gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 79

As s a child growing up in Warsaw, Poland, Elwira Barbara Maszara remembers always doodling and sketching, and recalls her grade school teacher telling her parents she could be a professional artist one day if she pursued it. Knowing that a “creative self was always in me,” Maszara waited years before pursuing her lifelong dream in 2014. “Though I’ve always hoped to consider myself an artist, for a very long time I had no chance to be one.” Maszara wrote on her website. “Retiring after decades from dawn to dusk at a desk has set me free to leave behind the structured corporate life, with all of its limitations and struggles, to find unexpected joy and fulfillment with every painting.” In 1976, Maszara earned a Master’s Degree in Economics with a major in International Marketing at what is currently the Warsaw School of Economics. She went on to work for a Polish foreign trade company with offices in New York, then met and married Witold Maszara in 1985 during her stay in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1987 her daughter Maia was born and the family moved to Morgan Hill when her husband was transferred to California in 1998. “My courage to develop my talent would never happen without knowing that for my husband and my daughter [it] was so important to see me happy with my new identity as an artist. I feel so very lucky.”  One could surmise that this talented watercolorist is making up for lost time. In a four-year span during which many artists would be satisfied completing a dozen or so projects, Maszara has produced over 300 works and exhibited in thirty-seven art shows. She has earned four- teen ribbons of recognition and three times was awarded the Popular Choice Award. Perhaps most notable, during this short launch period, is the fact that she sold thirty-six pieces. “It is the most gratifying and humbling experience,” Maszara said, referring to her sales. “It is particularly GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN satisfying when I see that my commissioned work of people’s pets moved them deeply.” Animals, both domestic and wild, are perhaps her favorite subjects, but she rounds out her portfolio with portraits, figures and landscapes. She has a free style in her application, with a special gift for revealing emotions and bewilderment in the eyes of her subjects that tell a story for the viewer to ponder and interpret. It is a wonder that she finishes these detailed, dramatic works in a matter of days in many cases. Maszara is a fan of Impressionism, especially Van Gogh, but also mentions Gauguin, Monet and Renoir. Characteristic of the period, she captures a feeling rather than achieving a precise depiction. When looking for inspiration for her painting she looks to contemporary watercolorists Jean Haines, Ann Blockley, Yoko Nagayama and Gary Brenfield. “I admire their work and I’m trying to incorporate their techniques in my future paintings,” she said. Maszara is a member of a number of art associations including the National Watercolor Society, Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, Morgan Hill’s Valle del Sur Art Guild, and the Los Gatos Art Association where she serves as the program chair. Maszara’s art and contact information can be found at Dan Craig is a local artist and freelance writer who lives and works in his downtown loft in Morgan Hill. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 79