Abigail McDougall on new directions and prepping for Open Studios

Abby has recently been busy preparing for JSA’s Open Studios, as well as her own exhibition under the name of her gallery, Bristol Contemporary Art. The exhibition ‘Supernature’ revolves around the theme of the magnificence of nature. Exhibiting 20 artists, the pop-up exhibition will be open in Cabot Circus until the 29th of June.

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Abby has recently been doing a lot of paintings on location, inspiring the initial background landscape in the work. She then takes them back to the studio and makes them more exotic by experimenting with new colours. ‘Normally I do landscapes that are of cityscapes, such as Bristol or London- they’re very much based in reality but I’ve been developing this other set of work which is a bit more fantasy- based, with an element of the exotic. I finished this piece yesterday which I’m going to show at the exhibition. I’m trying to create more of a dreamlike quality in my paintings.’

Abby has been a part of the Jamaica Street collective for about five years and loves the constant inspiration that the studio environment offers. ‘When you’re at university you see other people work and you get inspired, but this is another level because people here are professional artists and they’ve got different ways of making it work.’

She was involved with the studio for a few years before she actually got a studio space. She says, becoming a part of the studios ‘kick-started’ her career. Although Abby had sold some paintings from when she was as young as 12, the work she sold at the Open Studios was the first time she had sold any paintings since she graduated.

Abby originally came to Bristol to pursue music; ‘It was so hard, the industry was going through a lot of changes, I sold a few pieces of art and that set me off. My style has changed so much, and I’ve learnt a lot too. The more you do, the more you learn and develop.’

One of Abby’s most prominent artist inspirations is Jane Corsellis- she grew up with her work around the family home. ‘It’s really amazing, beautiful impressionist style work. I learnt a lot about colour and light and atmosphere by looking at her work. She’s a big influence because my the exposure to her work, her colours and light stand out a lot more than other impressionist work.’ Abby has also been inspired by Paul Klee’s watercolour paintings; ‘Again it was the colours, but also the abstract shapes and the set of paintings he did in Tunisia, which used really unusual blocks of colour, which inspired me to look at the landscape and composition in more of a geometric way. Although a lot of my paintings are quite realistic, there’s also that element of abstraction too which came from looking at his work.’

You can see Abby’s work at Open Studios in June.

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About jamaicastreetartists

Jamaica Street Artists is one of the largest artist-lead studios outside of London and has been established for over 15 years. The studio is housed in a grade ii listed former carriageworks, an iconic landmark in Bristol. Jamaica Street Artists is a unique and ambitious collective, holding an annual Open Studio and planning an exciting programme for the year ahead. In the past we have held group exhibitions at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and St George's, Bristol, and individual artists continue to find success exhibiting across the UK and abroad. Over the past year Jamaica Street Artists has run a dynamic fundraising campaign to safeguard our future, a new lease has now been secured, but the long-term aim remains to purchase the building in partnership. Looking towards the future Jamaica Street Artists plan to build on their success, continuing to contribute to Bristol's creative and cultural reputation and promoting the work of its artists.

2 comments

  1. Norman

    I enjoyed seeing what was happening in the open doors exhibition and talking to a few artists there. I find it very difficult to understand what or how to market fine art paintings, but over the years you have progressed very well. I think that you find it hard to talk about your own work and yet you are doing quite well. from Norman

  2. Pingback: Abigail McDougall – meet the artist | Side by Side

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