Saturday, March 6, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 2

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Where did you learn your technique?

My technique is something I evolved on my own. I was a talented painter and pastel artist, but there were many more talented people using those mediums here in Orlando. I wanted to find a way to set my work apart from everyone else's. I started adding paper in with my acrylic paintings as a pattern and texture in small areas. Eventually those areas became larger and larger until the paper overtook the paint entirely one day when I challenged myself to create an image without any paint. I liked the effect I got, I liked the fact that this piece "Looking in on Jane" (a portrait of my mother) won Best of Show at OVAL (Orlando Visual Artists League) and then again at the WCA (Women's Caucus for the Arts) Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit. I knew I was onto something, and so I ran with it.

Over the years my technique has continued to evolve. I used to use art store purchased colored papers. I found out the hard way that these papers fade. So I started hand-painting all my own collage papers. I experimented with color, texture, pattern and paper weight. I learned how to create my own palette of acrylic painted paper–it would not fade and I could create all the colors in the rainbow!

I feel my work is better now that I have such a variety of colors and textures of paper to choose from. I also use related material in my collages. I try to tie in some of the collage material to the subject matter. Some of my cow collages have nursery rhymes in them, "How Now Brown Cow" is an example of this. Some of my roosters have "Hickety Pickety My Fine Hen" intertwined with the Starbucks bags and painted maps, old checks and book pages.

1 comment:

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson said...

This is a photo of me giving a demonstration at The Artists Workshop in New Smyrna Beach, I spoke to the group at their monthly meeting and they invited me back to teach a weekend collage workshop!

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