PE artist opens her home, studio to public

Sonia Strumpfer in her studio

[notice]Tania Ahlfeldt interviews fine artist Sonia Stumpfer who sees her work as an expression of her relationship with God. Strumpfer is opening her Summerstrand home to visitors over the last weekend of November.[/notice]

Spending time in Sonia’s intimate, paint spattered studio was inspiring. From the studio I gazed onto the big, much climbed tree and felt that even I could climb it. I observed paints and brushes and longed to make them work for me. In the artistic harmony which is Sonia Strumpfer’s home, many things feel possible.

  Why are you opening up your home and when?

  I am inviting PE to visit with me over the last weekend of November starting on the Friday. It is all about making art personal. I feel it’s important for the artist to meet the people and visa versa.

  What is the relationship between your faith and your art?

 For me everything we do is for God and is worship.   I knew from a young age that I was talented to draw and paint. But I always had conflicting thoughts about why on earth  God gave  me this talent. I asked: Will it bring any one to conversion? Will it  lead to  conviction? If my art doesn’t talk about Jesus directly, does it still have value?  How can you share the gospel with a painting?

  Did you resolve your conflict with the purpose of your artistic gift?

This (conflict) is the reason I trained as a general and intensive care nurse, because I thought it would have more value than art as a career. Back in the seventies art wasn’t a subject in my school, studying art wasn’t an option, so I studied BA Communication and Journalism. But art was always my hobby until 10 years ago when I took the plunge and started painting professionally. By then I had battled with the question of why God had given me this talent. The answer came in a very simple way: Why did God create a flower; it only lasts for a couple of days and then it dies? The answer, I found, is simply because it is beautiful and is there for us to enjoy. This is how I see my gifting. I cannot but be creative in the way that I celebrate God and life. God created colour, balance and harmony and He teaches me how to use it.
When I start painting I always pray over the empty canvas and ask God to help me. I pray that the works of my hands will praise Him.  I know the “Gift-giver” and want to make beautiful things…..

  But you still keep up with nursing?

 I have skills and knowledge that I just can’t let go waste, that’s why once a week I go to Kleinskool and help run a Primary Health Care Clinic for people living in poor conditions. I feel strongly that we need to sow with what we have. Art has a calming effect on me, it is therapeutic to paint after some of those Intensive Care stints!

  What can you tell me about ‘greige’?

 Both my art and my family have lived very comfortably with our warm yellow walls for the past 10 years. ‘Greige’ a beige/grey blend, is replacing my yellow and giving me new inspiration

Some examples of Strumpfer's work can be seen on her website: http://strumpfer.co.za/sonia/index.html

  Changing the colour you’ve lived with for years can be intimidating, how has it been inspirational for you?

  My art seems to pop out when placed against that colour, suddenly I am drawn into it and have begun using it in all my latest paintings. It feels more modern to me and is giving my home a freshness, plus my art a boost. I hope the people who visit my home will find inspiration in the personality of this place. Maybe they will go home and paint a wall… or a painting!

  What do you love about going into your studio?

  I love to be alone, to draw from books and magazines – then I just start working on an empty canvas. The mornings in my studio are the best times for me.

  Do you feel that all people are intrinsically creative?

 In different ways, yes. Some people can design a bridge and others can build it. Another can cut a nail that fits into this bridge, no one will ever know of this person, but their contribution could keep the whole thing together! I truly believe that all our work matters. I will go as far as to say creativity equals work. Many people also come to me saying they want to paint. I remember a man who, after one art lesson felt that it “opened up a new world to him”. There are worlds of creativity awaiting many.

  What do you hope to achieve by opening your home and studio?

  I would love to foster an understanding for art. To me art should not to be complicated. It should not require specialised understanding. For me art can be compared with a flower; it is there for a while and it’s beautiful. To sum it up – I try and create works of beauty, works that bring pleasure.

  What are you looking forward to when meeting the public?

  I look forward to sitting around my kitchen table with people sipping coffee and eating my famous shortbread, discovering their thoughts on art and life! Sonia Strumpfer is opening her home: 16 Nobbs Rd Summerstrand on Fri 25th and Sat 26th @ 10h00 – 17h00 and Sun 27th November @ 11h00 – 14h00. She will welcome both the public and the press. Some examples of her work can be seen on her website.

6 Comments

  1. Sonia’s art is generous, spacious, calm and honest – and so is a true reflection of her “self” and the way she lives her life. I am looking forward to seeing the creations that up until now only those paint-spattered walls have been witness to! See you next weekend.

  2. Great interview, revealing a very interesting, inspiring and gifted artist. I wish I lived closer so that I could feel the warmth, enjoy and be inspired by the art and of course taste that shortbread!

  3. Baie interessante en insiggewende onderhoud en maak ‘n mens nuuskierig om al haar werke te sien. ‘n Mens maak ook kennis met die fyn, begaafde en godsdienstige mens !

  4. Sonia, thank you for sharing your world with us. Your work indeed speaks Gods beauty. Good luck with the exhibition.

  5. A beautiful article. Wishing you much success with your exhibition, Sonia.

  6. Your work speaks… to all who see it, I believe it speaks as a form of worship to the One who gave you this incredible gift.
    Thank you for sharing yourself with others..