Mark For Mental Health:
Mental Health Awareness Week
October 6 – 12, 2008

Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off on October 6 this year, with “Make Your Mark For Mental Health” as the theme.

The Mental Health Foundation, who organises the annual event, says the theme is all about taking action, working with friends, family and work colleagues to promote wellbeing, celebrate difference and value diversity.

“We all have a role to play in making our mark for mental health,” says Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. “We can start by making good mental health a priority in our lives, which is just as important as looking after our physical health. In fact, the two are quite strongly linked.

“In the workplace, employers should be looking for ways to reduce stress and work with employees to promote wellbeing. For those experiencing mental illness, we’d like to see the health sector focusing on recovery rather than symptoms, and for mental health service users themselves to feel empowered to lead that recovery.”

With one in five New Zealanders experiencing some form of mental illness in any one year, the Foundation also hopes that people will be encouraged to talk about their own recovery journeys, in order to inspire others.

Sophia Elise, Manager of the New Zealand Art Guild, is one person who has decided to speak publicly about her experience of post-natal depression. Sophia was one of 88 artists who contributed to ‘Reach Out’, a collaborative Guild artwork which has been used as the main image for Mental Health Awareness Week this year.

“It really illustrates the importance of making connections,” Sophia says. “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.”

The Foundation is encouraging New Zealanders to speak up for diversity and social inclusion and realise that what they do makes a difference.

“We’d like to see people challenging any stigma and discrimination about mental illness they encounter, whether it’s at work, among friends and family, online, or in the media,” Judi Clements concludes.

Mental Health Awareness Week begins on Monday October 6, culminating on World Mental Health Day on Friday October 10; endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and marked in over 150 countries.

A calendar of events planned for the week throughout New Zealand and supporting information about the theme can be found at .


For further inquiries please contact:
Chris Banks
Senior Communications Officer
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
09 300 7028 or 021 790 236

Website packages for sale

The NZ Art Guild are now offering website packages for artists - these websites are really affordable and so easy to use. The software is fantastic - you don't need to pay someone to design, edit or maintain your website any longer - it's all made so easy for you with a Woogloo website system. They have a great content management system, full e-commerce and anything else you could imagine.

You don't have to be an artist to purchase a website package - we can design one for you whatever your business needs.

Please contact me if you're interested or want more details.

(Oh like I didn't already have enough to do! lol)

NZ Art Guild new website!

The NZ Art Guild new website went live last Tuesday.

Ok yes I should have announced it then - but seriously I have hardly had time to breathe or eat over the last few weeks - it's been crazy busy - but totally worth it.

The feedback has been great so far - a few teething problems while members adjust to the new site - but it all seems to be settling down now which is awesome!

It has an online store, payment facilities, new membership structure, new profiled artists pages, websites etc

All NZ artists can now have a free listing in the artists directory.

And we have also added a Patron membership option for those people that are passionate about NZ Art and Supporting artists.

Sooooo check it out!!