Our Featured Artist of the Week – Mary Sonya Conti

September 18, 2009

Evening Light

Evening Light

ArtistsinAuction

“Until you apply things with love you cannot start living,” says artist, Mary Sonya Conti. And there is no question that she thoroughly loves what she does. You can just hear it in her voice as she explains her unique techniques. But even more so, you can see the love she puts into every single piece of her art.

“Sonya” is a self taught artist that learned her craft at a very young age – long ago when her mom started craft night for she and her six siblings. Each kid had to create a different project from things collected outside the house. It was a great form of entertainment and a great way to expand the imagination, something she fears has gotten lost these days. Sonya clearly remembers collecting river rocks and tiling the bathroom floor at seven years old – a technique that has, ironically, become really popular today.

Much of Sonya’s work is based on tactile objects found in her garden – hosta and maple leaves, gravel, moss, and even dirt. She explains that the idea is to stay connected to what is around her so as to elicit a feeling and a mood- a defined focus from the many textured elements she uses. She admits she can even produce a fragrance from certain textures. If she does her job well the viewer will connect with the piece and further spark the imagination.

Unique techniques

One popular technique Sonya uses is with gauze. Concentrated watercolors are poured over the material, which is then draped to bring texture and lines. Once the piece has dried and the material is peeled back (sometimes she leaves the material in the work), the piece conveys the feel and texture of linen, and the colors are all blended naturally. Images are built slowly in this way. She then finishes the entire work by sealing the gauze with a glaze so it won’t deteriorate. As you can imagine, it’s a very time consuming process.

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Five years ago, Sonya started teaching workshops in which she teaches her “laying” techniques, specifically, the laying of elements into color and certain pouring methods.

Her Work

“Through a Child’s Eye,” was created by highlighting the veining of hosta leaves. Acrylic inks were poured over and the “bones” were revealed once the leaves were peeled off. Then detailing began – pen and ink, as well as diluted watercolors were used to build up a glazing effect. Originally Sonya set out to create a peacock, but an excited child changed her mind in mid-creation and she just let the piece be what it was.

Through A Child's Eyes

Through A Child's Eyes

“Giving Tree” is part of a series in the ArtistChallenge.com. Artists are selected and invited to create based on a chosen theme. This one was based on the story about the giving tree, a tree that had supported a man all throughout his life. The group showcases their work in two monthly local galleries.

Giving Tree

Giving Tree

“Riviera” was a commission for the Dayton Philharmonic Opera House. It was actually housed in the ladies bathroom – greatly admired by all the women who saw it. “You have to start somewhere,” says Conti.

Home Comfort on the Riviera

Home Comfort on the Riviera

Mary Sonya Conti has two upcoming local shows in September, and she is up for selection as a mural artist for the city of Dayton, Ohio. We wish her much success.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.

To view more of Mary Sonya Conti’s work, click here.

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