Talented Flintshire Artist Chases Business Dream After Reaching Animal Extinction Competition Final
A talented artist from Flintshire has had success in a global conservation competition.
Sonia Garner was one of the finalists shortlisted from 1,000 entries from 47 countries for the Explorers Against Extinction Sketch for Survival competition, raising awareness of catastrophic issues including habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade and climate change.
And now the mother-of-two, from Whitford near Holywell, plans to open a studio, launch a new website, and pursue a lifelong dream of turning her creative passion into a successful start-up.
Sonia has produced hundreds of pieces over the years, from acrylic and oil paintings to sculptures and soft pastel sketches.
With her strong following on social media and the support of her husband Mark and children Joséphine and Kacie-Jane, she is ready to take the leap full-time.
Business Wales has been there with expert advice and guidance, and now – with the result Sketch for Survival giving her a boost of confidence – Sonia plans to turn her vision into reality.
“I’ve always painted and had a natural talent for it, but it was never something I did in the background,” Sonia said.
“I was very shy growing up and that was the only real way to express myself, so it’s something that means a lot to me.”
“I also love animals and wanted to be a vet when I was younger so I guess painting them is the best thing to do!”
“Being chosen as a finalist by Explorers Against Extinction has given me an additional conviction that I can and must do what I love and take to the next level, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. “
The family business saw Sonia travel all over the UK and attend different schools – from Swinton to Doncaster – before settling in North Wales.
She worked in manufacturing and administration and continued to draw and paint in the background, but with a blank canvas and renewed conviction the next step is to mix passion with commerce.
“I had wanted to be an art teacher when I graduated, but it never was; it occurred to me after years of working in administrative roles and being a mom to young children that I was going to regret if I didn’t do something, ”said Sonia, a former fine school student. -arts at John Moore University in Liverpool.
“I put the brushes down for a while, but over the last few years I’ve been prolific, it’s been non-stop, and not just animals as I’ve painted landscapes, seascapes, portraits and more.”
“I can cover most subjects, but I have a great passion for wildlife and conservation, especially endangered animals, which is why I entered the competition with the portrait of a wild dog. . “
“This will now be auctioned off for the charity, so in addition to the honor of being shortlisted, the piece will help the organization.”
Sonia is looking to give back to her community and feature in regional exhibitions, before opening a studio and meeting demand for her incredible works of art.
“I’m just going to go,” she said.
“Turning this into a business is a difficult thing to do as creatives tend not to be commercial, but I’m very determined to make it a lasting success. “
“It’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, but I’m delighted to see where my art takes me. “
For more information, visit www.soniagarnerfineart.com and follow Sonia on social media at @soniagarnerartist.