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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thought of the day

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. -Buddha

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thought of the week

There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions. - Dana Gioia

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NZ Art Guild Win Top Spot

NZ Art Guild
Most Community-Minded Business
The David Awards 2009

We are very excited to announce that the NZ Art Guild has won the Most Community Minded Business Award in The David Awards 2009. This category is for a business which gives back to its community, e.g. local, regional or industry sector, in ways, shapes or forms which benefit the community significantly.

The David Awards recognise the unsung heroes in small businesses throughout New Zealand, whose tenacity, courage and ingenuity place them firmly at the forefront of entrepreneurship in this country. Just as David, an ordinary, unassuming young man, used shrewdness and a simple slingshot to conquer the giant Goliath, so these entrepreneurial Davids often punch well above their weight. The David Awards seek to honour these heroes in small business.

To view the video announcement, hear what the judges say and see some photos of the NZ Art Guild at work go to and select from the menu on the right of the screen to view the video clip Community Award.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Battle is on

The Battle is on for NZ Small Businesses

NZ Art Guild Battles It Out For Top Spot

The finalists in The David Awards 2009: heroes in small business have been named.

The NZ Art Guild is proud to be one of 3 finalists named in the Most Community Minded Business Category. This is a business which gives back to its community, e.g. local, regional or industry sector, in ways, shapes or forms which benefit the community significantly.

The David Awards recognise the unsung heroes in home and small businesses throughout New Zealand, whose tenacity, courage and ingenuity place them firmly at the forefront of entrepreneurship in this country.

Just as David, an ordinary, unassuming young man, used shrewdness and a simple slingshot to conquer the giant Goliath, so these entrepreneurial David’s often punch well above their weight.

The NZ Art Guild provides promotion, support, opportunities and resources to NZ visual artists and is also actively involved in the wider community by raising money and awareness for charities. In the past year they have helped raise nearly $85,000 for charity including $22,000 for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation of NZ and $9,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

Guild Manager, Sophia Elise says “We are very excited and humbled to be selected as a finalist in the David Awards. We couldn’t think of a better category for us to be – we love to give not only to the creative community but also to the wider New Zealand community and charities.”

The David Awards seek to honour these heroes in small business. The organizer of the Awards, Heather Douglas, says, “The judges felt there was a strong and varied field of entrants this year. These finalists are inspiring, courageous business people with a passion for what they do and the determination to make it work. Some have overcome considerable adversity in order to reach the success they now enjoy.”

Category winners and a Supreme Award will be announced during a live webcast on The David Awards web site from 10.30 a.m. on the 7th of October. A podcast of the event will be available for download for an extended period after the actual ceremony.

For more information go to or

Chuck Close

If you're overwhelmed by the whole, break it down into pieces - Chuck Close

Inspiration of the Day:
If you're an artist in the 21st century, chances are you've heard of master-colorist and brush-wielder extraordinaire, Chuck Close. Considered one of the most influential artists of our time, he is quite frankly, unstoppable. Recognizing his thirst to paint at a very young age, he has not allowed anything to stand in his way, maneuvering every challenge into an opportunity. At age 48, after an award ceremony, Close rushed to the hospital because of persistent chest pains. Within a few hours, Close was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a blood clot in his spinal column. But in a few months, he was back, brush strapped to a hand split, painting on a giant grid, in a new style better adapted to his more restricted brush movement. His style of photorealism built by thousands of little squares in a grid has moved art enthusiasts and critics everywhere

Sunday, August 30, 2009

People are treasures

In one of my many communications this week was a lovely gem from a fabulous lady called Sharon who owns the Longueville Gallery and is organising a child cancer fundraiser.

"One of the nicest things in this life are the unexpected treasures you meet in people that cross your path"

What a fabulous saying and so true - it is one of lifes unexpected treasures - and one that people don't seem to value enough.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In Ya Face

My very good friend and extremely talented artist - Tony Brown - is having a solo exhibition at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna in September. This is a must see of his fabulous portrait work - in his own unique style - like no other. Opening night is Wed 2nd Sep 6-9pm - would be great to see you there.
You may wonder why such a title - In Ya Face - Tony and I were mulling over a title for this exhibition a few weeks ago - just throwing phrases around, and having a general chat about nothing in particular and then he said to me - "In Ya Face" ... and I went - "that's it!!" And he went "what?" - I said "the title" ... something catchy - something people will remember - and something that refelcts the exhibition ... not only are the artworks portraits - but they are larger than life.
A bit more about Tony and his art ....

Tony Brown offers us all a vision of perseverance and triumph over turmoil. An enthusiasm to forge a better life is what fuels Tony’s passion to create works that inspire powerful and emotive responses: “I want to reach out to people who are stuck”.

Tony’s paintings, which are deeply inlaid with a locality and familiarity and in some cases, are intimately provocative, grapple with issues such as depression, loneliness, adoption and sobriety. Tony’s dark and raw works show an artist who interprets issues with an innate sense of compassion and individuality.

Through a process of rehabilitation, Tony rediscovered art as a form of expression from childhood and values the emotions he is able to stir within viewers of his work.

Tony does commissions on a frequent basis - please contact him for more information.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Title: Passion
Media: Mixed Media Painting
Artist: Sophia Elise

I was sent this email today be a very dear friend who simply said - "this reminds me of you" - after reading it I was felt very humbled ....

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. --Kojiro Tomita

Inspiration of the Day:
"Through a long series of coincidences, this 'art box' finds you. When I had to give a gift for my sister, I realized her two loves. Her first love was art, the joy of creative expression, the connection with a subtler force. In her high school graduation speech, she used a quote that summed up her perspective: an artist isn't a special kind of a person but every person is a special kind of an artist. Her second love was helping people, especially artists. To my little sis, art was always about giving, but she would sometimes doubt -- if an artist gives everything away, how do they survive? How will their spirits continue to soar? She sure is an innocent spirit. :)" What follows is an account of a touching act of anonymous kindness by a "happiness entrepreneur." [ more ]

Be The Change:
Support someone's creative expression today: listen to a song, share a notebook, encourage.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Forever - mixed media abstract

Title: "Forever"
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed media - black, red, metallic gold
Size: 20cm x 20cm
For Sale: $85 contact

The inspiration for this piece is love - how often do the words love you forever get spoken and how often is that true .... ?

There are many forms of love - friendship, family, romance ....

However it's true of all types of love that even if it does pass you are never the same.....

No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever - Francois Mauriac

Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever - June Masters Bacher

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to new understanding
with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile,
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never ever the same.

- Flavia Weedn

And true , deep genuine love is summed up by this ....

Love is the only force known to man which it is not possible to vanquish by any threat , however dire, in any ordeal, however terrible, to which it may be put. In its purity it inspires to the most wondrous sacrifice. - N Sri Ram

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stranger Things - Mixed Media abstract art

Title: Stranger Things
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed Media and Acrylic
Inspired by: Minstrels - performed by Arthur Rubenstein

Another one that is currently being exhibited at the Melodious Art Exhibition in Howick. There is some fantastic diverse art on display - make the time to go and visit and have a bite to eat in there great cafe.

Dennis Clark is a new member to the NZ Art Guild although he has many years experience as an artist and art tutor - in fact I'm attending an art workshop of his tomorrow at his studio in Torbay and I can't wait! He wrote this fantastic poem that I just have to share

An Artist's Dilemma
Dennis L. Clark

When the memory will not work
And inspiration falls down flat,
Frustration round the corners lurk,
And you don't know where you're at.

That's when you have to search the heart
and look inside your very soul
to find the answer from the start
As you through the remembrance stroll.

Just let your senses play their part
As you reflect upon the theme.
Let the enthusiasm of you art,
Your thoughts, produce a happy gleam.

Just when you thought you have the plot
A blankness fills the space around
The very thoughts you thought you got
Now find their place below the ground.

Don't let the worries of your life
Produce a clouding of despair.
Gather up your paints and brushes:
Paint away your every care

Fill the canvas with colours bold,
Let the colours flow as they may
Producing colours, warm, not cold
As you brush your cares away.

Applying paint with much abandon
And weaving patterns to declare
Fright must fly away, forgotten:
Determination got you there.


Take a look at Dennis' art and his workshops -

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Melodious Art Exhibition opens tonight - all invited

Title: Life's Crescendo
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed Media
Price: $390
Inspired by:
Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave)

Tonight's the night and I've been asked to say a few words about my art too at the opening - will feel a bit strange to be talking about myself for a change rather than the Art Guild and it's members.

Am looking forward to seeing all the other creations - several Art Guild members are in it - so if you're in Howick this evening at 6:30 come along to the Uxbridge Gallery - or drop in over the next week or so to see the exhibition.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Melodious Art Exhibition

Well nothing like an exhibition coming up to prompt you into finding time to paint ... and amazingly enough - I had my first "quiet day" all year ... no urgent business to attend, no phone calls, no texts, minimal emails, and no meetings. Seems like the gods were smiling on me.

Over the next few days I will share each of my creations with you.

I actually ended up combining the NZ Art Guild fortnightly challenge with the melodious art challenge.

The NZ Art Guild challenge was to create artworks with the them "Memory"using a limited palette of colour - black, white and two colours (could be any tonal variations of there)

The Melodious art Challenge gave us 4 pieces of music to create artwork to - I just love the innovation of this idea - thanks to Uxbridge Creative Centre in Howick and Melissa their Curator for inviting me to participate in this.

Artist: Sophia Elise
Title: Dance of Life
Media: Acrylic
Size: 30cm x 40cm
Inspired by: I walk the Line – Johnny Cash
Limited Palette of: Red, Black and White

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This is written by a young man serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. Thought you might find his take on the news of Michael Jackson's death interesting ......

Okay, I need to rant.

I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson. As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villian to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, andI respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn't the point of my rant.

Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the country was to ENTERTAIN people, the Amercian people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood, and even Congress sees the need to hold a "moment of silence" for his passing?

Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he's a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few decades? What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America. Where is their moment of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying "good riddence," and "thank God for IEDs?" When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a "Pop Icon?"

I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.

Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it.

Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military;
"So that others may live..."

Melodious Art Exhibition

Melodious Art Exhibition

This exciting exhibition brings together music and art. Local Musicians Katharine and Peter Watts have hand picked four pieces of inspiring music for artist to visually illustrate.

Where: Uxbridge Gallery,
Howick's Creative Centre
35 Uxbridge Road, Howick

When: 31 July - 13 August
Opening night: 30 July at 6.30 pm with live music - All Welcome

This exhibition is by invitation only and 4 of our NZ Art Guild members are featured Kirsty Black, Sally Blyth, Sophia Elise, and Helen McNamara

I'm busy creating two pieces for this exhibition - ( I have to confess receiving the advertising flier today with my name on it really pushed me into gear to actually get onto creating the artworks!) I listened to the pieces a few months ago and knew exactly what I was going to paint and to which pieces. Watch this space for photos of them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just had to share this - it arrived in my inbox a few minutes ago - Simple Truths is an email I subscribe to (just one of many) - it was the phrase that caught my attention more so than the movie - and sums up what I've said many times before in my blog .....

It almost sounds too simple to feel important, but understanding the power of gratitude can change your life forever. Sarah Breathnach said it best...

"When we choose not to focus on what's missing from our lives
but are grateful for the abundance that's present...
we experience heaven on earth."

So sit back, relax and turn up your speakers to enjoy our new 2 minute inspirational movie from Learning to Dance in the Rain. The words, the photographs and the music are beautiful!

Don't forget to pay it forward by sharing this email with friends, family and co-workers.

Just click here to watch

Keep Dancing,
Mac Anderson
Founder, Simple Truths

Simple Truths, LLC., 1952 McDowell Road, Ste. 205, Naperville, IL 60563, USA
Phone: 800-900-3427 / 630-946-1460
Copyright 2008, Simple Truths, LLC. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Limited Edition Prints of Ngatahi for sale

Limited edition prints of the NZ Art Guild collaborative artwork Ngatahi are available for purchase. Be in quick as the print run is limited to only 100.

$5 from the sale of every print is donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

The print run is
- Printed by specialist fine art printers
- Limited to 100 and all prints are numbered.
- Choice of un-mounted so that you can choose your framing orframed by specialist fine art framers.
- Framed prints are suspended in a white, wood boxed frame and covered with glass.
- Printed on archival quality acid free art paper
- Comes with a certificate of authenticity
- Size: 410mm x 410mm unframed or 540mm x 540mm framed
- $85 unframed or $199 framed excl. postage.
- Postage: North Island - $8 South Island Postage - $12 Rural Deliver - $15

Follow this link to view image and to order or email

NZ Art Guild reveal Ngatahi

Last night was the opening night of the NZ Art Guild Annual members exhibition "Out of the Blue" as well as a Charity Art Auction to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

We had a fantastic turnout - over 200 people. All 15 auction artworks sold - including the show piece - Ngatahi. We raised in total nearly $7000 for Mental Health Foundation.

In addition to this there were 14 other sales of exhibition artworks. So a great result all round and a really fun evening full of life and fun.

Unfortunately Campbell Live pulled out last minute due to a more urgent news story so if you were waiting glued to your TV last night to see it all I'm sorry. However, if you're in the area the exhibition is on for the whole month at the Bruce Mason Centre so go on down - have a look and buy some fantastic original artwork form our very talented artists.

Now - what you have all been waiting to see ..... We are very excited to be able to reveal the NZ Art Guild 2009 Collaborative Project "Ngatahi"


Row 1: Rochelle May van der Werff, Sharlene Schmidt, Marimba Powley, Silver Dunlop, Paulette Shepherd, Rochelle May van der Werff, Jane Bold, Bobby Shen

Row 2: Helen McNamara, Wendy Matthews, Angela Laby, Cheryl Irwin, Sophia Elise, Carol Winterburn, Gail Boyle, Beate Minderjahn

Row 3: Shan Li Chen, Sandra Toornstra, RifRaf, Teresa Rodger, Christine Dempster, Trish Macready, Jen Longshaw, Sarah Marrs

Row 4: Tessa Birks, Juliet Cryns, Sally Blyth, Viv Hansen, Ronda Turk, Cath Sheard, Jennifer Christiansen, Ron Esplin

Row 5: Victoria Anderson, Rachel Inch, Mandy Hague, Tineswari Maruthamuthu, Melissa Muirhead, Catherine Outwin, Mereana Slade, Sharlene Ngatupuna,

Row 6: Michelle Whitehouse, Fiona Woods, Elspeth Alix Batt, Pam Buffery, Kirsty Black, Helen Sherrock, Linda Lloyd, Jane Santos

Row 7: Sophia Elise, Shelly van Soest, Terri Dangen, Anni Morris, Chris Cruickshank, Sofia Spirtova, Jude Blake, Sharon Burger

Row 8: Melissa Muirhead, Chavah Kinloch, Tanya Dann, Rebecca Shrimpton, Natasha Wheeler, Sue McPhee , Linda Paul, Helen Frost

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Little Motivation and Inspiration

Title: Lifes Battle
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed Media
Size: 90cm x 60cm

For Auction tomorrow night at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapune 6:30pm
100% of slae proceeds will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ
For more details go to

I received this from my dear friend lesley a couple of weeks ago .....

Our journey of life is about progress, not perfection.
It's not about doing one thing 100% better -
it's a matter of doing 100 things, 1% better each day.

Progress is evolutionary not revolutionary,
and most days we measure our progress in inches, not miles.

What matters most is showing up for your life -
whether you feel like it or not.

Ask yourself,
"What two or three little things can I do today that would move me forward?"

You'll be amazed at how much distance you can cover by taking it in increments.

The little things add up; the inches turn to miles;
and we string together our efforts like so many pearls.
Before long, look what you have - a whole strand!

Campbell Live from TV3 to be at Bruce Mason Exhibition on Thursday

I'm very excited to let you know that Campbell Live from TV3 will be filming at the opening of the annual NZ Art Guild exhibition and charity art auction "Out of the Blue" on Thursday 2nd July 6:30pm

They have been in contact with the Mental Health Foundation of NZ (MHF) and want to film the live auction of the NZ Art Guild 2009 collaborative artwork Ngatahi. 61 members have contributed to this artwork from all around NZ. 100% of the funds raised from the sale will be donated to MHF.

If you are able to make it to the opening night - 6:30 July 2nd Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna it would be fantastic to see you there - the more the merrier - bring family and friends.

If you can't make it be sure to tune in to Campbell Live TV3 on Thursday evening at 7pm.

You're invited to be one of the first to see Ngatahi

NZ Art Guild and Mental Health Foundation of NZ proudly present
"Out of the Blue"
Charity Art Auction and Exhibition

Opening night: Thursday 2nd July 2009 at 6:30pm – Free entry – All welcome
Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr Hurstmere Rd and the Promenade,Takapuna, Auckland
Exhibition Open: 2nd - 30th July 2009. Mon to Fri 9 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4

Featuring the NZ Art Guild 2009 Collaborative Art Project
“Ngatahi”a fantastic, single artwork created by 61 artists which will be revealed on opening night and auctioned off at this one of a kind, not to missed charity event

Well known NZ artists - Nancy Frazer, Sophia Elise, Tanya Dann, Beate Minderjahn, Jennifer Christiansen, Julia Dungan, LisaSarah, Natahsa Wheeler, Alison Mulgrew, Jane Bold and Terri Dangen - have also donated fantastic artworks which will auctioned.

100% of the proceeds from the art auction will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ

To coincide with this event 42 artists from around NZ will be having a month long exhibition of original, diverse artworks depicting "Our Country, Our People, Our Culture"

We would be delighted if you would join us in the opening celebrations of this fantastic charity event - please forward this invitation on to your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else who may be interested.

For full details about this event and to view the auction catalogue go to and click on the MHF Charity Auction button.
Or take a virtual tour (sponsored by Gallery Centric)

Friday, June 12, 2009

SAFE - For the love of pigs

'Pigs, kiwis...and a king! Join Mike King and other stars at a special event as SAFE launches an exciting new initiative to help end pig suffering in New Zealand. Includes music from Flip Grater and a charity art auction.

7pm, 23 June 2009, The Events Centre, Auckland Museum, $25.

Visit!/ to find out more and book online.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Out of the Blue" Charity Art Auction and Exhibition

Don't miss - July 2nd 6:30pm - Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland

The NZ Art Guild and the Mental Health Foundation would like to formally invite you to

"Out of the Blue"

Charity Art Auction and Exhibition
Opening night: Thursday 2nd July 2009 at 6:30pm - Free entry - All welcome
Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr Hurstmere Rd & the Promenade,Takapuna Beach, Auckland
Exhibition Open: 2nd - 30th July 2009. Mon to Fri 9 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4

Featuring the NZ Art Guild 2009 Collaborative Art Project
a fantastic, single artwork created by 61 artists which will be revealed on opening night and auctioned off at this one of a kind, not to missed charity event

Well known NZ artists - Nancy Frazer, Sophia Elise, Tanya Dann, Beate Minderjahn, Jennifer Christiansen, Julia Dungan, LisaSarah, Natahsa Wheeler, Alison Mulgrew, Jane Bold and Terri Dangen - have also donated fantastic artworks which will auctioned.

100% of the proceeds from the art auction will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ

To coincide with this event 42 artists from around NZ will be having a month long exhibition of original, diverse artworks depicting "Our Country, Our People, Our Culture"

We would be delighted if you would join us in the opening celebrations of this fantastic charity event - please forward this invitation on to your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else who may be interested.

For full details about this event click <<>>
For Auction Catalogue click <<>>

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thought of the day








Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great Art Blog

There's this really great art blog I've been following- has lots of interesting articles with very real and achievable ideas for artists - check it out Tony Moffitt's Art World -

You will see that one of my paintings is featured on today's post - Tony is giving all artists the opportunity to have their art and website promoted on his blog - he's a lovely guy too - very supportive of artists and friendly.

Also - you will see on the right hand side of my blog that I am now on twitter - I read an article which was basically twitter for dummies really and I've started - slowly getting the hang of it ... please add me if you're on there.

Also been frantically busy with lots of events - can't wait to blab about them all on here - will do so in the next week ..... all very exciting stuff!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Second water colour painting

While I was doing the wash over the first one - thought I would do a second one wtih blues .... it's on a different paper ... and I quite like the effect of this one ...

I'm planning on using a piece of this in my artwork for the NZ Art Guild Collaborative project Ngatahi which is under way at the moment.

Take 2 with water colours

After Kays suggestion of another wash over the top of the water colour below here's the result ... not too sure about this - kind of looks a bit blah to me .... but its still fun playing around ....

Having a play with water colour paint

A year ago my wonderful nana passed away. She painted watercolours for many years - hundreds of them - landscapes still life but predominantly flowers. I'm lucky enough to have two of her beautiful flower water colours.

The other day I got her left over watercolour paint, brushes, paper and books. Having never used watercolours I wasn't sure where to start. So I read one of the books with basics - and still felt horribly confused esp as I'm an abstract artist. So I thought right - I will just get stuck in and have a play. This is what I did yesterday in a few minutes.

The colours a bit wishy washy - and the paper isn't flat (although I went through the process outlined for prestretching etc) hmmm maybe too much water involved! I wanted to do wet on wet to get the flowing effect of all the colours marbelling together.

Thanks to all my friends on facebook who left a message of support and also telling me how much they love watercolours themselves - I'm quite excited to see where this leads.

And Kay - Just for you I'm blogging about it ;-) hehehe

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Creative Process

At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity. - Rachel Naomi Remen

Funny - it's been said a few times to me lately that going from nursing to art as a career seemed poles apart - maybe not so much afterall .......

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friends are soul food

Sorry really bad photo of my latest abstract painting - another one done specifically for the Easter Show Art Awards . This kept me up til the early hours of the morning and I had to admit defeat eventually and go to bed before I had finished it.

Title: Love's Divide
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Acrylic - white, black and grey hand painted dots on a red background
Size: 36cm x 46cm
Today I caught up with a very dear friend of mine for lunch. It has been a couple of months since we really caught up properly - other than emails and phone calls and sadly at the funeral of her father a few weeks ago.
I can tell you though it was absolute soul food to see her. I have a couple of friends who just the thought of seeing lifts my spirits more than words can express. What treasured friendships those are.
She also gave me my Christmas present that I had accidentally left at her house - a gorgeous little daily diary with a new quote for every day - cos she knows how much I love them. And take a guess what the quotes were about - friendship.
So very fitting that I share them with you here .....
"A friend is someone who, upon seeing another friend in immense pain, would rather be the one experiencing the pain, than to have to watch their friend suffer"- Amanda Gier
"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand" - Karl Augustus Menninger

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Royal Easter Show Art Awards 2009

Here's my latest painting - it's being exhibited at the Royal Easter Show Art Awards in Greenlane, Auckland April 8th - 13th 2009

Title: Journey of Life
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed media and Acrylic - heavily textured with white, black and grey hand painted dots on a red background
Size: 61cm x 91cm
For Sale:

The act of creation is to love something that does not yet exist into existence - Stephen C Paul

Sometimes I get wrapped up in the little details of every day, and I forget to step back and look at what's really important. You're the one who brings that big, beautiful picture of life into focus for me. And as all else fades into the background, what I see is you and your love and the happiness of sharing life with you - Annonymous

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Friendships ....

Don't you just love friendships where you may not talk for months although - even though the other person is in your thoughts all the time - then when you do see each other it's like no time has passed. The bond that you have is a genuine, deep, loving one that time does not displace.

Last night I caught up with a friend of mine and we share that special bond. He's finally settled down and very loved up with his new partner. I know that he's happy and content and I'm thrilled for him. I understand that there is not the same need to see each other as frequently - nor time - and we both know that it doesn't mean we love each other any less. I am lucky that I have a few of these friendships - although we are separated by geography or life circumstances our friendships remain true and strong.

Those truly linked don't need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever. - Deng Ming-Dao

This is a special friendship for many reasons - one being that there are few people you can really truly be 100% yourself with without fear of judgement. This friend is one of those people. He and I can say whatever we are thinking or feeling - we understand each other - feel for each other - and have been there for each other through the good times and the bad. Our love and friendship is unconditional.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

With these type of friendships they are ones where you have felt an instant connection with each other - not because you share the same social circle, coffee group, work place - but because for some reason you have been drawn to the inner person and felt an immediate kinship with them.

Once in a while you meet someone, and soon you both discover the two of you are truly something special to each other... you share your thoughts and feelings so relaxed, so openly, and right away you know your friendship's truly meant to be. - Gary Harrington

It's funny - you never really know who your true friends are in life until hardship strikes and then you can be surprised to find out who your real friends are. We often find that its the people who instead of giving us advice, solutions, cures etc have actually taken the time to share our pain and treat us with gentleness.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. - Henri Nouwen

Friendships are not always easy - remember the school yard cliques, the kids that you wanted to play with that wouldn't play with you, the friend you thought was your best friend who ended up telling your secrets to others, the jealousy you felt when they were being more friendly to others than to you and the hurt when friendships ended for whatever reason. Sometimes we can still feel this way. We can never control anothers actions - only ours. All we can do in the face of these situations is to continue to be the best friend that we can be. Sometimes in life friendships are there for a time - to meet a need for one or both people and if in time they aren't meant to be don't part on bad terms send them on their journey with love and acknowledge that you just may not be part of the rest of their journey.

To love a friend intensely, yet with pure detachment;
to let him be equally or even more a friend to others;
to expect no affection, while being duly appreciative of whatever affection is given;
to think of how one can help, rather than of what gratification one can get;
to be constant in friendship and unselfish helpfulness;
to bring to the physical level the beautiful, selfless spirit of the higher planes - this is the ideal love. - N Sri Ram

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ask a busy person to do it .....

Several months ago someone said to me didn't you know that if you're always busy you will be the one that always gets asked to do things .... I had never heard that before and wanted to know why that is ..... Donald Mitchell sums it up well in the article below .... maybe I should stop being so busy then my load won't get increased ... ..alternatively I could say no..... hmmmmmm

"If You Need to Get Something Done on Time, Ask a Busy Person to Help You" by Donald W. Mitchell

One of the first things that any business leader learns is that some people can accomplish a hundred times more than other people can. Assign a critical task to one of these highly productive people, and you will be most pleased with the timely results . . . no matter how busy the person is. How do highly productive people do it? They pay attention to the following principles of working with good discipline

1. Structure work to make good use of the time available. That means if some of the required tasks take longer than others, they start those lengthy activities first. In addition, they schedule all tasks to be accomplished over the ideal length of time and completed in optimal order.

2. They only take on assignments for which they have enough time and resources to achieve good results and still meet the final deadline. Following this discipline usually means planning a project in some detail before agreeing to work on it.

3. They delegate whatever can be done acceptably by someone else so that the organization accomplishes more than it otherwise would. This means being aware of what other people in the organization are capable of doing and what they are working on.

4. They assign subtasks to outside specialists and organizations when such resources can add important value to the project results. This requires understanding the quality of work that can be done internally and externally within the necessary schedule.

5. They know which disciplines can add important benefits to an assignment. To choose the right disciplines requires a lot of continuing learning, experience with a variety of tasks, and an interest in making on-going improvements.

6. They keep asking if anything that’s been started is no longer needed. They drop activities that are unimportant or which have proven to be inappropriate.

With so much to do before becoming highly effective, how do such busy people cram in all the efforts required to become so highly productive? It 's easy: They combine a never-ending thirst to learn with efficient resources for gathering new knowledge and insights while continually polishing and building on what they already know.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No No No ....

Already this morning I have heard from two very good friends alarmed by my last post figuring that it must relate to my life in some way ... although I'm sure in the past I have been in that situation I was talking from an abstract point of view ... so don't panic guys! :-)

However, what I was doing was setting up for my blog post today which is about the
Five languages of apology .....

1) Expressing Regret - “Expressing Regret” is the apology language that centres on emotional hurt. The person is admitting guilt and remorse for causing pain to the other person. They don't try to make an excuse, they take personal responsibility and with it they make a sincere commitment to rebuild the relationship. For people who need an apology in this way they look simply for “I’m sorry”

2) Accepting Responsibility - It is very difficult for some people to admit that they’re wrong. It makes them doubt their self-worth and no one likes to be seen as a failure. However, we all make mistakes, we are going to make bad judgements that hurt people sometimes, we are going to need to admit that we were wrong and to accept responsibility for our own failures.

For many people, all they want is to hear are the words, “I am wrong.” If the apology doesn't include accepting responsibility for their actions, many people won't feel that the apology was sincere. Many people need to learn how to overcome their ego, the desire to not be viewed as a failure, and simply admit that their actions were wrong. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be less than perfect, and admitting that you make mistakes. Though this may be hard to do for some people, it makes a world of a difference to your partner who speaks this language.

3) Make Restitution - In our society, many people believe that wrong acts deserve punishment and the person who did wrong should make right. In order to be sincere with this type of apology the person first needs to know the others love language to be able to make restitution. The specific love language needs to be used (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts) to make this apology the most effective. Some people may feel as though all is forgotten with a bouquet of flowers, that may not necessarily work for the person that needs to hear they are loved.

For a mate whose primary apology language is making restitution, no matter how often you say “I’m sorry”, or “I was wrong”, your mate will never find the apology sincere. You must show strong efforts for making amends. A genuine apology will be accompanied by the assurance that you still love your partner and have a desire to right the wrong-doings committed.

4) Genuinely Repent - For some people, repentance is the main factor in an apology. Some people will doubt the sincerity of an apology if it's not accompanied by the other persons desire to alter their behavior to avoid the situation in the future. My mother used to say to us as children that sorry means you will never do it again.

One important aspect of genuine repentance is verbalising your desire to change. Though you may be trying to change inside, if you don't verbalise your desire to change to the other person then they will still be hurt. For this apology to work you need to set goals for the change. After you create realistic goals you can start implementing a plan to change. Taking small steps towards repentance instead of insisting on change all at once will increase your chances of successfully changing your ways.

Remember that change is hard. Constructive change is not always instantly successful. There will be highs and lows on the road to change. However,anyone can change their ways if they are truly and genuinely ready to repent.

5) Request Forgiveness - In some relationships, a person wants to hear the other person ask for forgiveness. They want the person to acknowledge that their is a need for forgiveness. By asking for forgiveness the person is really asking the other person to still love them. Asking for forgiveness shows the other person that you want to see the relationship fully repaired and proves to that person that you know you did something wrong and you are sincerely sorry for what you’ve done.

Requesting forgiveness means you are willing to put the future of the relationship in the hands of the other person. You are leaving the final decision up to them – to forgive or not forgive. Requesting forgiveness is a hard thing to do as it often leaves the person feeling vulnerable and with a fear of rejection. Many people find it hard to ask for forgiveness because it means admitting that you failed. However, realising that all people make mistakes at some point means that you are not alone in feeling like you have failed.

Remember don't treat forgiveness lightly. It is something to be cherished and appreciated. The act of forgiveness is hard on both ends – for the person who’s asking and for the person who’s accepting.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sit with Pain

One of the worst things is knowing that you have dealt your relationship a sever blow - maybe even irreparable. Often it wasn't premeditated and said int he heat of the moment when all you hurts drew into one explosive point and you lashed out. We all know you can't take it back and it's pretty clear when you've cut this deep because your partner goes quiet - you have cut them to the core - past the place where anger protects them. You may almost feel sick knowing that you have not only hurt your partner in this way but also disappointed them deeply.

We all want to be there for our partners int he bad times. How do you deal with it when you are the bad time - some of us run - some of project and blame the other but what we need to do is sit with our pain. We need to understand that our partner won't be able to forget what's happened even if they forgive you. Once you have sincerely apologised the only thing you can do is sit with the pain that you have caused - show them that despite the pain inflicted you are big and strong enough to live with it's consequences.

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over. – Benjamin Franklin

We seek the comfort of another. Someone to share and share the life we choose. Someone to help us through the never-ending attempt to understand ourselves. And in the end, someone to comfort us along the way. - Marlin Finch Lupus

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. - Lao-Tzu

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Five Love Languages

It still surprises me that some people haven't heard about Gary Chapman's five love languages. I almost feel that things this basic to human relationships should be taught in schools. It helps us to connect with other people and understand them thus reducing conflict, pain and hurt.

None of us in a relationship want to hurt the person we are with. We love them and want what's best for them - or we are supposed to - if not why would we choose to be with them. Sometimes we can forget that we are on the same team - and that this person isn't saying or doing (or not saying or doing) something to upset us deliberately. We all know communication is the key to a relationship - any relationship.

We want the other person to know that we love them and care for them but we all have different ways of expressing love and different ways we need to receive love. Gary Chapman broke this down into 5 basic love languages.

1) Words of Affirmation:
This person needs verbal appreciation to feel loved. It speaks volumes to them. It doesn't have to be grand words - simple things like "You look great", "You're the best cook", "I love the way you do ...." can be enough for this person to feel truly loved. Offering encouragement is another way eg. supporting a difficult decision, praising progress they've made on a project etc. If words of affirmation are the primary love language then offering encouragement will help them to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment” - Mark Twain

2) Quality Time:
Quality time is about focusing all your energy and undivided attention on the other person. Quality conversation involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a loving, uninterrupted situation. Often they are just wanting a sympathetic ear, to feel that they are truly being heard - not someone to solve their problems.

People feel most loved when they spend physical time together, doing activities that they love to do. Spending time together brings people closer and give you things that you can reminisce over in the future. Quality time and communication is a necessary ingredient to happy relationships.

3) Receiving Gifts:
Some people treasure gifts as an expression of love and devotion. They feel a lack of gifts represents a lack of love. Fortunately this is the easiest love language to learn. However, if you are a saver it may be difficult for you to understand spending money as a way of showing love - remember this is not about investing money in gifts but in your relationship.

These gifts don't need to be every day or even every week. They don’t even need to cost a lot of money. If the persons primary love language is receiving gifts then any visible sign of your love will leave them feeling happy and secure in your relationship.

4) Acts of Service:
Sometimes doing simple jobs around the house can be an expression of love as it requires time, effort and energy. This can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion.

It's essential to understand what acts of service will show that person you love them to avoid conflict in this area eg. if you spend the day washing the car and walking the dog but your partner feels that the washing and dishes are more important then they may feel unloved, despite the fact that you did many other jobs throughout the day.

It's also important that these acts of service are done out of love and not obligation. If these are done for the wrong reason than the partner doing these acts may feel resentment - they need to come from the kindness of your heart. These little sacrifices will mean the world to your mate, and will ensure a happy relationship.

5) Physical Touch:
Many people feel the most loved when they receive physical contact. Sex makes many partners feel secure and loved in a relationship. However, it is only one aspect of physical touch. It is important to understand how your partner not only physically responds but also psychologically responds to various touches. Some touches may be irritating and uncomfortable for your partner. Physical touch can be big things like back massages or lovemaking or little acts such as a hand on the shoulder or stroke of hair.

All relationships have crises and in these times physical touch is very important. A hug can communicate your huge love for that person. A person whose primary love language is physical touch would much rather have you hold them and be silent than offer any advice. Remember though that what type of touch makes you feel secure may not be what makes your partner happy.

We need to understand what it is that makes the other person feel loved. And what it is that makes us feel loved. There is no point us expressing our love to a person with gifts if their primary love language is words of affirmation. It won't matter how many gifts they get they will not feel loved. They may understand that you are showing you love them but they won't necessarily feel loved.

If we are not feeling loved in our relationship then we need to explain this to the other person - not as an attack or a criticism. Remember this may all be new to them to - they may be mortified to find out that you aren't feeling loved by them despite the things they may be saying or doing.

We often express love to our partners using our primary love language - this is a common trap we fall into - we know what we need to feel loved so give that out. But we need to make sure that that is what the other person needs.

To find out what your primary love language is

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boast, Brag and Praise

In our family, from a young age, we were taught that we shouldn't brag, boast or blow our own trumpet. Always be humble, to brag was to show arrogance. As we have got older it has been difficult for us to receive compliments and praise from others. It can be embarrassing as it draws attention to us. We also feel that people shouldn't say those things about us and we may even feel we're not worthy of them.

It took me a long time to realise that when you argued with a compliment instead of just accepting it and saying "thank you" that it actually devalued the other person and was hurtful to them - you were saying to them that their opinion didn't matter and that they were wrong. I realised that I needed to put the other person feelings before my own and say thank you. That's all they want to hear.

However, despite not bragging about ourselves we found it easy to rave about others - to point out their positives - to shout it from the roof tops for everyone to hear. Whether it was about our partner, best friend, sister or child etc. Giving "warm fuzzies" was much easier than taking them. We realised that this was one way that we make people in our lives feel valued and loved - appreciated for who they are, what they do, what they achieve - and shows everyone else that we are proud to have them in our lives.

Not everyone finds this easy to do ... but it's such an important thing to be able to do ..... think about it ...... When was the last time you bragged about your loved one - or they about you? The proud sharing of achievements, talents, things they've done that lets everyone know how much you respect each other. What do you admire about your partner? Is it that they are different, unique?

If you find it a struggle to publicly praise them - sit down and work out why that is? Praising your partner doesn't take away from you in any way - it only adds to you - shows people that you are proud to have this person in your life - makes your partner feel valued and respected and the flow on effects of improving your relationship. What have you got to loose from singing their praises?

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves - Willaim Arthur Ward

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves - Sir James M. Barrie

Friday, March 6, 2009

Differences ....

I've had many discussions over the years about what works in relationships and what doesn't - of course as expected there are numerous theories and lots of opposing views - from you need to have the same interests - to opposites attract.

Well I guess ultimately whether either of those extreme options work depends on the individuals. If the people both enjoy extending themselves, enjoy challenges, are eager to learn, enjoy new experiences and find that a necessary thing in order to ensure the relationship doesn't get boring or stale then obviously they are going to support that theory.

Or if you are happy for each other to have independent interests and different thoughts on subjects without feeling that is going to threaten your relationship then that's going to be the winning formula - accepting each other unconditionally.

However, if you're the kind of person that enjoys what you know - and have no desire to try new things - that what you know, gives you security that you crave and having someone that thinks the same and does the same things is what you want because you don't have to feel challenged - or potentially risk conflict - then obviously that's the theory you will support.

Of course if you are one extreme and your partner is the other extreme then you will find it hard to meet a common ground and that's when conflict will arise.

So I don't think it's necessarily that a certain formula is the one that works - it obviously depends on the people involved.

I would be one of the most non sporty, athletic people you could ever meet (although my teenage boyfriend begs to differ on this - apparently he thought I was quite sporty back then) I've never been interested in watching sport - or really playing it - exercise bores me.

The largest irony - today I walked my first round of gold just watching - even doing a bit of caddying - Despite living on a golf course for the first 16 years of my life - I have never ever watched a game.

I couldn't resist texting my very good friend to tell her - she said - OMG I don't even know you anymore! lol This in light of the fact in the last month I've also attended 3 touch rugby games, watched some one day cricket and rugby 7's (ok I have to confess to having to ask someone just now what that funny game was called!)

Anyway - I can't say that today's golf game was the most exciting 2 hours of my life - but I loved seeing what invokes passion in people - getting an insight and an understanding into what someone else loves.

I will never be a sportsman - or go out of my way to see the games - it doesn't ignite my inner fire - however I love learning new things - and I love being stimulated and having my horizons broadened. Amazing though how your interest can be sparked when you meet someone that is so passionately involved with something you're not. I have to admit that I felt that I was perhaps getting a bit on dimensional with all the art art art and more art in my life. Now its nice to be able to have a conversation with a non art person that is about something they are interested in.

and of course - imagine how that person feels to know that you care about them enough to take the time to listen - to learn - to really understand everything about them .....

Love makes us open our eyes - makes us want to learn - makes us want to be better people - makes us want to do something for others that we may never have done before ... what an amazing emotion love is ...

Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love - Tom Hannah

Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others. - William A. Ward

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love .....

Title: Bursting with Love
Media: Mixed Media

The quality for this month is Love. I was talking to my children on Sunday about what love really means, how do we show love, what does unselfishness of love mean etc. Naturally this flowed on to specifics of behaviours of various people in our lives and things that happen at home and at school.

So, yesterday we sat down and had a family meeting discussing the rules of the house that we all need to work on - to make the house more harmonious and more loving. The kids agreed with all the rules and they were told that once the behaviour improves then there will be a special one off family treat. This was not going to be a regular thing as the behaviours were ones that are expected of them in everyday life. (The big bonus to them is that if their behaviour improves then they don't loose privileges)

As we went through them we discussed which ones we all needed to work on and which ones were more specific for us. At the end of the meeting my son said "but you might slow us down by not improving as fast" (while I was trying to stifle my laughter my daughter replied "well we will add another rule in then - we have to work as a team at all times" Once we had agreed on the rules my son said that we should all sign it as a commitment to it and that we agreed.

This morning - what a difference - there was no yelling - they were ready before they had to leave for school - they were talking politely to each other - and listening to me. YAY! I was so proud of them - for their maturity when we discussed it - for reaching an agreement as a family - for committing to it - and for putting it into practice. And of course kids are always eager for praise and expressions of love - the kind, positive words go so much further than the negative ones.

Love for your children is like no other love in this world.

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour
I would die for you
This is the miracle of life
- Maureen Hawkins

Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them - Richard L Evans

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Loss ....

Title: Grief

My very dear friend lost her father late last week. It has been an incredibly emotional last few months for her and her family and although it was a kind release for him in the end, loss always leaves a hole for the ones left behind.

This friend has a very dear place in my children's (and my) heart - and although they have never met her father they wanted to go to the funeral so that they could be there for her. I felt that they are a bit young to go to funerals yet so they decided to write her a card each. I left them to do this on their own - to see what would come naturally. What resulted was really quite refreshingly honest.

My 9 year old son created a card with "Sorry" as the title - he drew a picture of a person with a sad face saying sorry and handing a person some flowers. That person had a smile on their face and said thanks. inside he wrote - I'm sorry about your dad and what happened to him. I wish you all my happiness and love. I hope you find joy soon. Love ....

My 7 year old daughter wrote - Sorry your dad died. Sending you lots of kisses and hugs and love. Love from ...

It makes you wonder whether sympathy and empathy are natural emotions and reactions in children - or whether they are learnt - most likely a combination of both. Loss certainly is something that brings people together in many ways.

There were two beautiful poems in the order of service that I want to share with you.

The Broken Chain
"We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone; for part of us went with you the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side. Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again." - Anon

God Saw You Getting Tired
"God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So He put His arms around you
And whispered 'Come with Me.
'With tearful eyes
We watched you suffer
And saw you fade away
Although we loved you dearly
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating
Hard working hands at rest
God broke our hearts to prove
He only takes the best.
It's lonesome here without you
We miss you more each day
Life doesn't seem the same
Since you've gone away.
When days are sad and lonely
And everything goes wrong
We seem to hear you whisper
'Cheer up and carry on.'
Each time we see your picture
You seem to smile and say
'Don't cry, I'm in God's keeping
We'll meet again someday.'

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Opportunities come from unexpected places

Title: All things Flowing
Media: Acrylic on Canvas - black, wqhite and grey handpainted dots on a red background.
Artist: Sophia Elise
For Sale

Recession - that's all we seem to hear about these days and as much as we can argue that the media is actually perpetuating the recession the reality is still that people are holding onto their money. For the first time ever an NZ Art Guild exhibition had no sales - this has never happened. However, as I keep telling the artists in the guild they need to keep their profiles up during a recession, keep on creating, exhibiting etc - you never know what other opportunities may come from that - and at least you ensure that your name doesn't disappear and you are then faced with the struggle to break back into the art market when the recession is over.

Yesterday morning was the take down of the NZ Art Guild Life Exhibition and Tony, the owner of Helena Bay Gallery, came to collect one of the artworks he bought. While he was there some other artworks caught his eye - emerging artist Linda Paul's fabulous abstract, geometric, graffiti art style almost artwork, Jennifer Christiansen kiwiana artwork and my dot art.

Often as artists we exhibit with the primary focus being sales and we forget that that isn't the only reason to exhibit - With this exhibition we may not have had any sales - but three artists got picked up by a gallery which they may not have had the opportunity for. That in itself is a huge success in my books esp for the artists concerned.

On the flip side.... Life really can be rather ironic - only 3 days before I had made the decision to enter the Royal Easter Show Art Awards and committed the three artworks from the exhibition to that - so now those three are up at Helena Bay Gallery and I had better start painting three more to replace them at the show!

Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent. – Sophia Loren

Friday, February 27, 2009

Living the frugal life ..... living the good life

I was having a chat with a friend (via email) today ... and we were both saying that living on a shoestring budget isn't such a bad thing - in actual fact we both think its really good. It makes you appreciate what the really important things are in life - what really matters - and you realise that so long as you have enough money to have a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back - then life doesn't get a lot better than that. Does it matter if your house doesn't have a 4 car garage and swimming pool? Does it matter that your clothes aren't Armani? does it matter that you're eating peanut butter and not caviar? If you have love - if you have family - if you have friends - and if you have health - then that really is all you need to be happy in life. Once again it comes back to gratitude - to counting your blessings - to appreciating what you have in life.

This year is one of my tightest years financially (as it will be for most people with the current recession etc) but as I said to my friend - I won't notice much difference as I've always searched for bargains. Price comparisons at the supermarket is second nature - never could understand paying more for something than you had to. Have always loved op shopping or buying off trademe and take great pride in some of the bargains I've found. Gives me a real sense of satisfaction when people rave about an outfit your wearing and you can say - yup cost me less than $20 from head to toe and I've had it for years. Although in saying that - some people react rather negatively when you tell them - they say shhhh you shouldn't tell people that - let them think it cost more ...I'm like why? I don't have to pretend that my clothes are labeled clothes or that they cost me 10x what they did. They don't define who I am as a person - they don't bring me the happiness in life that can only come from within.

Many years ago I had a friend that would only buy label clothes and I remember her saying that she wished she could take the label off and sew it on the outside so people could see. That sums it up - you want people to know that your clothes/car/house are the best because in society that has come to mean success. Success is measured in material items and the cost of them. Unfortunately that misconception drives people to debt - huge crippling debts in a lot cases. They still look like they are wealthy on the outside but on the inside they are struggling to make ends meet. This leads to stress and unhappiness - which is what they were trying to get rid of inthe first place.

I have always lived by the rule that if you don't have the money then you don't buy it. I hate debt - I spend wisely - save wisely - don't put stuff on HP or my credit card so even though I might not have a lot - I don't have the stress of worrying about making ends meet because I know all I have to do is pay for the basics and that having the basics is enough for me to be happy.

Having money doesnt make you successful nor does money make you happy .....

Happiness resides not in possession and not in gold, the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul - democritus

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have - Frederick Koenig

Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think - Dale Carnegie

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Paths ....

At the end of last year you will remember that I got made redundant from my nursing job ... At the time I was struggling to fit it all my commitments with Nursing, Managing the NZ Art Guild, Board of Trustees at the local art Centre, my own art and Event Management - not to mention two kids.

I've been spread so thin for so long that in the end you feel that you aren't able to give 100% to anything. The redundancy combined with the job market and high unemployment rate has given me a great opportunity to devote myself fully to the NZ Art Guild and developing my business skills.

I contemplated going back to study full time but didn't feel that was right for me at this stage. So what I'm doing instead is training through Enterprise NZ. What a fantastic scheme this is! Fully funded by the government (provided that you go through various checks, questionnaires and interviews) - then you get to attend as many seminars and workshops as you like. You have on on one training sessions, access to business mentors, multiple on line and offline resources available.....and it's free!!!

The things I'm learning are so completely different from all my years of nursing and I'm excited to be learning new skills, retraining, opening up more doors and meeting new people. It's all sooo exciting!

A lot of us believe that things in life happen for a reason - sometimes that reason isn't clear at the time. when I got made redundant I was scared - how would I make ends meet financially - what would I do for a job - how would I fit everything into my life? Well things have a funny way of working out - and now I'm in such a calm place - none of those fears are occupying my thoughts - I know I'm on the right path and I'm committed to this - I'm looking forward - following my dreams - making them become a reality.....

Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do - Pope John XXIII

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fear ....

Title: Our Land
Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Mixed media acrylic abstract in blues and greens
For Sale: at The Royal Easter Show, Auckland in April

I think fear has to be one of the strongest emotions we experience - obviously we need a certain amount of fear to avoid reckless decision making ... but of course there's fear which doesn't actually enhance our lives - like fear of failure. This fear can be so strong that it cripples us ... instead of moving forward - making a decision ...we stay stagnant. We think that it's somehow better than risking failure. However, we forget that through failure comes many other positive things - failure is never just failure - its a learning experience and will lead to positive outcomes in some way. And you never know by risking failure you may realise that in actual fact you succeed.

So where did this come from today? No this isn't about not knowing what to blog about last night - its about trying to decide what artworks to enter in the Royal Easter Show Art Awards and what categories to put them in. Yes - sounds simple - sounds easy - but for someone like myself just such a small decision can be overwhelming ... This fear of not putting the "right" artworks in or putting them in the "wrong" category - or worse still - not being as good as everyone else can be enough to stop me from entering things ... And what does not entering achieve? Nothing - just my artwork sitting at home .... what could I potentially achieve by risking entering - an award, sales, exposure ...... Whats the worst that happens if I enter and get it "wrong" - no awards, no sales - oh look at that - I still end up with exposure and maybe insight into better categories to put them in next year

Soooo ... today - I have filled out my entry form ... Paid my money ... made a commitment to 8 artworks in 4 competition categories and one artwork in the non competition section. I've done it ... and guess what - it feels like a huge weight has been lifted .... Now onto tackle the next task that seems so daunting ....

Making decisions can be scary if we have a fear of failure ... but we need to realise not making them is not progressing us ....

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing - Denis Waitley

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing - George Bernard Shaw

Monday, February 9, 2009

Artists raise $20,000 for Leukaemia

Top NZ Artist Sofia Minson has her head shaved .... (Photo by Corey Blackburn)

Before their head shaves - Left to Right - Sharlene Schmidt, Helen Sherrock, Marimba Powley, Sofia Minson, Michael Smith, Juliet Cryns, Nigel Fowler, Jenny Hammond, Jennifer Christiansen, Dave Waller, Paul Mant (Photo by Corey Blackburn)

After their head shaves - left to right - Marimba Powely, Helen Sherrock, Juliet Cryns (and daughter), Sofia Minson, Jenny Hammond, Nigel Fowler, Paul Mant, Michael Smith, Victoria Anderson, Dave Waller, Jennifer Christiansen and Carl Sandy (Photo by Corey Blackburn)

North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams shaves MP Rodne Hides head to raise funds for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation. (Photo by Cathy Lloydd)

Wow! What a great event this was last week - nearly 200 people came to support our shavers and to view and purchase artwork. The official announcement is below ......

The New Zealand Art Guild raised over $20,000 for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation of NZ (LBF) at Tuesday nights "Shave an Artist" Charity Art Auction and "Life" Exhibition. Pru Etcheverry, Executive Director of LBF, said "It was a massive success from our perspective and a great start to the "Shave for a Cure" campaign week which starts in March"

This event saw 18 people walk away bald with top NZ artist Sofia Minson being first to shave her locks. Artists Jennifer Christiansen, Marimba Powley, Helen Sherrock, Sharlene Shcmidt, Juliet Cryns, Victoria Anderson closely followed along with friends and members of the public. Not only were fantastic artworks up for sale but so was the opportunity to shave MP Rodney Hide's head. North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams, who officially opened the event, won this opportunity with a bid of $200.

The concept behind this awareness campaign was sparked by Sofia Minson who was always impressed by LBFs Shave for a Cure campaign. Sofia didn't want to do this alone so approached the NZ Art Guild to see hether we could get a group of artists together to do it. From there the idea grew into an event which included 35 artists from all around NZ.

The money raised will help support the 6 New Zealand children and adults who are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma every day. LBF receives no government funding yet provides essential support not only for those patients, but for their families - support that can last months, and even years.

The Exhibition is a celebration and appreciation of all facets of life. This theme was open to interpretation and some of the artworks are very personal as they have been inspired by artists own lives that have been touched in some way by Leukaemia or Blood disorders. The exhibition runs until Friday 27th Feb at the Bruce Mason Centre. 100% of the auctioned artworks price and 20% of the sale price of the exhibition artworks goes to LBF.

Without our sponsors this fantastic fundraising event wouldnt have been possible so a huge thank you to Creative Communities, Media 41, Tineswari Maruthamuthu, Barfoot and Thompson, Crosscut hair design, Lee and Antonela, Corey Blackburn, Artistry Chamber Ensemble and Lion Nathan.

Please let your friends, family and colleagues know about the exhibition which is open Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm and Saturday 10am - 4pm at the Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr of Hurstmere Rd and the Promendade,Takapuna Beach, Auckland- they may want to purchase a painting or make a donation to LBF.

A small selection of photos from the opening night can be viewed on the following links with more to come soon

Friday, January 30, 2009

Support our Shavers

Sofia Minson - Full article from East and Bays Courier

Helen Sherrock

Sharlene Schmidt

Journey Of Life - Shave an Artist

Artist: Sophia Elise
Title: Journey of Life
Media: Mixed media and acrylic - all dots are hand painted by brush
Size: 1010mm X 400mm

This artwork represents the journey of life - the different paths we take, the twists and turns, the branches - the path is not always smooth...we all need to realise that every person we meet in life may be bearing some kind of load that we cannot see .. treat everyone with love, sensitivity and understanding.

This is the painting that I have donated to the "Shave an Artist" charity art auction and head shave on Feb 3rd at the Bruce Mason Centre. 100% of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation of NZ (LBF).

There are 13 artworks from top NZ Artists being auctioned - take a look here for their full descriptions

There are also 13 brave people who are shaving their heads in support of this great cause. If you want to sponsor them then please go to and search for "shave an artist"

If you're not too fussed about who to sponsor then please sponsor Helen Sherrock - every dollar she raises will be matched by the company United Water!!! YAY!

Come see them on opening night - bid on an artwork - or buy one of the exhibition artworks (20% of the exhibition sales are also being donated to LBF)