Sonia Mattson, Bulletin 8/2021, October 2021

After Art college, I began living in the inner west and later more specifically, in Glebe. Since a Fine Art degree qualified me for very little, I acquired a teaching degree then much, much later, at 50 years old a Master’s degree in Education and Applied Linguistics. Anyway, I studied painting and drawing in the early ’80s at Alexander Mackie CAE and have continued to paint and exhibit in Australia and overseas all my life. While mostly drawing in charcoal and painting in oil on canvas, I have experimented with many mediums, including bronze sculpture and Virtual Reality. While portraiture has been one of my favourite genres because I find psychology and the human form so interesting, life painting and drawing from the model have also captivated me.

My most recent exhibition was last year at the wonderful Arthouse hotel in Pitt St. However, during this time COVID-19 struck Australia and Sydney went into its first lockdown.

Apart from being stubborn about continuing to be an artist, despite the difficulties, I have also been tenaciously committed to living in Glebe. When ESL teaching took me all over the world to live and teach in Cambodia, China, Japan and Indonesia I would always return to some share house or studio flat in Glebe.

It was the home of popular coffee shops such as The Craven, Badde Manors and Café Troppo and famous bookshops such as Gleebooks and Sappho. My favourite art deco arthouse movie theatre, The Valhalla, played cult movies and the Harold Park Hotel hosted famous authors, up and coming comedians and great live music. I saw Peter Carey there and Douglas Adams among many others at Writers in the Park. It was affordable at the time, even on my modest wages. The restaurant and pub scenes were very lively and the music scene was thriving as well as the enduring attraction of Glebe markets.

Some of these things have changed but these days I still live in Glebe (well, Forest Lodge), and I continue to love it for many qualities I have mentioned as well as its diversity, abundant nature, charming old terraces, proximity to the university as well as intrinsic quirkiness.

During lockdown, I have been painting a series of oil paintings inspired by local places including The Valhalla, Badde Manors, Glebe Point Rd and a view from Hegarty St. I am available for commissions, and you can view my artwork or contact me at or Instagram @mattsonsonia or on my Facebook page. Prints of these artworks are available for sale from my website.