Photo of Susan Pragaspathy

Susan Pragaspathy

Grand Haven, MI, United States

About the Artist: Thank you for taking the time to learn about myself and my artwork. I am contemporary oil painter who works mainly within the still-life tradition that encourages us to see beauty in everyday surroundings. I was born in western Michigan where brilliant blue waters and soft golden sand backdrop an agricultural landscape where diverse and rich cultures converge with tradition and art. Rich in art appreciation the area was at that time, I was still met with familial, societal and educational challenges early on such as art can never be more than a fun hobby and art was not offered at school until very late in high school which stifled my creative development by a lack of basic skills taught. By age 14, I had attended exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago and started to imagine the creative life of an artist. In middle school, I studied the French language and by 16, I became an exchange student in the Loire Valley. I visited the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, etc. and realized that learning French helped me travel to see great artwork. I painted my first real painting at this age which was a tulip and drew the natural world around me in sketchbooks. As I went off to Indiana University at Bloomington, some of my family members painfully criticized me for studying Art History and French. My goal was to understand an artist's inspiration, what had already been painted and why. I held onto learning French as a way to travel abroad to see paintings in person, visit art museums and artists’ studios such as Delacroix’s and Monet’s. Around this time, I had a nearly fatal car accident weeks before graduation and returning home, I had to completely rebuild my life after graduation. In time, another door opened. Life repeated itself and I held onto the French language, traveled to France as an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence at the Aix-Marseille Université and began a Master in Education at Aquinas College to teach French and art. While studying for this degree, I took my first oil painting class, saw my representational painting style starting to come to life and receive praise in the press for a sculpture I made of a life-sized man installed in a coffee house. I’ve always been an explorer and moving to Boston to be with undergraduate friends meant that I was stepping into a world almost completely unknown to me. Once there I found a new world of artists, art shows and fleetingly, I set foot into several artists' studios that provided me with a visual reference for later on in my journey. I continued to paint my favorite subjects in a representational style despite having limited skills and still not having met a teacher who would or could teach true representational painting and drawing skills. At this point, I was starting to think such a teacher no longer existed. I took painting classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts which I enjoyed but had an amazing abstract expressionist instructor. (I've heard the same story over and over again from many artists who went looking for true drawing and painting skills and had difficulty finding teachers who could teach academic painting and drawing skills which were the foundation for so many great art movements such as 19th-century Naturalism, Impressionism, and the Dutch Golden Age). Once again my whole life began to shift and so did my perspective while living abroad in England. I met artists who were seeking the same kind of skills in representational art and found teachers teaching classical academic drawing methods at London Atelier of Representational Art and at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University. I sought the same academic methods taught in England, after moving to California and continued on my artistic development from drawing into painting with Justin Hess, Sadie Valeri and at BACAA. Today I live in Grand Haven, Michigan with my family and continue my lifelong understanding of realistic and impressionistic painting methods by putting those skills to use painting and drawing daily in my studio. I love learning and continue to sharpen my skills part-time at the Grand Central Atelier with artists who have rigorous training with Jacob Collins and Ted Seth Jacobs. I count it all joy that the story continued and through a love of painting, I have built a business. In becoming a painter, I have realized that I have aligned myself with the history of visual representation that dates back to the beginning of humanity. I am humbled and grateful for the moments that have led me here: the ups and downs and the subtleties; such as seeing a pretty flower painted on a baby’s cradle in an otherwise stark gray historical home in Sweden that once reminded me of the connection between painting, joy, life, and inspiration. I am grateful for years of giving back through the service of teaching, enjoy meeting students and have a passion of helping others on their creative journey. I offer classes in painting, drawing and web design for creatives privately and through Kendall College of Art and Design's Continuing Studies department. Thank you for taking the time to read about myself and artwork. To learn more please visit my website: https://susanp.art. /////(The following is my artist statement. The formatting doesn't allow to make paragraphs and separate bio and artist statement.)///// Artist Statement: What is it that never ceases to appeal about the familiar and seeing beauty in the mundane… in food, flowers, insects, telephones or simple household utensils? The images are rewarding, comforting and yield their rich experiences in form and color in quiet measure. Perhaps it is the quality of lovingly rendered everyday objects that are proverbial, lovely as natural forms or manufactured designs. Much of my work is within the still-life tradition. The images I present encourage seeing beauty in the everyday, represent a love of nature and of representational painting methods that come handed down from centuries of hard work. Trained in methods of academic painting which is much more than brush, color and glazing techniques, it involves accuracy in drawing while painting poetically and directly from nature with emphasis on light and composition. The results can be whimsical or profound, light or dark, simple or complex. x.

Susan's ArtPrize Entries

These are Susan's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.

  • Photo of Prince Albert

    Prince Albert

    2017 ArtPrize Entry Susan Pragaspathy
    More Details

Susan's Past Work

These are images of past work that Susan has done.

  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work
  • Susan's past work