Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherie's Progress

I know it's been a while since I posted about my friend Cherie. For anyone who has not followed this story, Cherie was paralyzed in a car accident last September 30, 2010. I have known Cherie all my life.

I drove to Vero Beach this weekend to spend Saturday and Sunday with Cherie and her family. We had a great time. Cherie and I enjoyed catching up, eating sushi, and enjoying the warm weather in Vero Beach.

We looked on Facebook at some pictures of "kids" from our neighborhood and people we went to school with. We remembered some stories and people we had not thought about in a very LONG time and it was lots of fun! Cherie and I have been friends since we were about four years old.

I'm SUPER HAPPY to tell you that she has regained some significant movement in her arms (not hands)! She is left handed, and she can move her left arm, from the elbow, in and out, back and forth, and hopes to soon be able to drive her wheelchair with it via a joystick. Right now she is using the head array to control the chair. This is big news, because her injury is C4-5, which is very high up in her neck. The therapists are very excited and continue to use electric stimulation on her hands and arms!

If you are looking for a place to make a small donation that can make a big difference this holiday season, Cherie has a charitable trust in her name: You can donate via PayPal or credit card there and any amount helps. Cherie has no health insurance and Medicaid is very limited in what they cover.

If you would like to purchase a wonderful book of art from artists around the world that I put together, Art With Heart is a great coffee table book and 100% of the profit margin goes to Cherie:

I received a very very special gift from Cherie and her sister Sue while I was visiting. Some of you remember that Cherie's mother was an artist, and my first artistic influence. She took me to visit an art museum for the first time, and I used to love to look at her work and watch her use watercolor and pastel at the easel in her studio. This painting, a copy of a Degas, hung in Cherie's home as LONG as I have known Cherie. Jean Stannard painted this painting as a lesson painting, to learn the techniques of Degas. I always admired how beautifully it was executed and was especially drawn to the lighting on the dancer.  I  can still picture where this painting hung in their home as I always enjoyed walking past it, heading up the stairs to Cherie's room!

Cherie and Sue surprised me and GAVE Me this painting! Jean passed away several years ago, and they said that they could not imagine anyone who deserved the painting more than me. They said that Jean would be happy to know I had it.

I can't tell you how much this means to me and how close I have been to Cherie all my life. This gesture was truly generous and I am much appreciative. I just thought I'd share it with you this morning, as we approach Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Butterflies on the Move

These four butterflies were made for licensing, they may end up as prints available at Pier One Imports or on packaging somewhere. Or they may not. That's just how licensing art goes.

Anyway, you can have the original, in time for Christmas, for $75

Fly 20 / 10x8 / collage on canvas panel / unframed / ©St. Hilaire Nelson


Fly 50 / 10x8 / collage on canvas panel / unframed / ©St. Hilaire Nelson


Fly 88 / 10x8 / collage on canvas panel / unframed / ©St. Hilaire Nelson


Fly 24 / 10x8 / collage on canvas panel / unframed / ©St. Hilaire Nelson


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas

Lang is offering gift items, including 2012 calendars, on their website and in stores near you featuring Paper Pantings. Click Here to learn more 

Looking for the perfect gift for the budding artist in your life? Why not try my Collage Process Overview DVD. I take you through the process of collage from sketch to completion with a portfolio of images at the end. Click Here to learn more.

A good companion to the DVD is the Collage Process Overview Book. Professionally designed with amazing full color photos, this book leads you through techniques for painting your own papers and applying them to wood panel. Click Here to learn more  Click Here for info on a PDF Download

Details is a new coffee table book for gift giving, it's oversized at 12x12 will full page photos of detailed sections of my bird collage work. This book is on premium photo paper and is available along with a selection of other books from my Lulu store. Click Here to learn more

iPhone Cases make great gifts and the good news is that the 4 case also fits the new 4S!
Click Here to learn  more

Note Cards are available in two new sets, Dogs and Birds. Each set is two each of five designs and comes in a clear plastic box with silver ribbon. Click Here for Dogs.   Click Here for Birds

Giclée prints are available on almost all of my work. Email me for information on your favorite image as a paper or gallery wrapped canvas print.

Flashbags are neat totes that sport my artwork from cows to birds to dancing feet! They are a woman owned company in Burlington, VT and all bags are made there, by hand. Click Here to learn more

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Book, Now Available for the Holidays!

This 12x12 case-wrap hardcover book is printed on premium paper in full color. The book showcases LARGE full page color detailed areas of my birds collages. Book One is Birds, and I just may do a Book Two on Cows!

Now through November 30th you can use coupon code: Thanks355 and save 15%

Click here for more info

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That's Just How I Do It

Rooster, yet to be titled, 30x30, collage on wood panel

In a recent blog post from my dear friend and fellow artist Robin Maria Pedrero talked about how she accomplishes everything she does. I found this post to be so refreshing and interesting as Robin and I often speak about balancing family and work.

Robin talks about keeping a positive attitude, mentoring and teaching, learning from her mistakes and managing her time. She goes on to share a typical day in her life, and it resonated with me. I decided to borrow her idea and share with you, my readers, a day in my life. I do this because like Robin, everyday people say to me "I don't know how you do all that you do."

This week I am teaching seven fifth grade classes the art of collage and the profession of being an artist. I am at Sabal Point Elementary school every day this week except Wednesday, which is early release day. Yesterday was Wednesday.

Tuesday late afternoon the corporate director for the Grand Bohemian Gallery which carries my work nationally asked me if I had any new work. Since I have been working on my Noah's Ark Series I have not had new work to give her for a while, and I am feeling badly about answering that question with "no" because my answer for most things is usually "yes."

I Always Give it My Best
Vanessa was looking for a large scale rooster piece and had hoped to install it in the Asheville gallery. I told her I'd do what I could to get one done for her.

sketch with beginnings of underpainting

Late Tuesday night I sketched up the rooster onto my 30x30 panel and coated it with multiple coats of clear gesso. Wednesday morning at 6:30am I blocked in the green background before waking the kids for school. 

Multitasking is Key
While the kids were showering and getting ready for breakfast I pulled on my sneakers and ran three miles around my neighborhood. When I returned I checked on the kids progress, took a quick shower and cooked breakfast of eggs, toast, sausage and fresh fruit (Every morning is like Sunday at our house). I ran a load of laundry and put away the dishwasher. Before they went out the door to catch the bus I packed them both healthy lunches and kissed them goodbye, wishing them the very best day!

Slightly off  Center
Back inside, I quick changed into my gym clothes and headed off to lift weights. Exercise is my relaxation, I enjoy pushing the limits of both my mental and physical strength. I find my center and calm my mind through exercise every day. Before I clean up, I dash out to the studio to block in more color on the rooster, completing the underpainting. This will need to dry for a few hours. I'm moving so fast I think I'm still burning calories!

underpainting progresses with more blocking in and
establishing a decorative background 

Keep Moving
I head into the house and put the laundry in the dryer, shower, check my emails and design an ad layout for a health and fitness club in Baltimore, MD. Today I have set aside some time to have lunch with a friend since it's early day and  I am not volunteering at school. We enjoy Greek food and catch up conversation and then I head home and back to my desk. I design a tri-fold massage brochure for that same Baltimore client, field more emails, make changes to some fitness posters for my Orlando based Sportsplex and before I know it I can hear the beep-beep of the alarm as the kids come in the garage from school.

I take the kids for frozen yogurt so we can spend some time together before dance and swim team. We head home and on the way drop my daughter off for dance at 4:00. I encourage my son to do a bit of his homework before we have to leave for swim team at 5:15. Take a few minutes to check social networking, email and waiting for the underpainting to dry.

Head to the aquatics center with my son for 5:30 and back to pick up at dance for the break from 6-7pm. Arrive home, make spaghetti and organic chicken sausage. Back to dance for 7-9pm and pickup Connor at the aquatics center at 7pm. Typically I have help with the driving buy my husband is out of town on a photo shoot this week. Hit the post office to mail DVDs on my way home.

Balancing Act
Get everyone back and forth and settled with homework, then I sit and read for an hour with the kids and the dogs until DANCE MOMS comes on TV at 10pm. It's a repeat and so I tell my daughter I'm going to pass and head out to the studio to work. They are engrossed in TV as I head to the back yard with the dogs in tow. I pick up some papers and try to organize my work area a bit, put on some good music and start working in a sea of reds for the rooster waddle and comb. 

In the groove when 11pm rolls around, but I have to check on the kids and make sure they don't stay up any later than DANCE MOMS, head inside, say goodnight, clean out lunch boxes for tomorrow, and rotate the laundry again, dogs in tow. 

darkness has settled in as the sun has been down for hours, 
but I'm still going strong

Head out to the studio after everyone is in their room for the night. This is the witching hour, it's when the magic happens. Put my favorite Pandora station on, take the glue brush out of the water and I am quickly back in the zone. Share a few fun texts with my friend and Dog A Day painter Kim Santini who tells me she's turning in for the night. Stay in that zone for as long as I possibly can before the yawning starts around 12:30. Keep working until 1:00 am and sit for a minute to evaluate my progress.

Head in for a few hours of sleep with visions of paper tidbits dancing in my head like sugar plum fairies. Sometimes it's hard to get to sleep when my brain is moving so fast, even though I am tired. Tonight I get to sleep about 1:30. Some mornings I wake at 5:00am with my mind working away wildly at collage solutions and techniques for future subject matter. 

Do it All Over Again
Up at 6:00 am to varnish the now dry rooster head piece. Head out to evaluate the night's work and be sure I like it as much as I thought I did. Apply varnish and head back inside to making breakfast and start the day. After the kids go, I hop on my bike for a 20-mile ride and along the way I stop to take iPhone collage reference photos of the cows on the bike trail as they are at the fence and I have not seen them there in weeks! 

Return home and put another varnish coat on before heading for the shower. Today I'm volunteering at school again so I likely will have to bring the rooster downtown to the gallery tomorrow morning. I'll put the hanging wire and final varnish coat on this afternoon. 

And that's just how I do it. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Portrait in Progress

sketch with beginnings of under-painting

Recently I was contacted by an Orlando law firm about doing a very special portrait. The gentleman in this sketch passed away earlier this year from cancer. The partners and employees of the firm wanted to do something special in his memory, a collage portrait utilizing ephemera provided by his coworkers as well as his family.

sketch with beginnings of under-painting

One day a few weeks ago I was given a huge box of papers that reminded the people in his life about Bob. I have Orlando Magic tickets and golf score cards, cigar wrappers, old baseball cards, hand written notes, emails, business cards, beer labels and even a ticket stub to a Rangers game from the very first date he ever had with his wife Daisy. Ray took the time to go through the box with me and explain the significance of everything that had been submitted. It was a process that I could see was helpful for Ray to remember some of the things he loved the most about his friend Bob.


It is an amazing responsibility to hand paint all of these very special papers and do a good job incorporating them into a portrait of such a loved man. I made sure to paint all of my papers in tones and colors of the underpainting I had established.

papers hand painted in tones for the portrait

How in the world do you create a portrait from a pile of colored papers?
One piece at a time. :)

blocking in the background

This is where we stand as of this afternoon. I'm blocking in the background first and then I'll go into the face. I plan to use more subdued papers in the face with less texture/pattern so as to be less busy. Flesh tones are always a challenge as you can just never have enough shades. I end up infusing a lot of color in order to establish the right values.

Stay tuned for more progression on this very special portrait.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Workshop Photos

Many thanks to Denisse who attended my workshop twice in the last month and took these awesome photos for me, AND made a great slideshow of them for me to share.

I have the best art friends. :)
click here to view the slideshow

New Workshop / North Carolina

Come out and tear paper with me 
in Greensboro, NC!

Fairview Elementary School
601 Fairview Street
High Point, NC

Contact: Lisa Skeen via email

Or visit her webpage: 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Progression of a Peacock

My daughter worked many hours on this wonderful promotional video for me. See building the support,  painting the papers, the collage process, and the final project, all in under two minutes.

Thanks to my husband for building the oversized support, and thanks to Emilie for hours of editing long after the filming was complete.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Look At the Weekend

Seymour Lenz, Videographer visited my booth at the festival with his camera and then emailed me this link today! What a wonderful gesture. Thanks Seymour!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Post Art Festival Special

Florida Box Turtle, 24x20 ©St. Hilaire Nelson

Florida Box Turtle
20x24 gallery wrapped canvas giclée print
art all the way around the edges
wired and ready to hang
EMBELLISHED with some paper on top and SIGNED

Post Art Festival Special

Bananas, 8x8 collage on deep boxed panel, ©St.Hilaire Nelson

Great Kitchen Art
this 8x8 original collage is on 5 1/8 inch deep boxed panel with painted edges, wired and ready to hang. This piece would make a great holiday gift for yourself or the art lover in your life. 

Post Art Festival Special

Carrots, 8x8, collage with acrylic on deep cradled birch panel ©St.Hilaire Nelson

Great Kitchen Art
this 8x8 original collage is on 5 1/8 inch deep boxed panel with painted edges, wired and ready to hang. This piece would make a great holiday gift for yourself or the art lover in your life. 

Calendars are Now In Stock!

I have a 2012 Lang Calendar! 
A great holiday gift for the art lover in your life. Along with the calendar, Lang has produced travel mugs, journals, note and recipe cards. You will probably find these items available in book and gift stores near you, but if you'd like to purchase from Lang directly you can visit their website.

Post Art Festival Special

Two Muse 24x20 ©St.Hilaire Nelson

Two Muse
24x20 giclée print on watercolor paper
flat packed with foam core backing (not rolled, ships flat)