Interview with Nada.
SP: When did you develop an interest for painting portraits?
NS: I developed an interest for portraits during the time when I studied law at the University of Zagreb. This shortly became an obsession and then a huge passion. Thanks to the loving support of my parents, in the early seventies I left Faculty of Law and entered the Academy of Fine Arts. I spent the next five years pursuing a MFA in painting.
SP: How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
NS: My work is contemporary, colorful and organic. It is between impressionism and abstraction. The commissioned portraits are representational. I have different approaches, mainly balancing between what I see and what the subject wants or would like to see.
My subjects tend to trust to judgment and are therefore are open to my suggestions. I am also careful not to cross their comfort zone by experimenting too much. My experimental portraits are more liberated in expression, size, material and technique. However, for a few decades I have been known as an abstract painter with a focus on the exploration of process and the morphology of painting.
SP: Over the years, how has your work changed?
NS: Painting is a living organism and once you start painting it takes the direction of its own. I therefore let the process lead me toward new discovery. Change is unavoidable and I fully embrace it.
SP: Are there any areas you want to explore?
NS: Of course. There are so many possibilities and different angles to painting. The exploration beings right away because every painting has unknown possibilities that trigger new ideas. It is a never-ending excitement that has kept me driven for decades.
SP: Why do you think you are compelled to paint portraits?
NS: Faces and facial expressions of emotions inspire me. I can "read and see" through the eyes. I love people, their personalities, attitude and I understand the psychology of humans. In the end, the portrait for me is about connecting with someone's soul then just painting that image.
SP: How do you maintain momentum in your art practice?
NS: It's as easy as breathing. I don't sketch. I start directly on canvas or paper. But before that, my "laboratory" has to have everything in its place: the supplies have to be collected, the canvases stretched and prepared, fresh tubes of paint must be purchased in addition to brushes and palettes. Inspirations include music and good conversation with friends or loved ones. I then have to turn off my phone and begin painting.
SP: Are there subjects you prefer to paint?
NS: There are no preferences. Every new subject is a challenge and the colour of the chemistry and personality of the subject certainly does influence the direction of the portrait.
SP: Was your experience on Star Portraits different from what you thought it was going to be?
NS: It was a lot of fun with TV cameras around. It was also challenging to develop the portrait in the short length of time. The crew was beyond great. They were caring, warm, friendly, professional and respectful. To top it off, meeting and painting Louise Arbour, a woman of such a large personality was overwhelming. In the end, I am honoured to be an alumna of Star Portraits
SP: Where do you see yourself and your art in the future?
NS: It's all about love. A huge part of my dream I have already realized by loving, living and painting for over three decades. The price of living such excellent dream was paid by lots of emotional scars and one has to be a master to manage duality of real and artist's life. I see myself just continuing loving, living and painting till the end and for my work I'd like to see it spread on the walls of art lovers, galleries and museums.
Nada's portrait of Louise Arbour
Nada Sesar Raffay was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb, Croatia. She has resided in Toronto, Canada since 1988. Represented by the Edward Day Gallery since1997, she has exhibited extensively in Canada through them and Buschlen Mowatt Gallery,Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work has been included in a number of national and international corporate and private collections.