The paintings that artist and entrepreneur Sonia Sawhney creates are vibrant, textured pieces embellished with stones and glitter. Her art is an expression of her feelings, thoughts, and ideas, and her inspiration is the world around her.
Though she is an Electrical Engineer by education, she has been swayed by her passion for art.
ASAWA interviewed her for Perspectives.
Q. Tell us a bit more about your art background?
A. Art has always been a passion of mine. I loved to draw and sketch from my early childhood in New Delhi. I would sit for hours together and do artwork.
I took up commercial art in my middle school and high school years. I won many awards in school, including an award in the prestigious “Shankar’s International Painting Contest”. Later in college, I got to design the cover of the IEEE magazine for the Delhi College of Engg. Chapter.
Q. Have you been formally trained in art? A. No, not at all, I have no formal education in art. Though I have a technical background, I have always been an artist at heart.
I do what my heart says. Each piece I create is the result of many hours of research, thought, and a long painting process.
Q. How did you get back into painting? A. I came to the U.S. in 1995, and my passion somehow got submerged under responsibilities of family life and desire to settle down in a new country. I forgot that I had a talent that could be developed and brought to a new level. As life got busier and my kids came into my life, I gave up my engineering career to serve my family.
As my kids have grown up, I found myself wanting to do something new. Last year, my elder son encouraged me to get back into painting. Even though I rejected the whole idea at first (as I had not touched a brush for almost 35 years), I was intrigued by the notion and the very next day I got some supplies and started working on a piece.
I set up my online shop and instantly transformed from a homemaker into an Entrepreneur Artist. I have been blessed to have received many orders over the last 8 months since I started and I thank my son and family for the encouragement, and my customers who have kept me going.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from? A.
Inspiration is all around us. Nature and the people around me are my inspiration.
I keep my eyes open to new ideas when I am outside. From picking up a maple leaf while on my walk and imprinting it on my artwork to getting inspired from wildfires and projecting it on to my canvas, to depicting the gleaming sands of our California beaches in my own style, I express my feelings, thoughts, and ideas through the incorporation of the world around me into my art.
Q. Do your paintings follow a certain style? A. I don’t have a specific style. There is so much to explore in this world, so why stick to one style?
Though I don’t have a particular genre that I would classify my work under, I do different themes such as Indian art, landscapes, flowers, geometric patterns, total abstract fluid art, and many others.
I love abstract art. It is open to interpretation and gives you the freedom to look at the piece and understand it your own way. Q. How do you seek opportunity to bring your artwork in front of the world? A. I operate an online shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SelectionsbySonia/ that is open for all, and I promote my work on social media.
I also recently participated in the "Almaden Artists" open house organized by the Almaden Valley Community Association where I got a chance to display some of my pieces and to speak about them.
I was very fortunate to be greatly appreciated by the audience and the other professional artists. It is indeed challenging to bring one’s work to new audiences but such events encourage local artists and help them share their works with the community.
The act of creation reduces stress and anxiety and gives you a sense of fulfillment.
My artwork not only is a stress buster for me, but it has also helped me build my self-esteem. Each painting provides a new challenge and every hour that I paint, I know that I am building new skills. It is an activity that fills your being with a sense of achievement and a true satisfaction as you see your creation come to life.
Q. Sonia, thank you for your time. A. It was a pleasure talking to you and it was so nice to reminisce and share my journey with you.
For upcoming artists: My advice would be to give up all apprehensions and jump into the world of art. It will be the most satisfying experience you’ve ever had. Practice your skills, take guidance from other artists or work on skills through courses, watch videos on YouTube, and get ideas from Pinterest.
The opportunities are limitless. Just go out there and paint!!
If you would like to learn more about Sonia's journey in following her passions, or if you would like to look at her paintings, she would like to leave you with this note:
As a gesture of my appreciation, I would like to offer a special 15% discount to anyone who would like to order any of my pieces. Please contact me directly at email@example.com and let me know the piece you are interested in. You can view all the pieces by going to www.selectionsbysonia.etsy.com.
Sonia is also on Facebook: SelectionsbySonia