Pacita Abad: Mixed-Media Paintings
Create a colorful, mixed-media painting inspired by artist Pacita Abad.
Born in the Philippines, Pacita Abad (1946–2004) was a Filipina American artist known for her textured, colorful, and vibrant paintings. She became a painter in the 1970s after studying Asian history at the University of San Francisco and traveling to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she collected shells, beads, buttons, sequins, ribbons, hand-stitched textiles, mirrors, and other objects. She incorporated these found objects into her paintings using the Italian quilting technique trapunto. Her artwork focuses on themes of immigrant experience, abstract emotions, underwater wilderness, and social realism. Create your own painting inspired by Abad’s use of circles, lines, and mixed–media methods using the following materials and directions.
Explore Abad’s artworks at https://pacitaabad.com/artworks/.
- Cardboard, canvas, or heavyweight paper
- Acrylic or nontoxic paint
- Plate or palette for paint
- Bowl or cup for water
- Cloth rag or paper towels
- Embroidery or tapestry needle
- Embroidery or thick thread
- Find a good working space where you can make a bit of a mess. Gather your materials.
- Use your pencil to outline shapes and forms onto your cardboard, canvas, or heavyweight paper. Try concentric circles and straight and curved lines.
- Paint your shapes and forms in different colors. Try painting designs in some of your shapes, like stripes or dots, to add layers. Let it completely dry.
- Once your artwork is dry, use your needle and thread to stitch beads along and within the shapes and lines you’ve painted to create texture.
- Tip: try using something sharp to poke holes in your artwork so it is easier to move the needle through the cardboard, canvas, or heavyweight paper.
- Optional: try stitching or gluing (if you don’t have a needle and thread) buttons, shells, ribbons, string, and/or sequins to your paintings to add additional texture and depth to your artwork.
- Tie off and cut and any loose threads.
- Display your artwork.