Artwork made with soul

by Central Magazine

Located in Lagos, the open art studio by Susana Calado is the ideal place to visit for those who love art and the tranquility of nature.

Article Cover Photo

The Open Art Studio offers three immersive art therapy experiences and private art classes, where you are welcome to spend time on self-reflection, developing your creativity and transmitting your emotions onto a canvas.

Susana Calado is a certified art therapist, who prepares each experience exclusively for the guests she receives, catering every detail uniquely for everyone, to ensure a special and meaningful encounter.


With Purpose

Visiting the Open Art Studio was outstanding, you are greeted with a cosy atmosphere, soothing music and pleasant aromas. The space is beautifully decorated with a variety of paintings by Susana and David Meireles and is specifically designed for each individual, from the fresh flowers, food and drinks to the nature of every experience.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

“Everything on display has a purpose, I use my intuition to set up every experience uniquely. Everybody is different, so I go with the flow, and I believe that everyone I meet comes to me for a reason”, Susana Calado told Central Magazine.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the “Be an artist for a Day and Algarve Sensation” programme, in which the theme is “Follow your dreams, they know the way”. Involving a deep talk accompanied by delicious freshly baked blueberry and almond homemade scones, an original recipe by Susana Calado, and complemented with a blend of lemongrass, lemon verbena and honey tea. All ingredients are natural, from local businesses or the host’s garden, such as the honey, for example, which was acquired from Susana’s godparents, in Pereira, Algarve.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

Followed by a creative thinking dynamic, where you are asked to interpret your dreams through a drawing, which you cannot reveal to the host. “It works like a puzzle, I use art therapy to dedicate a letter to my guests so they can project their ambitions onto the canvas, through painting, which they can take home afterwards”, Susana explained.

Creative Essence

“I feel as I’ve always had a very sensitive essence. Creativity is a huge part of me”, conveyed the artist, sharing her earliest artistic memories of painting on a piece of wood with materials belonging to her father, who was a chef at the time. “My father’s cookbooks were also a big inspiration. I like to experiment and make new recipes.” 

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

“I remember nights on the beach with my good friend Ângela Silva, playing guitar and singing together, encouraging each other to follow our dreams. We wanted to become artists”, she recalled. “Nowadays, the friendship continues, as do our ambitions.” It’s safe to say their aspirations have come true. The two have collaborated, notably with Susana creating an original painting for the cover of Ângela’s EP “Canto”.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

“My career as an artist started in 1996. At the time, I invested into having private ceramic art classes, to get more knowledge, and improve! I had my first exhibition at the Centro Cultural de Lagos, at the age of 17”, the painter said about her beginnings.

Susana works with a wide range of materials to make her paintings, particularly acrylics, resin and fibreglass. “With these resources, it’s possible to create 3D artworks, such as the painting “Alma”, in which I incorporated a violin.”

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

“Acrylic is my number one favourite material to work with on canvas and golden elements, which represent me as an artist. My rubric is my logo, a statement of evolution, a mark of my identity.”

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

Susana also indicated the source of her inspiration. “I love to be around people, getting to know about their passions, their struggles, their lives. To be able to encourage them and inspire them to do what they love, it brings me immense joy. Being surrounded by different cultures also inspires me. It’s a way to grow, to broaden my horizons. Living in such a beautiful country as Portugal, in the Algarve, near the sea, is also a big inspiration, as is music and nature.”


Taking Action

The idea for her studio started with a table. “I was always trying to find a purpose in life. I always wanted to connect, to exchange ideas. So, I built a table. After the table, I built some wooden shelves with dark wax for the terrace, all by hand. Step by step, each day, believing that it was possible.”

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

The artist characterised her paintings as artwork made with soul. “It’s all about emotions, communicating a positive message through art. Honesty is the key, as is balance of mind and heart for having a happy life.”

“Art is a way of communication. The titles of my paintings have a meaning – Prosperity, Serenity and Peace – emotions that I want to transmit to others and to society.”

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Susana Calado ;

The Open Art Studio by Susana Calado also offers “Wine Tasting” and “Painting with a Twist”, where you can drink quality wine from Porto and Douro, and enjoy some traditional Portuguese food and sweets made by the host and her parents.

For more information on Susana Calado and the Open Art Studio, please visit: or

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