Artist Statement

Sonja Wise Artist at her easle

My artwork is a testimonial of important places and loved ones that make our existence here in the world meaningful. In my drawings and paintings I want you to see special moments. My role as an artist is to record messages and preserve legacies just as the classical artists have done for centuries.

My art touches people because of the combination of mystery and realism combined in my drawings and paintings. The artworks may cause you to look twice and study each of the details up close. I am especially passionate about using lines and shadows and limited color palettes to portray my subjects. That's where you will see the energy that I put into every picture... in the lines and shadows with only a few colors to tell the rest of the story.



Sonja Petersen is an artist born and raised in Virginia. She offers custom artwork and is best known for her house drawings and pet portraits. She works with each customer in choosing the subject and the style of their own artwork in custom designed pieces.

She considers herself a recorder of special moments and a preserver of legacies in the same tradition of the long-ago classical artists. She takes great joy in helping people connect with important places and loved ones by capturing them in pieces of beautiful art. 

Sonja Wise Artist

Sonja started selling and commissioning individual drawings in her teens and went on to study painting and printmaking at VCU. She worked as an Events and Marketing Coordinator for the City of Fredericksburg early in her career and then owned her own graphic design studio for eight years. She's currently supervising Events and Marketing with the City, which she balances with her daily retreats to her home art studio. Her creative endeavors are fuel for her spirit and she's rarely found sitting still for too long. 

Sonja Petersen has a unique artistic talent and each customer that hires her receives individual attention. Every drawing is done with precision and care as she strives to bring her customers’ visions to life. Her creative process is uniquely her own; she provides realistic renderings that aren’t photographs but require an up close inspection of the detail.  Sonja captures the essence of a subject through her use of lines and shadows. And it's in these lines and shadows where you will see the energy that she puts into every picture.

Recent Awards

  • Fredericksburg Fine Arts Exhibit, Honorable Mention Drawing, 2018
  • Fredericksburg Fine Arts Exhibit, Honorable Mention Acrylics, 2018
  • Fredericksburg Fine Arts Exhibit, 2nd Place Drawing, 2017

Solo Exhibitions

  • Cultivating Artist Choices, Culpeper Arts Council, Culpeper, VA 2013
  • Sonja Petersen Wise Artworks, The Griffin Bookshop, Fredericksburg, VA 2010
  • Artwork by Sonja Petersen Wise, Petersen Jewelers, Culpeper, VA 2010
Group Exhibitions
  • Fredericksburg Home & Garden Show, Expo Center, Fredericksburg VA 2015-2018
  • Fredericksburg Fine Arts Exhibit, Dorothy Hart Community Center, Fredericksburg, VA 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Holiday Candlelight Tour, Caretaker's Cottage, Fredericksburg, VA 2017
  • Fredericksburg Pet Show, Expo Center, Fredericksburg, VA 2015-2016
  • Art in the Park, Farmers Market, Fredericksburg, VA  2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Mardi Gras Exhibiting Artist, Culpeper Gold and Jewelry, Culpeper VA 2015
  • Shadows and Reflections, Louisa Arts Center Purcell Gallery, Louisa VA 2014
  • Postcards from the Edge, Visual Aids, New York, NY 2013
  • Fredericksburg Art Festival, Riverfront Park, Fredericksburg, VA September 2012
  • Commerical Building Display, Art District Lafayette Blvd Bldg, Fredericksburg, VA 2012-2013
  • Paintings on Exhibit, The Pear Tree, Spotsylvania, VA March 2011
  • Meet the Artist, Autumn Songs, Culpeper, VA 2010


Recent Publications

Alison Brophy Champion, Cultivating Artist Choices, Culpeper Star Exponent, 2013

Susan Larson, Tension Between Traditional & Abstract, Front Porch Fredericksburg, January 2015

Anita Sherman, Biz Bio, Culpeper Times, October 2015