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Elsa Bluethner

Artist Statement

Drawing from my experience in dance, theatre and figure skating, the art I create is my performance.

I am currently fabricating expressive, imaginative ceramic sculptures to entice the viewer into a deceptively playful world of make-believe imbued with satire, irony and sometimes mocking humour.

Aspects of movement, expression and costume inspired by my experience as a costumer in performance arts feature prominently in my work.

IMG_1426The strength and pliable nature of low fire paper clay lends itself well to fabricate delicate details and manipulate thin slabs of clay into complex designs.

The narratives emerge from the circus of the absurd we all inhabit…


Elsa began painting full time in 2002 leaving behind a freelance career in Costuming, Custom garment design, Commercial pattern drafting and Fashion Illustration that spanned 28 years.

Since then she has spent thousands of hours sketching and painting to develop her skills as a painter. As the years passed, her interest in figures and movement became the focus of her work.

In February 2015 her direction changed as she found a new way to express her narratives in ceramics. She is currently creating beautiful figures from her imagination drawing on her knowledge of anatomy and movement to create her fluid ceramic sculptures. Elsa’s ceramic works evolve from inspiration she gets from daily experience, dreams and ideas.

Elsa resides with her husband on Gabriola Island, BC where she concurrently pursues her love of sculpting, kayaking, dancing and spends precious time observing wildlife and appreciating nature.

Juried Art Shows and Featured Artist

2016 – 2 Ceramic Sculptures accepted, Sooke Fine Arts Show, Sooke, BC
2012 – 1st Prize Winner, Phoenix Grand Prix Plein-Air race, Steveston BC
2012 – Raw Canvas Art and Social, Featured Artist, Vancouver BC
2011 – KJM, Invitation to Garden Show, Vancouver BC
2011 – Federation of CanadianArtists, Seven, Group Show, Vancouver BC
2011 – 3rd Prize Winner, FCA, Human Figure Show, Vancouver BC
2009 – Mind and Matter Art Gallery, Mikelson Festival of the Arts, Surrey BC
2006 – University Art Walk, Seattle WA
2007 – Edmonds Art Gallery, Feature Artist, Edmonds WA
2007 – Edmonds Art Society, Group Show, Edmonds WA
2007 – Edmonds Art Festival, On Wing Bird Show, Edmonds WA
2007 – Greenwood-Phinney, Annual Art Walk, Seattle WA
2007 – Women Painters of Washington, Convention Centre, Seattle WA
2007 – Pastel Society of Washington, Group Show and demo event, Kirkland WA
2007 – Renton Art Society, Invitational Group Show, Renton WA
2006 – Local Color, Group Show, Seattle WA
2004 – Major Art Gallery, Featured Artist, Parksville BC
2004 – Pacific Rim Art Exhibition, Tofino BC
2002 – Lion and Rose Gallery, Home is Where the Heart Is, Winnipeg MB

Press and Presentations

Elsa has been interviewed on Radio Canada for two separate events, has done an artist talk at Edmonds Art Gallery, participated in a demo for Opus Framing, the Pastel Society of Washington, and will appear in September 2016 in a segment of the 13 part television series “Changing Landscapes” produced by Dominik Modlinski and Scott Wilson on Shaw TV.

Featured Artist on FASO, Fine Art Studio Online, December 2012, by Carrie Turner
Art critic Brian Sherwin commented on artist Elsa Bluethner’s figure paintings, saying, “Bluethner’s approach to painting the figure is playful – yet complex. She clearly spends a deal of time planning her figures and the patterns involved… no doubt drawing upon her experience in fashion design and illustration.” Sherwin adds, “Her paintings are deceptively playful in the sense that they often convey strong emotions – be it a woman caught in despair or a couple struggling with their relationship.”

Art Achievements

2012 – 1st Prize – Pheonix Grand Prix Plein-Air Painting race, Steveston BC
2011 – 3rd Prize – Federation of Canadian Artists, Figure Exhibition, Vancouver BC


2016 – Twin Beaches Gallery, Gabriola BC
2012 – Picture This Gallery, Sherwood Park AB
2009 – Cole Gallery, Edmonds WA
2007 – Local Color, Seattle WA
2007 – Edmonds Art Gallery, Edmonds WA
2004 – Major Art Gallery, Parksville BC
2002 – The Lion and The Rose Gallery, Winnipeg MB

Clubs and memberships

2015 – Gabriola Arts Council, Gabriola BC
2010 – Federation of Canadian Artists, Vancouver BC
2007 – Seattle Arts Guild, Seattle WA
2007 – Pastel Society of Washington, Seattle WA
2006 – Edmond Art Association, Edmonds WA
2004 – Pacific Rim Arts Society, Tofino BC
2001 – Winnipeg Sketch Club, Winnipeg MB
1998 – Basic Inquiry, Vancouver BC

Fundraising Participation

2016 – Gabriola Arts Council, Atlas Affair, Gabriola BC
2015 – Gabriola Arts Council, Chair Affair, Gabriola BC
2014 – Cats Alive, Gabriola BC
2013 – Women’s College Hospital, Toronto ON
2011 – Canadian Cancer Society, Calgary AB
2011 – Wigs For Kids, Vancouver BC
2010 – Wigs For Kids, Vancouver BC
2009 – Canadian Red Cross Centenary, Vancouver BC