Twenty-four year old Elina Dmitruk of Mill Creek sits near a window with a paintbrush and palette at Zoka Coffee on 6107, 129 Central Way in Kirkland. She’s been working on a large art piece for about a month.
Dmitruk uses past photos to create pieces that represent something new. This month, she uses Garrett King’s photo, “Grand Tetons” as a reference for her landscape painting.
From a young age, Dmitruk knew that art was her calling. She noticed that she was different from the rest. Dmitruk shared a story about her and her friend. When she was young, her friend moved away. After the move, they would send letters of encouragement to each other. Inside those letters, a piece of art was always included. Dmitruk was continuously left inspired and encouraged to pursue art. With only one private art class at the age of 11, she took that momentum and followed her passion. Also, various collaborations with close friends have led Dmitruk to where she is now.
Dmitruk quit her job around two years ago to fully commit her time and energy to painting. She shared that painting is the purest type of therapy and it gives her meaning and purpose. Dmitruk has been painting at Zoka for a year and half now. She’s painted around 15-20 pieces at the coffee shop.
“Painting in such a public space was scary at first but I realized I had something to share,” Dmitruk said. “[I] saw how it inspired youth and children…moments like that really highlight my day. If I can bring any kind of sense of wander and color, then I am fulfilling my purpose in the world.”
Once a photographer herself, Dmitruk said she looks up to various photographers. She appreciates artists who photograph nature and that is who she usually references in her art. Depending on the painting style, such as palette knife or brush, each piece can take about a month or two to complete.
Dmitruk first contacts a photographer to collaborate and then depending on the mood of the photo, deliberates the technique and process. Palette knife work, which she uses in “Grand Teton,” is a much quicker technique than brush work. Palette knife work involves more texture and color. She specifically used this style to bring out the edgy textures of the mountains. Dmitruk will use brush work on portraits of people and animals. The style helps recreate the softness and delicacy of the subject.
Dmitruk’s painting style is a mix between traditional and contemporary. She shared how she bounces from portrait to landscape often. It’s a good balance that allows her to learn from each technique.
“It’s a bit messy but a good mess,” Dmitruk said.
Her pieces are never rushed, as she gives her full attention and focus to her art.
Besides Leonardo da Vinci, Dmitruk says she tries not to look up to too many artists. She is passionate about her art and wants to be her own person.
“It’s easy to get boxed into a specific idea. It’s good to focus on who you are,” she said. “When you realize what you want to be doing, that’s the kind of work that’s going to motivate you to keep doing what you’re doing.”
In the future, Dmitruk hopes to open her own studio and support local art galleries. Her passion and confidence have led her to create quality pieces that come from a “good place.”
Coffee drinkers and art enthusiast can find Dmitruk painting at Zoka Coffee every Monday through Thursday, during daylight hours.
To contact Elina, visit her her website, www.artbyelina.com.