[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.
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.
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?
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…..
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.