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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thought for the day

By happiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasureable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it. - Matthieu Ricard

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas gifts

Painting by Tony Brown

Although Christmas isn't about presents I have to say this year I was blown away, not by the gifts per se, but by the incredible thought behind several of them.

I was so spoilt by being given a stunningly, beautiful, Swarovski, crystal ornament of a butterfly on a leaf - a true work of art. The butterfly has a very special meaning to me - not because I love it as an living creature but due to the symbolism behind it. This was a present that left a lump in my throat. I want to share the symbolism behind the Celtic Tribal Butterfly "The butterfly is a symbol of the Resurrection. Rising from the seemingly lifeless chrysalis of the ugly caterpillar reminds one that after suffering through some major change in life we will be rewarded with a more beautiful phase. The spiral often symbolizes the continuity of life and spiritual growth. Out of the cocoon the butterfly arises anew."

When I was a kid I was a complete bookworm - it was a great form of escape and I could never read enough. One of my favourite series was Trixie Belden. I had the whole set 37 of them however when my marriage ended the books ended up somewhere but not with me. My two sisters this year presented me with the complete set that they had painstakingly collected from Trademe - I was just gobsmacked - I would never have thought of that for a gift - the time that was involved, effort and thought - wow!! I really am blessed with two wonderful sisters.

I was also incredibly touched by an amazing artwork from my very talented artist friend Tony Brown. (Photo above) This is a new technique of his and involves sanding back the paint on wood to create the portrait. The floral design is carved into the wood. Such a breath taking piece which brought tears to my eyes.

And lastly my very thoughtful kiddies - a new map book (because mine had pages missing) an electric can opener (we have needed a new one for years) , nail polish (I'm running out) and dressing gown (the last one I had was 10 years old and from my pregnancy days!).
I honestly felt blessed enough having these people in my life - for all their love, support, encouragement and friendship without the gifts - but the thought behind all of these just shows how fantastic they are - and reinforces again that I'm lucky to have such generous, considerate family and friends.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays etc

I would like to wish all my readers, customers, supporters, friends and family a very happy and safe Christmas and Holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Things have been very hectic this last month and my posts have got fewer and fewer - life has well and truly got away on me and I feel the need to have a clean out and start afresh with 2009. I am taking a weeks break from the NZ Art Guild Management side of things - time out just for me and my kids - and hopefully squeezing in much needed painting (have a gallery owner waiting for some art, exhibition in Jan, and one in Feb, not to mention my big exhibition in Nov) - however this week between will be my "clean slate" and planning week.

Alyson B. Stanfield (art biz coach) wrote this fantastic piece of advice .... (By the way it doesn't just have to apply to artists - extend it out, think laterally and look at your life regardless of what you do)

Tie Up Loose Ends

Seeing January 1 on the calendar is enough to get almost anyone's blood pumping. The thrill of starting fresh! The anticipation of creating new benchmarks and attaining new dreams! Oh, but wait. There's a lot of crap that you need to get rid of --stuff that might get in your way if it doesn't drive you crazy first.

What would it be like if the New Year felt... well... felt truly new?

This week's action was first inspired by a previous edition of Rachelle Disbennett-Lee's 365 Days of Coaching newsletter. She wrote:

"I have what I call a Clean Slate week between Christmas and New Year's. During this week, I clean my office, clean out files and cabinets, set up new files for the New Year and wrap up any loose ends. I also review my business and marketing plans and update them with my new goals for the New Year. And, of course, I make a new prosperity board that pictures what my goals and aspirations are for the New Year. Doing all this helps me start the New Year with a clean slate."

With Rachelle's advice in mind, make this week after Christmas or even the next 10 days just for you. Don't schedule outside appointments. This is your time to get straight with yourself. After you've carved out the time, consider the following as candidates for a good slate-cleaning.

►Task List
What has been on your list for too long? If you're procrastinating, do you really need to do it? If it's not a definite Yes, it's a No. If it is a Yes, take care of it. If you want to put highly productive habits into place,

► Studio
What's broken? What materials aren't being used that you could store or give away? What emits negative energy and stifles your creative juices?

► Filing
This is a biggie! Get those papers off your desk and off the floor and put them into some kind of system that makes sense. Set up files for the New Year. Recycle anything you don't use or could find online.

► Mailing List
Take all of those names and business cards you've been hoarding and add them to your database. This is so important that I'm offering an entire class on building and taking care of your contact list.

► Artwork
Complete a piece you've been neglecting.

► Correspondence
Write your Thank You notes from holiday gifts and send New Year's greetings to those you missed before Christmas. (Or, if you're like me, send New Year's greetings just because it's different from everyone else who sends Christmas cards.)

► Computer
Back up your files and throw out old files you no longer need. Do the same for your Web site.

► Supplies
Inventory your office and art supplies. What do you need to order that you're running low on?

► Personal Space
Tying up loose ends doesn't have to be just for your art biz. Creating a more hospitable personal space will help you run your career smoothly. Clean out cabinets, drawers, and closets. Schedule a home pick-up for anything you no longer need. Donate and recycle.

► Errands
Tackle any after-Christmas returns or supply runs and stock your pantry with staples that make menu-planning easier.
Know This . . .Tying up loose ends will give you a fresh start in the New Year.

Think About This . . . What will it feel like to tie up all the loose ends that you've been tolerating until now?

Do This . . . Tie up loose ends between now and the end of the year. You probably don't have time to take care of everything on this list, so prioritize. Go through each prompt and write down some things you'd like to make happen. Then, look at your list and decide what you'll focus on.

Copyright 2008 Alyson B. Stanfield. Alyson takes the mystery out of marketing your art and making more money as an artist. Visit to get articles just like this one delivered to your inbox.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vegetarian Artists

Back in October myself and two other talented vege artists showcased our art at the Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Festival in Auckland.

Here's the article in Vegetarian Living NZ magazine about it.

Following on from this article I received an email from an online lifestyle magazine who have asked to do a feature on me so keep an eye out for that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"10 Inspiring Last Lectures and Commencement Speeches Everyone Should Watch"

I received an email from Kelly Sonora (thanks Kelly!) who told me about an article they had just posted "10 Inspiring Last Lectures and Commencement Speeches Everyone Should Watch" Makes for some interesting viewing - and I would encourage you to make the time to hear some of these great speeches

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How quickly people seem to forget this ....

" When you are successful, remember you didn't get there on your own. Now it's your turn to reach out and help others along the way."

And I think it's important to thank those people that did help you along the way too ... none of us do it alone - as much as we think we might have there's always someone that has helped us in some was on this journey .... and of course Pass it on - pay it forward ... just like my earlier posts about Chavah's challenge ...

Thought for the day

Sent to me by my very dear friend - and the timing couldn't have been more perfect ...

''The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."
- Bob Maowoh

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have you been the recipient

of a random act of kindness?

I would love for readers to share their story's just as Chavah has on her blog (listed in the post below)

I think Christmas is a great time to reflect on our blessings - to feel gratitude - and to remember .... I have been very privileged in the friends that I have who have always been supportive and caring - they have huge hearts ... but one story I would like to share from this year is about a fabulous artist friend of mine Tony Brown (now he would be ducking for cover if he knew I was writing this as hes such a humble person who does many acts of kindness with out a second thought ... )

Earlier this year a friend of mine was having some struggles with depression and self esteem - Tony had only met her once - and asked me if I thought she would like one of his paintings ... I said she would be stoked ... so we agreed I would take some photos of her without her knowing why .. then he created an incredible artwork for her - a portrait with Maori words carved into it ... to remind her that she is beautiful inside and out and very much loved by everyone. We then surprised her by delivering it unannounced. Now Tony's generosity of spirit completely overwhelmed me (and her of course!) he didn't know her - but obviously felt for her - he spent many hours creating this artwork - using his own materials and he did it just simply to bring joy to her life and to give her hope for a brighter future ... Now that's a random act of kindness ....

Random Act of Kindness Challenge

Fellow NZ Art Guild member and fantastic NZ Artist - Chavah Kinloch - has created a fantastic Chritmas challange. Well really it should be a lifetime challenge .... Random Act of Kindness ....

This is what she says ....

"Well, can you believe it. We're in the last month for 2008. It's the season of festivities and love, where we celebrate the birth of Christ and remember all the good things that have been made possible through him. Now, whether you are religious or not, I'd love for you to take part in this challenge! It's been on my mind for the past few months. Here's what I'd like you to do. I would like whoever may stumble upon this post, to perform a random act of kindness for someone this month.

Starting date is TODAY, December 4th 2008 and this will run until the new year finishing at midnight on January 4th 2009. Once you have performed this act of kindness,
1) I would like you to blog about it on your own blog.
2) In your blogpost, I would like you to link back to this post.
3) Then leave me a comment on this post so I can view your story.
4) Once confirmed that you have indeed spread some love this holiday season, I will add your name to my lucky dip basket and on January 5th 2009 I will draw and announce the winner of this gorgeous painting (below). "

See website

Definition of a random act of kindness:
A random act of kindness is a purportedly selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases even an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities.

*You may enter more than once but must have one act per entry.
**Everyone is invited to participate no matter where you live.

For full details

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quote of the day

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. - Norman B. Rice

If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own. - Henry Ford

Thursday, December 4, 2008

thought of the day

Every single moment has a particular rhythm to it, and we have the capacity to expand or contract an individual moment as appropriate. One way to shift what's going on in our world is not to try to rush to do more, but to allow ourselves to go deeper into that moment of being present. Our ability to shift gears, to shift our rhythm to meet that moment and be present in it, is what allows us to experience the fullness of life. - Stephan Rechtschaffen

If you have the time - this is a GREAT read - well worth making the time ....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Listen .....

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention... A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. - Rachel Naomi Remen