Decorative calendars are one of my favorite things, and the Paper Paintings calendar that has been hanging on my wall for 2016 contains art that truly deserves recognition. Flipping through the months this year has been a source of great joy to me, because each time I am greeted with a new art piece by Elizabeth St. Hilaire. St. Hilaire’s unique style combines the charm of paper collage with the beauty of impressionistic painting. Her works are pleasing to any eye, and I am sure that many, like myself, have carefully hunted for the words or phrases incorporated in the painting.
Elizabeth St. Hilaire’s inspiration for her collage artwork began with a scrap box of childhood mementos. Seeking a way to transform snapshots of her childhood into something cohesive and beautiful, St. Hilaire created her first work of art, a portrait of her mother called Looking In On Jane, which was awarded at the 2005 Orlando Visual Artists League and the 2007 Women’s Caucus for Arts’ Patriarchs and Madonnas.
Encouraged by her success, St. Hilaire experimented with hand-painting a wide variety of textures and patterns on paper. Her collages are intricately woven with care to create vibrant images from innumerable hand-colored paper pieces.
Many of her works are also featured on the home page of her website, and each “paper painting” possesses delicate layering and integration of tones, creating bright highlights and subtle shadows. My three favorite paintings that I will briefly review are called Floral Peacock, Sunny, and Deja Brew.
Floral Peacock features a proud, sky-blue peacock trailed by a magnificent fan of abstract flowers. The warm colors of the floral train contrast the turquoise background and create a beautiful creature any little girl would dream of.
Sunny is a painting that brings happiness and comfort to its audience. Sunshine-yellow sunflowers against a mosaic style sky emit a warmth that is emphasized by the subtle red highlights along the edges of the leaves.
Finally, the tonal changes of Deja Brew are my favorite of all. The shadows in and behind the cup suggest a slanted lighting, and in my mind I see shimmering golden rays of sunshine enhancing the ochre hue of the drink and the deep silhouette behind it.
Peruse Elizabeth St. Hilaire’s paper paintings for yourself at http://www.paperpaintings.com. Which one is your favorite?
Photos courtesy Elizabeth St. Hilaire; used with permission.