Monday, 6 August 2018


After graduating with a degree in Fine Arts, Sonja Frenz worked as a graphic designer, a teacher and a lecturer at the University of Pretoria. In 2004 Sonja moved to Cape Town, and quickly built up a solid reputation as an art teacher. She is a co-owner of Creative Arts Atelier in Durbanville, a fine arts supply shop and teaching studio, where she teaches about 50 students per week. She is currently taking a breather from teaching to explore her own artist voice.
A self-proclaimed lover of colour, Sonja decided to get back to basics and explore the world of monotones to deepen her knowledge of tonal values and refine her drawing skills. She presented us with a charcoal drawing of a forest landscape that holds a special place in her heart.
To start, Sonja introduced her charcoal toolkit; running through the various types of charcoal mediums and their uses, how she incorporates pan pastels, her multitude of mark-making and erasing tools, and what paper she prefers to work with.
Sonja showing us her array of drawing tools.
Sketching and talking is quite a difficult feat, but Sonja, with her years of teaching experience, smoothly navigated the show-and-tell of technique demonstration.   

Sonja giving us some wonderful advice.

She is very generous with her knowledge and gave advice on a range of topics related to being an artist, throwing in personal anecdotes to highlight lessons learnt. She emphasised the importance of planning and drawing skills, stating that the alternative is to fix it on the canvas, which is harder and more stressful. 
Sonja with her drawing.
She gave tips on how to filter information to make it relevant to your journey; to welcome what triggers your interest, and not to imitate others, but to lean into your own unique artistic voice. She gave tips on pattern-awareness, perspective, vocal points, how to bring emotion to your art, and training for true concentration. She described her love for process over product, explaining that one should not paint only to sell, but to give yourself permission to paint what you love, to explore techniques, to make mistakes and thus, to grow as an artist.

Treasurer Melanie Meyer thanking Sonja

You can find Sonja online at or on Facebook at
CAS members enjoy a 5% discount at Creative Arts Atelier

Words by Lizzie Kruger

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