Meet the Artist behind Sonya Rae Designs

Art is heart. Yes that’s my take. Every artist no matter their field puts their heart into their work. You may not like it, we get that. But for those of you who appreciate individual expression, every artist thanks you.

When I say art or artist there are many forms and talents. Right now it is my pleasure to promote an awesome artist. Trust me, there are many out there, but this incredibly talented lady, is featuring now. I hope to have the opportunity to work with other artists over different fields, and assist in their promotion, showcasing their work.Sonya Rae Erhart possesses not only, unbelievable talent, but patience way beyond most parameters. I spent some one on one time in her studio to understand her work. And, I was completely mesmerised.

I asked Sonya to tell me her story, how did you get here? And in her own words, she told me,

“Art has always been a huge passion of mine especially portraiture. Discovering the love of Airbrushing started after watching an Artist complete an amazing portrait in 20 minutes. Totally blown away….I just had to learn the skill..!!!

So I attended an Airbrushing Night Course and then an Advanced the following year. It wasn’t an easy journey though… probably took at least five months to get control of the Airbrush. The fun really began when I bought my own Badger Airbrush to practise at home. I now have four Iwata’s which I think are the Queen of Airbrushes.

Greatest satisfaction for me is seeing a client’s face after I show them my creation….especially a Commission Painting. Knowing my Art is displayed in someone’s home and enjoyed by others is extremely rewarding.”

Tools of the trade are important for any artist, and Sonya has come a long way in perfecting choices in her chosen field. From the canvas through to the types of mediums and airbrushes used, Sonya not only ran me through her processes and equipment, she did it with the enthusiasm of a beautifully proud new parent.

After projecting an image onto the canvas, Sonya then sketches the outline in pencil. Very light, so you wont pick it up in this photo, however there is a faint outline of the hat and collar. And yes, the little picture taped on the left, is what she uses to guide her way through the colours and shapes, after choosing her subject.

Always by her side, are these two adorable boys, Beau & Bobby. They keep their human Mum well within their range and ensure she always has company.I looked into the history of airbrushing, to understand its origins. The first airbrush or paint distributor/atomiser as they were first named, was patented in 1876 by Edgar Francis Stanley in Massachusetts. Crude designs were invented until Walkup who repatented his work, with a name thought of by his wife, Phoebe, “air-brush”.

At a stakeholders meeting of the new Air Brush Manufacturing Co at 7pm on 6 October 1883, the name Air Brush was formalised.

This pressurised method of painting has been improved over the years, with some amazingly talented artists continuing to wow the general population with their impressions.

The finished Clint Eastwood canvas used in this article? That is now proudly on display at a local Brisbane Northside Cafe, Aarth Cafe, who are in the process of revamping their popular cafe to include and showcase Sonyas work. All work displayed at the cafe, will also be for sale. Watch out for the article once the revamp is complete, which is when you see the completed piece. I would love your feedback, as would Sonya and Aarth Cafe owner, Sunny.

Sonya has some new experiences on the horizon, something she excitedly shared with me. Keep watching and follow her on instagram @sonyaraedesigns. Don’t be shy, contact Sonya for commission work or if you would like to purchase her art. From what I have heard and was shown, the skills of this particular artist are improving to the point of mind blowing.

Remember also to follow @dinelivetravel on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Snapchat, Stellar and Pinterest, to keep up with the talent I intend to uncover and showcase.

In the meantime, here a few of Sonyas finished works. Including both a surf and skate board. The surfboard has been signed by subject, Mark Occhilupo, unfortunately though Sonya did not get to meet him. I hope she does one day.

*All photos included in article and promotion, were taken with the permission of the artist. Should you wish to utilise photos or article content for commercial purposes, please contact the writer, or artist directly.

Velvets Restaurant, Two. Tails Winery, Nana Glen NSW

A couple of years ago, we travelled through NSW and stopped, for our very first stay at a B&B. Not only did we totally love the experience, but, the people were amazing! Oh and did I mention it was attached to a winery?? Nana Glen is less than a 30 minute drive from Coffs Harbour. An intriguing country area, with a drive through some simply beautiful locations, as you traverse Orara Way, between Coffs Harbour & Grafton.

But this location, Two Tails Winery, is beautifully inspiring. Our first visit here, we listened to the owners, as they outlined their plans for the future. A couple of years down the track, and we finally returned. To see the dreams come to fruition was not only admirable, but heartfelt. We felt like we knew this.Theres around 12 wines to taste test here. And now, there is a totally city worthy restaurant, Velvets. The Head Chef, Jodie Thornber, was Russell Crowes personal head chef for 14 years. And yes she knows her industry.

Now Ive worked with Chefs throughout the years, but, I have never, ever, met such a humble, down to earth, balanced chef as Jodie. Not only is her work amazing, she is a beautiful soul.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s, breakfast is available. Hmm, tempting, very.

Plus if you stay in the B&B, you have a choice, cook your own brekky with the breakfast food provided, or head to the restaurant at the weekends. Here you can have standard bacon & eggs, or, $10 off normal brekky menu. The standard meal, as far as I was concerned, was more than sufficient. Ok, also I didn’t have to cook or clean up, so yes, Im sold!There’s a lot of options out here. I mean seriously, who does not want to go and enjoy a long lunch. Oh! Or high tea, look at this set up! No food included yet, just the table setup.

Now that I have your attention, how about the food. Ok I’m a tapas fan. At the end of the day, meals can be too much to process, but tapas, oh yes. Pick and choose, nothing is too big.The first one trialled, was this incredibly soft, moreish, Camembert. With a delicious gooey centre, partnered with an interesting popcorn, this highly recommended dish, was delicious.

This is what I like about tapas. Not a Food Coma or overload. Have a taste, savour and enjoy. Eat as much or as little as you like. Not like a meal where you feel obligated to eat everything, plenty of choice here, seafood (check above) or perhaps the lamb meatballs below, are more to your taste. Choices are, well lets go with varied and many!

And if you’re into dessert as Hubby is, then try these, first up is the churros, followed by an crispy brandy basket ….Remember all of this is enjoyed as you overlook the vineyard. The sun sets over there and its truely mesmerising.

Watch out for the events. Throughout the year, this local venue, promotes different occasions. Support them, as you would support everything local.

We were very lucky to be included as part of the locals’s celebrations for the tapas and cocktails with music event. Tapas and cocktails $10 each. Lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Always keep in touch with Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Steller, Twitter, Snapchat and of course this website, http://www.dinelivetravel.com.

Stop, stay for a while, but enjoy. And remember the B&B. Let me know your thoughts! @dinelivetravel

Snapshot on Newcastle, NSW

As you fly into Newcastle airport, golden sands and clear blue waters stretch languidly beneath you. On this occasion the smoke haze from the many fires burning left a low fog, cloud impression as smoke drifted across the sea.

Only a very brief flight from Brisbane, it sure beats a 10 hour drive each way when time is limited.

Newcastle is morphing into its own true destination. Like a shy child who has found their identity, this seaside jewel is stretching its wings proudly for the world to see. And I believe we should be looking. There’s a light rail system being installed at the moment throughout the city, which, when finished, will be an added bonus to the area. Add that to all the construction and you can see this place is really growing. Its been a couple of years since we last stopped by here. This time, unfortunately was a very brief, less than 24 hour trip. Taking advantage of my Accor Plus membership, a booking at the fairly new Novotel Newcastle beach was organised. Take a look at this view! Shame in many ways we just didn’t have the time to sit and enjoy. Maybe next time.

And what a nice touch! On check in, Accor Plus members are given a little gift bag, containing drink vouchers, wifi and water. Very cool, just unfortunate we could not utilise those drinks vouchers on this occasion.

But, should you be looking to fill in some time, or enjoy a leisurely meal, highly recommend the superb Bar Petite. Right next to the Novotel, with charge back to your room, this bar was a fantastic place to catch up wth friends. The day we flew in cold winds left you searching for inside warmth, and we found it at Bar Petite.Their large share board was not only superb, but also filling. Delicious, garlic baguette, mince in lettuce cups, duck pieces, bratwurst sausage, and even sauerkraut, we enjoyed this intensely appetising foodie experience. Chef did well to produce this delectable delight.

With a lovely smiling, helpful and knowledgeable staff member, tending to our every need, this really was a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.We would definitely return to this bar next time we visit Newcastle. It certainly filled the spot for us with the hotel restaurant not opening for lunch.

There’s plenty of comfortable seating choices too, with couches or rustic wooden tables to choose from. Too cold on that particular day for the inviting little outside area, otherwise would have been a lovely spot to sit.

Our day ended with a function at Paymasters, an easy downhill walk from Novotel. We were upstairs in the awesome little function room on offer, sporting a long balcony and views across the harbour.

Staff were really helpful and I’m sure they would have been worn out, by the end of the evening going up and down the stairs. Not a bad way to get your steps up for the day!

Should you be considering a function in Newcastle, be sure to drop by and have a look. They have the restaurant downstairs as well, where you too could try some of these delectable dishes if you would prefer.

Our meal started with interesting little platters, full of focaccia, olives, dips and among other things, the most deliciously tasty popcorn ever!

Main meals followed with many tempting dishes on offer.Given we eat wth our eyes first, the presentation left you simply salivating. This steak meal was an absolute joy to eat. Every morsel was quite a treat.

Should you be visiting Newcastle, drop by these venues for a meal, drink or comfortable stay. Lasting memories are formed from places like these, dont be shy, drop on by!

More photos from this trip are on facebook/dinelivetravel and instagram @dinelivetravel. Enjoy!