As a life coach, Sofia Ansaldo encourages people to unlock new possibilities by changing the way they view the world. She practices what she preaches.
The Argentinian native had been living in Chile for just over a decade working in the pharmaceutical industry as a marketing manager. But a company restructuring inspired her to revisit her priorities. One of the items on her bucket list was getting back to painting.
The Winnetka resident was the featured artist last month at Vivid Art Gallery. Her “State of Flow” installation was a series of abstract works inspired by her brushes with nature. “I live two blocks from Lake Michigan” she said. “I go there all the time. It’s an amazing place to appreciate nature, especially in the winter. ”
For this collection, Ansaldo resolved to work outside of her comfort zone. This meant eschewing the color orange, her favorite, and one used prominently in previous work. The paintings she created for “State of Flow” evoke wintry landscapes through the use of grays and deep blues.
Ansaldo began drawing when she was very young. Her uncle bought her an easel when she was 5. She is drawn to abstract painting, she said, as a counter to her structured personality.
“This was the space I could challenge myself and feel free,” she says. “I am a dancer as well, and sometimes I dance with a brush stroke.”
Abstract painting has a “My kid can do that” stigma, but Ansaldo rejects that with a challenge: “Try it while creating balance (in the painting,) a good sense of light and color, contrast, texture and layers.”
Ansaldo became a life coach after she had an accident that required her to receive knee surgery. During her physical therapy, she developed thrombosis and almost died. She had to learn to walk again.
But she noticed other patients did not want to put in the work and do their exercises.
“I’ve always been the one who was there for family and friends,” she says. “I asked myself whether I really enjoyed being a marketing manager, or did I want to put myself in the service of others? That is what I really like doing.”
And so, while still on crutches, she enrolled at the Newfield Network in Santiago de Chile where she received her certification.
Ansaldo sees an intersection between being a life coach and being an artist in the sense that there are challenges to overcome in life as there are within the canvas.
“Each brush stroke offers me a completely new perspective, a challenge to overcome, a situation to let go or to contemplate,” she adds. “There are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.”