Inside Art with Sofia Welch


To work from nature on a daily basis from the live model really is an amazing opportunity and privilege unique to atelier training.'

After struggling to find the classical training she craved in a highly conceptualised educational environment, Sofia Welch went on to study at LARA for four years. Sofia is now a full time painter and teacher at LARA.

Can you explain your style?

My style is very much influenced by gothic imagery, religious iconography and the painting style of the 19th century masters. It's something that is developing and evolving in different directions as I experiment with ideas and narratives. I aim for a combination of these aesthetic influences combined with a contemporary relevance to our times, to create something new and exciting.


How did you get into art?

I am very fortunate to have an extremely creatively talented mother who from a young age encouraged me toward artistic activities of all kinds. Being an only child we would spend hours together, sculpting little figures from clay, decorating glass and pottery, drawing and painting. I have always loved it and there has never been anything I've wanted more than to pursue an artistic career.


What message are you trying to portray with your art?

The message I am trying to convey with my art is still something I am experimenting with. At the moment I am exploring the power of symbolism and how it has been used in iconographical art through the centuries. This can be seen in my most recent portraits and still lives. I'm fascinated by the contrast between the dark aesthetic of these objects/set ups and their role in producing emotional responses.


Why do you paint the way you do?

My painting style is very much influenced by 19th century representational artists. I have always admired this style of working for its sensitivity and sincerity toward capturing nature.There is so much more to them than just technique. I try to capture that same sense of impressionistic realism and spontaneity in the brush work to express life and energy that goes beyond photographic realism.


Who are your inspirations?

I have so many! My main visual inspirations actually come from film and television. Gothic series and films like Penny Dreadful, American Horror Story and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula have been big influences in my work so far. In terms of painters I am mainly inspired by contemporary artists such as Benjamin Björklund, Teresa Oaxaca, Nick Alm, Sean Cheetham and Glen Dean. A real mix but I love that they all have an extremely unique and interesting style as well as technical ability.


What techniques have you learnt at LARA?

Lara has taught me so many essential techniques needed for a career in representational art, from proportion to colour theory, portraiture, composition, breaking down complex forms into simple steps and not being afraid to make big changes to my work to better the end result.


How do you feel about LARA's teaching methods?

I feel that Lara’s teaching methods are very well designed to create a fast and steady progression of ability and training of the eye. To work from nature on a daily basis from the live model really is an amazing opportunity and privilege unique to atelier training. This combined with being taught by practising artists developing their own careers and ideas is both exciting and inspiring, reminding students of the opportunities available once training has been completed.


Sofia will be teaching the Portrait Drawing Masterclass running from 26th -30th September 2016

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