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