Elsa Cornelissen


Elsa Cornelissen is an acclaimed artist with a BA in Fine Arts as well as (H Ed) at the University of Pretoria.

Elsa’s art is an extension of herself and through her art she has been able to channel her emotions and life experience to grow as a person within herself.

Elsa’s two main genre of work are Wildlife and Symbolic Realism with her medium of choice being acrylics.

She is however well versed in many various genres and mediums and shares her knowledge with other through her art classes.

Since completing her BA in Fine Art at the University of Pretoria in 1980, she has taught art at various high schools and technical colleges, held various one-person and group exhibitions, taught private art classes to adults and children. After several years in teaching, she gave it up to devote herself fully to painting, only offering classes every so often.

“A work of art usually begins with an emotional idea. Similar in approach to a filmmaker, I decide on the right subject and location, and them embark on an adventure that will provide me with the necessary experiences to capture the character of the piece. I have however discovered that in the end, art always reveals more about the artist than the subject. To paint something – to capture a moment frozen in time – only to have it live again when viewed by others is one of the greatest joys of being an artists.”

On painting animals – I am humbled by their presence every time I see them, by their spirit, their unique beauty and individuality. My ultimate aim is to depict them in their natural state of total unawareness of the onlooker.

I hope that each painting will be a timeless expression of their existence – that special fragmented rare moment – where/when the viewer can experience a rare moment of oneness with that animal.

My aim is to communicate our close bond with animals from the beginning of time, they co-exist on this planet, and we must express a mutual respect towards fellow creatures by conserving this planet and its inhabitants.

Each painting is seen as a tool to communicate an emotion. I would like to give each animal life through my painting, and by doing so evoking a powerful emotion.

My aim is to convey a message, evoke an awareness of the uniqueness not only of a species but of every individual animal whether it be a leopard, a lion or a zebra. I hope that looking at my art, a deeper serious urge will descend in each individual’s consciousness – a need to protect, to conserve each animal – and by doing so be consequently enriched.