Julie and Syver with Apple
Very proud of my “Sedona Apple” at the Paper Painting workshop!

Imagine a workshop with an artist you admire in the creative and colorful setting of Sedona, AZ. It was AWESOMELY INSPIRING. Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson flew from Florida to teach her “Paper Paintings” Collage style. It was a three day workshop at Sedona Art Center with a balance of information, technique demos and plenty of time for personal exploration.

Sedona Arts Center photo by Julie Rustad
Sedona Arts Center

Elizabeth’s “Paper Paintings” are striking and it makes sense that she is also a graphic designer. She understands the importance of a focal point and how to create an engaging composition. She creates shape in her paper paintings with directional ripping and taught us how to create the look of objects closer, further away, vertical, horizontal and more.

Not only is her artwork colorful, fun and hidden with little paper gems relating to the work she created – she is an inspiring teacher. She taught us a variety of ways to paint papers to create colorful and unique textures. Our goal was to create a variety of hues and values that would relate to our subject. We were forewarned that “You can never have enough paper” – and it was SOOO true!

Here’s some of the printing on old bakery bags that I did using 3 or so colors and different textures.

Painting and printing on papers
Once we had a bunch of our own hand-painted paper, we started using it to collage over our underpainting. We started with the area closest to our subject.
"Sedona Apple" - Stage 1 by Julie Rustad
“Sedona Apple” – Stage 1 by Julie Rustad

Once that was finished we collaged our apple and background using small pieces of our paper, keeping in mind the shape and direction we wanted to achieve.

"Sedona Apple" - Stage 4 by Julie Rustad
“Sedona Apple” – Stage 4 by Julie Rustad

Once I looked at the photo on my phone, I didn’t like the dark stripe foreground . It was too distracting, so I used lighter papers that didn’t have as much going on — so that the apple was the focal point.

I was very proud of my finished “Sedona Apple”.

"Sedona Apple" by Julie Rustad
“Sedona Apple” by Julie Rustad

I’ve never used this technique before. It is not easy, but it really creates such a special and unique piece. You can add any kind of important papers you’d like to include — like love letters and your kid’s handwriting. I feel so lucky to have learned “Paper Painting” from the expert, Elizabeth!

Teacher and student with the finished piece
Julie Rustad and Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

The class was full of really nice and creative woman from all over the US and Canada! I had the pleasure of getting to go to lunch with some of them and I hope to stay in touch.

Finished Ales at Paper Painting Sedona Workshop
Such a creative group that made such unique apples!

One apple was not like the other. Pretty amazing results. I would highly recommend the “Paper Paintings” workshop  with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson– I think she’ll be back to Sedona in November – but she teaches all over. She also has a few books for sale too!

I am excited to apply this paper painting collage technique to my painting, “Tom the Robot”. I can’t wait to share the results with you!

Have you ever created a paper painting collage or something similar? Please share links to your artwork!

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