Saturday, July 31, 2010

Skeleton Crew

©Doug and Elizabeth Nelson 2010

This morning I dropped off the Red Chair entry I was asked to create for Seminole Cultural Arts Council. Linda Moore, from the City of Casselberry, FL was thrilled with the skeleton my husband Doug built, and I collaged. Doug also distressed the red chair and we put a box on his lap to hold the SCAC tickets they are giving away to their annual "Howl for the Arts" event. "Howl for the Arts" is a halloween theme, which is why we chose to embellish the chair to match.

The Sixth Annual Red Chair Affair raises money for the arts in Central Florida. If you are interested in tickets and/or the themed chair auction, visit their website

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carnival Complete

The Mule | 24x20 | collage on panel | ©St.Hilaire Nelson

The Carnival of the Animals inspired series is completed with the addition of varnish to this collage of a mule. My son and I made some hand-painted papers at the kitchen table this week to be sure I had all the dark brown I needed for this horse/donkey. The kangaroo piece yielded me plenty of golden brown weeks before.

I am quite happy with the fun little horse barn in the back and all the patterning in the face of the mule. When searching for reference photos of mules vs. donkeys online, I was not sure which was which! Still not.

Below is the Bruce Adolphe poem written for this particular movement of Saint-Saën's musical suite, I plan to include all of the poems with all of the collages at the Maitland Art Center solo exhibition Exquisite Harmony.

Now mules are only half a horse
The other half is donkey.
The tunes they sing are therefore coarse
Though some are kind of funky.
The mule is dumb but sure of foot
And makes a great companion.
Especially when they are put
On the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Anyone ever ride the mules at the edge of the Canyon?

Giclée Prints Available

©2010 St.Hilaire Nelson | Tortoises | 20x24

Now offering giclée prints of collage artwork, printed on artist's watercolor paper with foam core backing. The prints are boxed and shipped flat, ready for framing.

If you are interested in any alternate image, please email me.

20x24 Tortoise Giclée print $135
shipping and handling $10

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Atlanta Workshop

Hello from HOT-Lanta! We just completed day two of my Paper Paintings workshop. Day one we painted papers all day and today we incorporated those hand painted papers into the apple lesson. The students are having tons of fun gluing their papers over the under-painting that they prepared on their wood panels the day before.

The group is diverse, we have a teacher, a retired nurse, and a couple graphic designers among us. Turns out Jane is a fellow Syracuse University graduate!

For a complete photo album from today, please visit my NEW facebook fan page!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Much Promise

©2010 St. Hilaire Nelson

Today I learned that my 4x6 collage Much Promise is one of 16 Award Winning collages at the National Collage Society's 13th Annual "Wish You Were Here" Postcard Exhibition. 

I have to share with you that Much Promise had a former life before it went to the Postcard Exhibition.

I struggle with the 4x6 format because it is very difficult to create a figurative collage in that size, trust me I have tried!

Gretchen Bierbaum, the president of the National Collage Society, gave me great advice when I exclaimed to her "Gretchen, I'm not an abstract collage artist, how am I going to make this small format work???" She told me that many times for this format she cuts herself a mat board with a 4x6 opening and uses it to view small cropped areas of unresolved collages. She said she often times finds just the right crop in a bigger piece of her artwork.

Much Promise is a result of Gretchen's advice. I had a cardinal collage that I was not happy with because the bird was proportionately too big. I loved the stamps I used and the fortune, so it became the perfect piece to crop. I chose this area of the 12x12 original because I like the way that the blue branch and the bird leg worked on the diagonal within the composition. For me, the stamps and small piece of map are representative of the bird's flight patterns, migration, and travel. The fortune is just out there to make you think of what lies waiting for you when you choose to take that journey.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Home for A Portrait of "Ike"

"Here Boy!" ©St. Hilaire Nelson 2010

It's not every day that a collector takes the time to contact the artist personally and tell her just how much their purchase means to them.

Today I received a wonderful email from a man in South Carolina who purchased "Here Boy!" at the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Asheville, NC over the fourth of July weekend. James took the time to let me know just how much he and his partner were taken with the collage when they saw it on an easel in the lobby upon their arrival to the hotel. He said they could not believe how much my dog collage resembled their 10.5 year old lab mix, Ike!

After looking at the piece all weekend, they decided they had to have it on the last night of their stay. James says,

"We waited for Laura to open the gallery the next morning. We had to have your picture. Our purchase instantly became the buzz of the hotel (lobby) because it touched dog lovers at the Grand Bohemian last weekend. We felt like celebs for a few minutes because we "got the dog!"

James sent a couple of photos of his dog. There is truly an amazing likeness, it's as if "Here Boy!" was a commissioned portrait of Ike.

James went on to say that they have hung "Here Boy!" as the centerpiece in their den, and that he is only one of four art treasures in their home.

Thank you James, for taking the time to send such a nice note and photos. It truly does touch my heart to know that my collage brings you such joy and that you will always remember your July 4th weekend getaway at the extra special Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tuscan Triptych

© St. Hilaire Nelson 2010 | three panels 12x24

The last of the vacation artwork!

Here is the Tuscan scene I worked on over the beach break. I like it for the simplicity. This piece is more about color, pattern and shapes rather than shading and volume. While I was working on it, I likened it to the childhood days of scribbling a big swirly paper and then coloring in the shapes created by overlapping lines. Remember that?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

©St. Hilaire Nelson 2010
Boxer in progress on portable easel in the vacation house living room

This week I am at the beach in North Carolina, the Outer Banks, with the extended Nelson family. There are 14 of us (8 adults, 6 children) and this is our 11th year coming to Buck Island to rent a big house on the beach. In the last few years I have made a point of taking art with me to work on here.

Creating art on vacation is one of my favorite things to do. I get up early in the morning and come up to my portable stick easel on the top floor of the house. From here I can see the ocean, it's peaceful and beautiful and very inspiring. Usually when I am up painting, most of the other Nelson family is asleep, at least for a little while.

My travel supplies for the beach are much like my travel supplies for the Dance Competition weekends with one exception, here I do not have to work on my lap! I can spread out and work on larger pieces. I can actually stand at the easel, like I am accustomed to at home. Similarly to dressing room projects, I do work out of gallon zip lock bags filled with hand painted paper divided by color, and I do bring my wood panels already under-painted.

This week I actually FORGOT my #8 filbert! I was in a state of panic when I unpacked my supplies to find all but the brush! Thank Goodness art runs in the blood of the Nelson family. My Mother-in-Law had a brush for me to borrow, she said she travels with them "just in case."

Do you have artists in your family? Do you think that artistic ability is hereditary? Both my husband and his mother are excellent artists. My parents were not artists, but I have an uncle who was very artistic in college. I have some of John's student work pottery in my studio.

Take the poll to the left of the Boxer art to give your opinion about Nature vs. Nurture.