Sophia trained as a printmaker and having switched from lithography to watercolour, her interest remains in light, colour, and atmosphere.
She seeks to convey sense of contemplation, of places where one can be alone, and yet feel a primal sense of belonging. Of places that are eternal, but always in flux as the seasons and light conditions change. Her paintings aim to show a meditative calm, a pictorial essence of an internal peace that can be found within nature.
She paints landscapes, looking in particular for conditions of light that give a sense of the fleeting luminous magic found in brief glimpsed moments when the constantly shifting light conditions are aligned with the colours of the landscape in a way that can make you hold your breath with the sudden beauty of a scene.
Waterway, by Sophia Stewart-Liberty
Rivers have long been important for places of human habitation: as boundaries and barriers, for drinking water, irrigation and as sources of food, transportation and places to wash. In history, rivers have been seen as spiritual places: as places to worship, or even as goddesses themselves. Offerings were left at them and the dead honoured. They were used for scrying and hydromancy: as a means of glimpsing dead souls or predicting the future.
Rivers still attract us as places of peace, contemplation and pilgrimage as we walk their banks; places to meditate and daydream. They offer moments where our chattering minds can relax so answers can arise. We walk alongside them, we slip into them to cool ourselves on hot days, we sit by them and watch for the animals associated with them: pond skaters, minnows, terns, water voles, grass snakes, damselflies or the magical blue flash of the kingfisher.
Except in deep shadow, their ripples and mirrored surfaces prevent us from seeing the water itself or the riverbed below, leaving it mysterious. There is a parallel with our minds: the reflections are like our continual obfuscating flow of thoughts, which prevent us from seeing below and into the depths of our subconscious.