Artist uses torn paper to create masterpieces

Once in a great while, an artist comes along whose work is so distinctive, so unusual, so imaginative, and so colourful that it stands out from the crowd, much like a peacock stands out in a colony of penguins. Elizabeth St. Hilaire is such an artist.

I have seen thousands of works of art over the years – in galleries, museums, art shows, hotels, and in private collectors’ homes – but I’ve never seen art like St. Hilaire. Who creates fabulous flamingos, pretty pigs, darling donkeys, colourful Koi, delightful Dalmatians, and charming chickens – all out of bits of torn painted paper? No one. St. Hilaire is one-of-a-kind. Her work, both in style and method, is uniquely hers.

It was her signature bird – the peacock – that first caught my eye. A friend had emailed an image of Peter Peacock, a large collage painting on display in a gallery in Sedona. I’ve seen many peacocks over the years, but never seen a one quite like the one that Beth created with paint and collage.

St. Hilaire says, “I wanted to be loose; I wanted to paint like the impressionists; I wanted my work to have energy, spontaneity, and excitement. I wasn’t achieving what I wanted.

“So I began searching for solutions, for pathways to creating better work. I started incorporating papers into my acrylic paintings, painting over paper, painting under paper, painting with paper. A combination of paper and paint began to loosen things up. Painting over crumpled, glued down tissue paper could not be too detailed or laboured.”

Paper painting

By BJ Gallagher for

Image credit: D. Nelson

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