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.

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