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Elsa Sroka | The Need to Paint


Elsa Sroka and the creative instinct

By: Southwest Art | July 14, 2017 | Elizabeth L. Delaney

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Denver painter Elsa Sroka places her artwork squarely on the contemporary side of realism. Drawing from her own memories as well as a deep font of imagination, Sroka transforms traditional subject matter into partially abstracted yet lucid expressions of the things that feed her soul. An intense love of color and design, at times infused with her wry wit, forms the foundation of Sroka’s painting. She strives to communicate these facets of her aesthetic and herself to viewers, even as she seeks to fulfill her own drive to create.

Largely self-taught, Sroka hovered on the outskirts of the art world for years. She honed her sense of color by painting rooms in her home over and over until she found just the right hue. She worked on her technique by painting murals in her children’s rooms. And when the time came to evolve, she embraced the change completely, exchanging her day job for her passion. Success came quickly, and she burst onto the commercial gallery scene after little more than a year. Sroka met the challenge head on, and seven years later she has taken her place among the most notable contemporary artists in the West.

A Colorado native, Sroka grew up in a family of six children, all of whom were encouraged by their parents to embrace their creativity. Sroka describes her father as being passionate about art and architecture and having a constant supply of such projects available to keep his children engaged. “Art has always been a huge part of my existence,” says Sroka. Likewise, at school, art class was the only one that truly captivated her.

 “Why do cows and cattle always have to be in rural settings? I want them to have a more contemporary twist,” 

Elsa Sroka

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Elsa Sroka - Layla
Elsa Sroka, “Layla,” Oil on Panel, 18 x 18 in

“I paint because I need to […] For years I have been searching for something, not always sure what it is. I am driven to pore through design magazines or the Internet, devouring images, colors, shapes, and new ideas. It feels like I am eating, nourishing my soul. Art in one form or another is really the only thing that totally engages me.”

Elsa Sroka
For Sroka, making art is engrained in her being. It is an action from which she derives physical, emotional, and intellectual sustenance.