Elske Wilton-Pfaeltzer was born in The Netherlands into a family of academics and artists. With two successful artistic sisters in the family, she herself chose to go to the University of Utrecht and Leiden, where she received a masters degree in languages.
Later, together with her husband, she travelled the world, working as a journalist during the Lebanese civil war and then, as a result of her husband joining the Netherlands diplomatic service, living in Australia, Germany, Sweden and Malta.
While abroad - like many in her family - Elske took up painting. Now she has permanently settled in The Hague, where she has her own studio.