I am Sonja, a watercolor artist from the Black Forest, with a passion for forests, mountains, and waters.

Forests, fog, mountains, and waters have an effect on me that is so essential that I have an overwhelming need to engage with it, to understand and express this effect.

There is this immediate something that fills me when I sit in a forest clearing and listen to the rustling of a stream. When I watch a deer in the silence of dawn or when the mist of a waterfall touches my face. A something that, decades later, can be quickly recalled from my memories, yet it never becomes entirely tangible. That is the source of my paintings.

Disappear into the fog

At the age of nine, I came to the Southern Black Forest and have since spent the majority of my life here. The Black Forest for me is wild thyme, St. John's wort, and foxglove; moss-covered stones, little streams and rivers, pollarded beech trees, firs, spruces, and fog rising from the valley.

I believe I truly got to know the fog here. Its tranquility and flowing vitality, the vague definiteness with which it ceaselessly conceals and reveals. Fog eludes human control more than darkness; even for the brightest headlights, it remains impenetrable. Anyone who has ever found themselves in a snow-covered landscape engulfed in thick fog knows how fog swallows the world. And those fortunate enough not to find themselves in a dire situation due to it, know how wonderful the temporary disappearance can feel.

The idea of wanting to capture fog on paper is obviously absurd. However, my fascination with this natural phenomenon is so great that I must continue trying.

From otters and tawny owls to watercolor painting

As a child, roaming through the forest was my favorite pastime, and animal encyclopedias were my most prized possessions. From them, I copied animals using watercolor pencils and gifted them with pride. An otter and a tawny owl I painted still hang in my grandmother's kitchen to this day. Later on, pride and confidence in my own abilities became a challenge, and as I grew up, painting increasingly took a backseat.

For years, alongside raising a child and studying, I tried to grasp nature and life through writing. But I constantly tangled myself in my thoughts and could hardly ever find the right words. At some point in the autumn of 2021, I gave painting more space in my life instead of writing. In watercolor, with its flowing, evasive character that defies complete control, I finally found the intuitive form of expression that I had so dearly missed.

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