Elias first made her mark as an artistic force as a concert pianist with performances across Canada, frequent broadcasts on CBC's Radio Two and the recording of three CD's. She also earned the sobriquet 'Piano Woman' during New Music Festival performances with Maestro Bramwell Tovey and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO).
Her current incarnation as painter finds her marrying the art forms in works that often feature abstract music themes in bold strokes and colours. Her exceptional skill in capturing moments or movements of music and bringing them to life on canvas, has led to a high demand for her work, with more than one hundred private commissions to date including ones to Florence, Italy, and numerous sales.
Some of those who have commissioned her work include Corus Radio Winnipeg, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Canadian opera sensation Jean Stilwell, composer Randolph Peters, and novelist Arthur Motyer (The Staircase Letters), who describes Elias's paintings as 'vital and colourful forms that sing'.
Stilwell, who has been accompanied by Elias on piano in performance, said, "Not one of her paintings is without exquisite colour, passionate energy, committed detailing and a fabulous sense of humour."
Shirley Elias' original paintings can be found in private and corporate collections in Canada from coast to coast, as well as in Australia, England, India, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, and the USA.