Emilija Pasagic

Emilija Pasagic

Emilija Pasagic

I could never describe a typical day, as in my life there is no such thing. I work when I am inspired to work, and rest while I am waiting for inspiration. I find that if I work in this way I not only feel happier and more relaxed, I also produce a more pleasing result! If there is one thing my life has taught me, it is not to plan. I believe if you have the luxury of freedom then you will enjoy life more when you learn to accept what it throws at you and accommodate changes rather than planning to avoid them. That way, if something doesn’t happen you can assume it was not meant to be and move on, rather than brood with disappointment. For me painting is a way of dealing with what life throws at me, and sharing the beauty and the passion that I see in the world around me. The art of painting is not only about making images on canvas - it is perhaps for the most part the art of hearing and seeing. If I could compose a great piece of music or write a beautiful sonnet I would do so, but I would always inject hope and joy into it. In my painting I am trying to write that happy song on canvas - to provide a melody that will bring joy to peoples’ souls.... more

The Creative Impulse...

My inspiration comes from the intensity and drama of emotional interaction between people - either involving myself or those around me; the emotions of faith, hope and love are what give me my unstoppable desire to paint. I do not have to think about what subject to choose; I feel that the images arise from the dance of life which I try to capture in the natural elements that are a feature of my work. painting brings me great joy, which is another aspect that I hope keeps my work fresh and exciting. 

In a life filled with art, I have been influenced by many things and many people. The strongest of these has been the influence of Yugoslavian artist Mersad Berber whose beautiful paintings chronicle events from bygone centuries yet betray a preoccupation with his own personal reality. I also owe a great deal to artist and personal friend Ivan Kusanic, as well as some of the older Russian artists.

The Creative Process...

I believe that a painting can be based on a single brush stroke, as long as that stroke contains sufficient emotion. I paint in order to express myself to others and to share the warmth and emotion that is always spilling out. I do not believe in closing myself off to possibilities, thus I am always ready to explore a new medium. Right now I am working mainly in oils, encaustic and pastels, with the addition of gold leaf to accentuate key elements within the composition. The encaustic technique is an ancient one, blending bee's wax and oil paint which can then be applied to paper, board or canvas; careful layering and scratching is then used to add depth and character to the finished image.


Emilija Pasagic was born in 1961 in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, but in 1993 she and her family moved to Canada and settled in Toronto. Formally educated in landscape architecture, Emilija had always enjoyed drawing and painting, but her new life sparked an artistic rejuvenation. She became involved in the vibrant Toronto art scene, joining "The Scollard Street Artistic Co-operative" and "VAO" (Visual Arts Ontario), and was encouraged to utilise her creative gift. Always unconventional she began by painting on silk, intensely detailed semi-abstract still lives and figures; she then went on to explore a variety of media, most recently experimenting with the encaustic method. . The delicacy of the images is offset by robust Mediterranean shades of crimson and ochre, bringing a contemporary feel to a traditional technique. Now an established artist, Emilija's unique style has won her a dedicated following and she has exhibited her exquisite paintings across Canada, the USA and Europe. In 1999 Emilija was awarded “Best in Show” in Experimental Media at Art Focus, Toronto.

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