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Sonja has been creating since childhood and pursued studies at Lansing Community College, University of Chicago (Oxbow), independent study under Denny Arnett and Eric Schultis. Many of her works are featured in private collections in Chicago and other states. Sonja has shown work at local Lansing art galleries such as Absolute Art Gallery, Walking Horse Gallery and the former Todd Mack Art Gallery.
“My great grandmother once made a big deal of a scrawled baby chick I drew with a ball point pen; this was on a piece of lined paper when I was 3. That moment she made my artist come alive in her kitchen, among rising bread, and tea leaves, “Sonja said. “I have been painting and creating for 44 years now, and like any artist we evolve along with our works, as we become so does our work. Yes there have been times in my life when I turned my back on my work, out of necessity or ignorance, but the creative force, would hunt me down.
“I believe that creativity is a divine energy, available to everyone, itʼs that huge. I feel as artists we tap into that and translate it uniquely. Most of my ideas are really based on an ʻintentionʼ and I donʼt always have an end idea in my head. Usually I feel like the painting and the paint shows me how it will be. On commissioned works this can be a challenge as the intention needs to be much more specific, but I still call in the universal help so to speak.
“I have done a lot of research on medium materials and symbolism. I often use essential oils in my mixing. I like the smell, the magic of it and the marriage of so many things having meaning to me. The idea is an old one; clove oil and lavender oil have both been used as a painting medium for a long time, though they will slow down the drying process even more. I incorporate different oils depending on the subject and what feels right. Itʼs the idea that I love most, the ritual of making the work special.
“Brown-I love brown as the primordial goo of creation and think itʼs one of the least revered colors. I use a lot of Asphaltum in my works. Itʼs transparent and a bituminous oil. It always reminds me of painting with a melted beer bottle. It was very popular in the 18th century, then it was discovered that it ʻateʼ the paintings eventually. Scrying mirrors were often painted on their posterior with the substance. Depending on what you read, itʼs considered both good and bad magic. I just stick to the good idea because I love the color. The paint I use is not true Asphaltum, but a mix of Mars Red and Bone Black. Intention again embraced.
“Before we had letters and words, man had symbols. This has been a personal journey of swimming in the collective consciousness of all. If there is a ʻsymbolʼ in my work, itʼs there with an intention, though it may or may not be clear to the viewer. Colors, shapes, feelings, being human, mystery, expression, freedom, fun, seriousness are all part of the expressive pallet, which is never-ending. My favorite thing about creating is the hugeness of never-ending. That no matter how my body or my life changes, ages, or learns, my art will continue to be the part of me that is timeless. A comfort, and little bits and guideposts of the road traveled thus far.”