About Shirley Elias

Shirley Elias

Shirley Elias

Elias first made her mark as an artistic force as a concert pianist with performances across Canada, frequent broadcasts on CBC’s Radio Two and the recording of three CD’s. She earned the sobriquet ‘Piano Woman’ during New Music Festival performances with Maestro Bramwell Tovey and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), taken from a spirited piano concerto written for her and the WSO, that had her playing two pianos at the same time.

Like her stage persona, Elias’ incarnation as a painter delivers an equally energetic and bold voice, with vibrant colours and lines. Her unique style has led to a high demand for her work, having completed over 500 paintings to date, including over one hundred private and corporate commissions. Elias is represented by Canadian galleries coast to coast and her paintings are found in private, corporate, and government collections in 8 countries around the world, including every province in Canada, USA, India, Italy, England, Sweden, Mexico and Australia.

“Most people are lucky if they have one artistic skill, and luckier still if they’re able to pursue it professionally. Shirley Elias has been lucky a few times over: her first success was as a concert pianist, and now she has found another calling as a painter.

Music is the heart of Elias’ paintings… (she) works with a vivid palette of colours. Fusing elements of pop art, modern and cubism, marigold-coloured swirls trumpet off the canvas, as one could imagine sound resonating from an orchestra. Black and cobalt details anchor the paintings, while glints of metallic paint add light and interest.” – Passion for music inspires bold visual work, Edmonton Journal



Artist Statement

“My art is about communicating with color and composition. As a concert pianist my performances were about connecting with an audience from stage, using colors of sound within a structured musical framework. My work as a painter is based on a similar principle, as I aspire to communicate with colors on canvas; vibrant colors presented in a detailed and balanced composition. I am directed by the flow and rhythm of the colors and design. Just as one’s ear is constantly stimulated in a concert setting, I now strive to keep the viewer’s eyes engaged and moving across the painting.” — Shirley Elias