Neighbors of Park City

Local artist discovers hidden faces in artwork, predicts future acquaintances

Sherry Elshaug’s innovative art technique captivates local audiences from canvas to digital

By: Kirsten Kohlwey, Neighbors of Park City

In 2012, Sherry Elshaug told her husband, “I just want to paint.” Little did she know she would soon find herself not just painting (on canvas) but painting the inside of her seasonal California home, the beginning of a technique she calls “precognitive abstracts.” 

Once she finishes a painting, Sherry takes a photograph of it. This lets her draw on her painting digitally, emphasizing the shapes she sees in the images. In 2013, faces revealed themselves on her living room walls. Sherry describes her walls as “tone on tone, a washed down brown, no art on my wall, because what I was thinking turned out to be the art.” Sherry saw Roman soldiers, hijabs, the slave era, and a gentleman engaging a woman about to kiss. 

Photo: Kirsten Kohlwey

She used digital drawing to outline the faces she saw and shared the images with others. Her husband’s response? “Oh, we don’t know anyone who looks like this.” As it turned out, they would meet some of these people a few years later. Sherry showed me photos – photos of her drawings of the faces on the wall and photos of the people they later met. The resemblance is remarkable.

In her precognitive series, there were times when Sherry didn’t discover the hidden images until years later. “I think art is everywhere. We are just not seeing it,” she says.

Sherry Elshaug loves painting gouache overlayed with multiple mediums, often oil and acrylic. Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint consisting of natural pigment, water, a binding agent, and sometimes additional inert material. In her studio, she experiments with different subjects and techniques, using many.

In 2016, Sherry Elshaug joined the Park City Artists Association and began participating in its shows. 

Recently, she sold a painting at the 2023 Park City Library show and is working on a commission piece. Today, she is embarking on a more pronounced career as an artist. When the opportunity to join the new artist space at CREATE PC came along, she jumped at it. “This is for socializing and being part of the community. The passion for creation runs deep… thoughts are creation; nothing can be created unless you thought it first. There is always a conceptual moment of something taking form or shape,” Sherry muses.

Sherry’s work is on display at the Miners Hospital Community Center in May as part of MINERS 9, a show that runs Friday through Sunday, the last weekend of each month, through September. 

Sherry has also developed a kids’ series. She wants children to be introduced to art at a young age, so she created paintings they can touch. She uses bright colors and textures created by the depth of paint layers and different surface features (oil versus gouache) to stimulate their sensory impressions of the art.

Sherry Elshaug and her family have immersed themselves in Park City over the last eight years. She is big on philanthropy and states, “If an organization is in need of local art to help a local cause, I’m more than happy to paint a piece for an event, silent auction, or raffle.” For commissions and inquiries, please reach out to Sherry at sherry.elshaug@gmail.com

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