Pacita Abad's painting is characterized by color, constant change and experimentation from the 1970's right up to her passing in 2004. Pacita's most extensive body of work is her vibrantly, colorful, mixed media painted textile collages, abstract assemblages, and trapunto paintings. Many of these are very large canvases, but there are also a number of small works, incorporating hand-stitched textiles, ribbons, sequins, beads, buttons, tin, mirrors and many other found objects. Throughout her career Pacita also constantly worked on colorful prints, paper collages, and other works created on a complete range of materials from paper, bark cloth, metal, ceramics and glass.
Pacita's early paintings were primarily figurative, socio-political works of people, refugees and tribal masks drawn from her experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These paintings lead to her noted "American Dream" immigration series. Another body of work consisted of large scale nature paintings based on her love of underwater scenery, animal wildlife and tropical flowers. A disciplined and prolific painter, Pacita created over 4,500 artworks and, among her public art projects painted a 55-meter long bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles, just a few months before she died.