About the Artst
In the Sudio
Graphite Drawings
Other Works
Tuition and Workshops


More about Sonia Jacka

I matriculated in 1978 and studied further at the University of South Africa, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Psychology. I love animals and have a passion for horses. I used to compete in show jumping and competed in the showing team representing the Free State. When I was pregnant with my second child I had an accident in the jumping ring and was advised to stop riding. This left me in a quandary. A friend saw me do some drawings and suggested I should try my hand at it. My husband Peter bought me a book on oil painting and since that day in 1997 I am totally addicted to painting. I started out by spending many months and countless hours copying paintings from the Old Masters.

When we moved from Welkom (in the Free State) to Cape Town I studied at the Ruth Prowse School of Art and Design and I did life drawing at the Frank Joubert Art Centre. I have always admired artists from America and I joined the Portrait Society of America in 2000. In 2002 I joined them for their annual Portrait Conference and in 2006 I was awarded with a tuition scholarship from the Portrait Society of America  and in 2008 I went to America for the third time to join the conference and to learn from the worlds premier portrait artists. In 2010 I invited one of the Portrait Conference teachers, Judith Carducci, to my studio to give a portrait workshop. In 2011 I did a course at ACASA (Academy of Classical Art South Africa) in Classical Drawing based on the methods of the Florence and Angel Academy in Florence Italy. In 2012 Judith retuned and gave a combined landscape and portrait workshop.




I paint in oils and enjoy doing drawings in graphite. Once I have completed a painting or a drawing I frame my own work. I only use the best art materials available in the world today.  The canvas I use is Belgium Linen and I do have a preference for Rembrandt and Winsor and Newton Artist grade oil paints. I prime my canvas first and once the primer has dried, I put a wash on it before I start the drawing  and then the painting.

How I do a portrait
I think about, and plan my paintings carefully. I want my paintings to be a honest representation of my experiences. In most cases those experiences involve another person or animal. What interests and challenges me is to captivate the expression or emotion of one moment in time.  Once composition is determined, I draw a head study in graphite, in order to get a feel for the subject. I then move to my canvas and draw my subject with paint (earth colour). Colour relationships, colour temperature and values are established from life.  I ask the sitter to come to the studio for a live sitting. I then continue to paint the portrait, referring to the many digital photographs that I have taken and loaded onto my computer. Periodically I require the client to come for a sitting. It is important to have "live" sessions because photography has many limitations.

I work in oils and light dictates the way I set up my paintings.
Sometimes I work wet-in-wet without allowing the paint to dry between layers of application, and other times I apply wet oil colour over layers of dry oil colour. I am fascinated by colour and have studied colour intensively.  I enjoy texture in my paintings and often use the palette knife.
What I strive for and hope to achieve everytime I paint is to see my subject as an abstraction and to place the little shapes of colour in the right place on my canvas with correct value and edges. 

“Painting has given me a better understanding of myself, of life and of human existence and I will always be a student of painting and I hope to always express myself in a truthful and honest way”.

Awards and Memberships

One of the winners in an international competition held in the USA, work and biography included in the 11th edition of The Encyclopedia of Living Artists published in the USA
Short-listed finalist for the Zonnebloem Art of Wine Competition, held at the National Gallery in Cape Town
Attended the Art of the Portrait Conference (Portrait Society of America) in Philadelphia
Awarded a Tuition Scholarship by the Portrait Society of America
Attended the Art of the Portrait Conference (Portrait Society of America) in Dallas
Attended the celebration of the 10th Art of the Portrait Conference (Portrait Society of America) in Philadelphia
Attended the Art of the Portrait Conference (Portrait Society of America) in Washington DC

Special Invitations and Publications

Referenced in the 11th edition of The Encyclopedia of Living Artists, USA
Designed the cover of the annual "Blue Book" of the Southern Peninsula, painting featured on the cover
Painting named "Fire" was included in the Cape of Flames, published in 2000 in Cape Town
Invited to take part in the Renaissance 2000 Project in the USA
Invited to exhibit her work in the World Fine Art Gallery in New York 
Invited to take part in the Libertine Art Auction, held in Cape Town
Demo using sight-size method published in South African Artist Magazine
Painted the portrait of Andi Peters, as part of an advert for iTV (in the U.K.)


Solo exhibition at Lanzerac Hotel, Stellenbosch
Group exhibition, South African Society of Artists, Kirstenbosch
Solo exhibition in her Noordhoek Studio
Group exhibition, Original Cape Art Group, Kirstenbosch
Solo exhibition at Longbeach Mall Art Gallery, Noordhoek
Group exhibition at Lindbergh Arts Foundation, Muizenberg
Solo exhibition at Vanilla Canvas Galleries, Wynberg
Group exhibition with Constantia Art Society, Kirstenbosch
Group exhibition with Constantia Art Society, Kirstenbosch
Group exhibition with Professional Cape Artists, Kirstenbosch
Group exhibition for "Baboon Matters" at Kirstenbosch
Solo exhibition at The Lindbergh Arts Foundation
Group exhibition, Kirstenbosch
Work on exhibition at the Noordhoek Longbeach Art Gallery
Classical Drawing Course
Solo exhibition at Decorex CTICC in Cape Town