Sandra Pratt

Sandra Pratt

Artist statement:

My work is inspired by an emotional response to places I've seen and experienced, the contrasts of light and dark. I enjoy using a painting knife for the immediate bold statement it offers. I am a self-taught artist, working with main shapes to form other shapes. There is a sense of familiarity and intensity in my painting, as I sculpt the paint to form a scene of color harmony on the edge of complexity. I always work wet into wet, not going back into a painting that has dried. For me, the challenge is making the whole painting cohesive enough at a single session. As the thick paint dries, going back is not an option. If the painting isn't going in the direction I desire, I will start over rather than try to force it. It's the most precious moment when a painting reveals itself to me and I paint intuitively; the sparkly and intensity of my works is unexplainable.

I enjoy painting landscapes most of all, with scenes that all people can relate to at a very basic level: the green fields in Ireland, Paris alleys, and little white barns. I'm drawn to old structures such as falling-down barns, fences, forgotten houses, all with a sense of history, fragility, and secrets they exude.

Artists I'm inspired by include Edward Seago, Kyffin Williams, Nicolai Fechin, Sergei Bogart. All these painters have a very particular style and handle of paint manipulation which I find fascinating. My color palette has simplified over time. I used to use many colors, but now, I stick to the basic primaries of red, yellow, and blue. Sometimes I will use an earth tone or gray as the main color -- creating a color harmony easily so the focus is on shape, space, and edges rather than color. Overall, my intention is to show my viewer simplicity and a transcendent experience.


The personal and emotional nature of Pratt’s work is influenced by her self-taught approach to working with composition, oil paint, and the palette knife. Years dedicated to a singular mode of working have resulted in dexterous paint handling and a strengthening of her themes of home, community, and landscape. Her harmonious compositions are rooted in an ever-present horizon line and often entice the viewer through a strong use of linear perspective, drawing the eye into and through an anonymous village street or to the door of a lone house on the prairie.

The immediacy of Pratt’s palette knife marks and the medium to small scale of her work, provides an intimate experience of these beloved, imagined places. Pratt’s work has been exhibited at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont, with the Allied Artists of America in NY, and at the A.R. Mitchell Museum and the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado. Sandra Pratt is from Chicago, IL she currently lives in Colorado.

"She is an intuitive artist whose instinct is genuine and true. She can take in her surrounding, whether they be an alleyway in Europe, a show at a museum, or a poem from her childhood, and transcribe those ideas onto canvas. Emotional and spontaneous, she has a gut reaction to the paint and how it should be used."

-Southwest Art Magazine