Vlasta Kelemen grew up in Zagreb, Croatia in a nurturing environment created by her truly renaissance mother. She was one of 12 children and her love of colour and light in her work evolved from her Croatian roots and soul. Beauty, colour, and love amidst the ruins and hardships of World War II surrounded her.
Vlasta became a public health nurse by profession since making a living as an artist was not an option in war-torn Europe. In 1968, she immigrated to Guelph Ontario with her husband and two small children and began a career as a chemical technologist working for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture.
Before long, Vlasta found she could not suppress the urge to capture the intense rhythm of the environment around her and thus began to paint. From a simple beginning of self-exploration and education, she moved on to study with well-known Canadian artists, Jon Bennett, Linda Kemp and her mentor, Lila Lewis Irving.