My love of collage started with a scrap box of mementos from my childhood. These small sentimental pieces of my past came from my father, who rescued them from the attic about seven years ago. Stuffing these tidbits into a box beneath my bed seemed anticlimactic. I remember standing there, after my father left, looking at the hospital bill from my birth, my Mom’s nursing school graduation cards from 1967, and thinking what should I do with this?
I decided to find a way to incorporate these memorable papers, notes and snippets of my family’s past into something both memorable and beautiful. Thus was born a representational collage “painting.” This piece, Looking in on Jane (a portrait of my mother), won Best of Show for the first time at Orlando Visual Artists League in 2005, and for a second time at the Women’s Caucus for Arts’ Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit in 2007. The success of this piece plunged me head-first into my love affair with collage.
My technique has evolved as a result of experimentation with hand-painted, hand-made, and a wide variety of textured and patterned papers. Layering and weaving, pushing and pulling the colors, patterns, and values makes collage liken to music. I go back and forth, alternating and overlapping until the rhythm creates something I love.
In my work I highlight the extraordinary within the ordinary, focusing on intense and vibrant colors combined with a sensibility of design. My collages invite the viewer to look, and having looked, to linger.
Meticulously torn bits of hand-painted papers, delicately put together, form the exceptionally vibrant collages created by Artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire. Richard Colvin, executive director of the Lake Eustis Museum of Art says, “Elizabeth St. Hilaire’s artworks have a fresh quality that belies the way they are constructed.”
St. Hilaire published her book Painted Paper Art Workshop internationally with North Light Books in August (2016). Elizabeth’s work has also been published in Acrylic Works 3: Celebrating Texture (2015) and Incite 2; Color Passions (2014), both by North Light. A feature article on her work appeared in the April, 2014 issue of The Artists Magazine, she was also a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition (2014 and 2015) and took first place in the category of Collage/Mixed Media for The Artist’s Magazine All Media Competition (2010). St. Hilaire was an award winner in the National Collage Society’s Signature Members Exhibition at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, in Mesa AZ (2013). Online, Elizabeth was a Finalist in The Richeson 75 Annual Art Contest (2013).
Born and raised in New England, Elizabeth has lived in Central Florida for the past 20+ years. She holds a B.F.A. in Advertising Design from Syracuse University, which prepared her for a dual identity as both communication designer and a painter–these days she’s a full-time fine artist who’s only graphic design client is herself. St. Hilaire has earned Signature Member status with the National Collage Society and crisscrosses the country several times a year to take her painted paper tidbits on the road. Teaching and sharing her collage technique through an intense three day Paper Paintings workshop has become a passion.
To take a Gel Press workshop with Elizabeth St. Hilaire, check out her listings on our event calendar.
Learn more about Elizabeth and see her portfolio on her site, PaperPaintings.com and her social media accounts: