Sonia remembers drawing as always being a part of her life. When she was 6 years old, she spent endless hours copying the profile head of Marie Antoinette, hair pulled back with the curls at her neck, in one fell swoop.
Her first grade teacher, vivacious and blond, Mrs. Friedman, gave her her first recognition as an artist; she had her stand before class to show a painting of a little girl and a man alone in a boat on a pond. She was then asked to take that painting around to the other classes to exhibit.
She was fortunate that from an early age, her father would take her to museums in San Francisco, where she always gravitated to the Old Masters.
When she was 19, at a drive-in restaurant, the waitress, seeing her drawings in the back seat of the car, exclaimed “you’re the little girl from my first grade class who drew so well!”
Although she was drawn to art, and had shown some talent, it was not the time for this young woman to become an artist. Fortunately, her assignments with the State Department Foreign Service in both Europe and South America enabled her to explore the greatest paintings in some of the best museums. To study the Old Masters, Caravaggio, Titian, Ingres, Clouet, Chardin, etc., their mastery of color, composition, and light is to peek through time and space into an age long gone, but beautifully represented in their enduring masterpieces.
After 30 years dedicated to family and the business world and a move to New England, this allowed her to focus on the passion of her life, although there was still a detour as she focused on pottery and successfully sold multi-media greeting cards for a time.
In a serendipitous turn of events, she happened upon an Old Masters' Classical Painting class taught by well-known artist, Pulido, where she was able to learn the challenging and demanding techniques required of classical realism and immerse herself into her long held dream.
Sonia works with traditional oils on woven Belgian linen canvas and employs the old and traditional grisaille (meaning grey) method. This is an underpainting technique that uses a full range of paint values from white to black to create light and form, and builds upon that with opaque paint and thin glazes to produce a painting in the luminous classical realist style of the Old Masters.
Her focus is still life and portraits. Her work has been included in juried shows, galleries and in private collections throughout the United States.
Sonia works in oils on hand woven Belgian linen using only the finest materials. She employs the grisaille method (grey underpainting) which is a traditional approach and reveals the basis of the Old Masters' painting process through a clear division of labor: the underpainting and the overpainting. The image is developed through successive layers of paint as opposed to the a' la prima approach (which literally translates from Italian as first approach and refers to applying wet paint on layers of wet paint).
Sonia applies the underpainting first and it is fully developed with the building of thick paint before introducing thin glazes to produce paintings reminiscent of the luminous classical realist style of the Old Masters.
Through the ages, painters have tried to visualize the soul and character of their human subjects in portraits. A good artist is capable of adding so much more to a portrait, something that goes beyond the straightforward representation of a photograph, for example.
The same holds true for still lifes.
A good painting is not just a depiction of inanimate objects but tries to convey a more subtle message.
There has been no interruption in the popularity of classical paintings and to this day the genre has never lost its attraction.
Sonia currently works and lives in Austin, TX.