Artist profile: Sonia Villiers

Her work can be found regularly at Cambridge’s Primevera gallery.

“My style evolved from looking at paintings ancient and modern and trying to figure out what made a painting special or exciting.

"I am always trying to paint in a looser way without losing the detail, and I always use colour to create light and shade, never grey or black.

"Some of my favourite artists are Caravaggio, Picasso, Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Psillos and Michalopoulos, to name just a few.”

Constantly on the lookout for her next inspiration (“A glint of light through a tree, or a lively pedestrian...”), Sonia is rarely without her camera. “I take tons of photos – often the same scene over and over from slightly di erent angles. I started doing wonky buildings to make the composition really come alive.”

Sonia’s striking depiction of King’s College featured on Cambridge Edition’s April cover and it’s a city she returns to again and again for inspiration.

“I love the colleges and the bicycles – but also the pedestrianisation, the hustle and bustle, the vitality of the students and tourists, and the colourful paraphernalia of modern living – bags, shoes, hair, clothes, posters. A painting must enhance reality and offer the audience an alternative perspective on a familiar scene.”

She adds: “I’ve been painting my whole life, but only full-time for 12 years. I attend life drawing classes too, which is so important if you want to be any kind of artist.”

What she loves most about the job is “putting your heart and soul into a piece of work and waiting for the reaction; feeling excited about the next project; staying up all night to finish a painting, and seeing the work of my students.”