Posts Tagged ‘torn paper’

Purrfect Painted Paper Pet Portraits!

February 13, 2018

At the end of January, I was fortunate enough to take a class with the amazing Elizabeth St. Hilaire, the author of Painted Paper Art Workshop. The class was held in beautiful Mt. Dora, Florida, and lasted three days. Elizabeth creates amazing mixed-media works by tearing painted papers to use as “brush strokes” on canvas and the results are stunning.


Elizabeth is just as talented a teacher as she is an artist. I was mesmerized by the breadth of her work and her friendly, encouraging style. She’s quirky and adorable!


This class focused on memorializing our favorite pets – or, any animal we liked, actually. I was surprised to learn that, out of 17 students, I was the only one who brought a cat to paint! There were lots of dogs, but also a fox, a llama, a cow, a horse and other creatures you wouldn’t normally think of as pets.

small chloe

This is my dad’s cat, Chloe, adopted from an animal shelter a couple of years ago. My dad is quite smitten and loves to take photos of her!

Our “homework” consisted of tracing a photo of our animal onto an 11″x14″ canvas, then roughly painting it in to use as a template for the next step: tearing painted papers and gluing them to the canvas. We spent the first day learning about the process and getting started on painting our papers, using Elizabeth’s tips and techniques. She provided lots of supplies for us to use, including gel printing plates, stencils, stamps, etc. On the second day, we started ripping and gluing. It was messy and fun! Inspired by this cat painting of Elizabeth’s, I put flowers on Chloe’s head to bring in some bright color.

floral cat

Here is the finished work. Can you believe this is ALL torn paper? Even the tiniest bits, like the highlights in her eyes and the stripes on the pillow. We weren’t allowed to use scissors, so it was a challenge. I enjoyed the process immensely!

chloe 8x10 sm

I used papers from an atlas, a children’s large print storybook, a collection of essays about finding joy in life, a novel from the 60’s, sheet music and a bible written in Chinese, all of which came from the thrift store; plus rice paper and mulberry paper. It was fun to pick out words that fit the subject, like tiger, velvet, baby, and pixie. (I sincerely hope the Chinese words are “nice” ones, too!)

chloe close sm

Elizabeth makes whiskers on her animals from torn, twisted paper, but I just didn’t have the patience for that (nor was I confident it would look good), so I drew on Chloe’s whiskers with a black Pitt pen. Yes, I did “cheat” a little bit…but I never pulled out the scissors, so I think I’m still good! ๐Ÿ™‚