Westmont Magazine A Young Impressionist

Abigail McBride ’96 is passionate about plein air painting, producing landscapes, portraits and still lifes completely on location. Her work reflects the color and light of late afternoon and early evening sunsets. She attempts to capture the color harmonies she sees as light and weather change the subjects she paints. Known as a young Impressionist, she belongs to the rich tradition of American Impressionism.

“While my style can be described technically, I am most interested in putting things of beauty into the world,” Abigail says. “What is more beautiful than color and light?”

Painting on location presents some challenges. During the summer she relies on sunscreen, a sun visor and bug spray. In the winter, she must dress for the cold.

The art world has welcomed her work. The February 2000 issue of American Artist Magazine featured a story about her painting and her palette-knife technique. Galleries on the East Coast continue to feature her work. Last winter, a television station in Maryland produced a segment about her painting trip to capture the snow in western Maryland.

Most recently, Pan Am Airlines featured Abigail in an article about Annapolis for their in-flight magazine. They were merely looking for art to illustrate their piece, but when they saw Abigail’s work on her Web site, they decided to turn the story into an art feature and include a write-up about Abigail as well.

This past year she helped found the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association. The group put on their first event in September, and it was a resounding success.

Abigail was juried into the “Annapolis 350 Celebration” show at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and will have her second solo exhibition in the Philadelphia FAN Gallery. She has also been invited to participate in a three-person show in June 2003 at the McBride Gallery in Annapolis. Called “The Young Impressionists,” the exhibit focuses on the next generation of American Impressionism.

Abigail credits Westmont with allowing her to explore the relationship of her faith and her art.

“I’m truly glad that I took advantage of the liberal arts education Westmont offers,” she says. “The chance to travel in Europe and see how integrated the church community and art community used to be encouraged me to realize there is a place for art and artists even in the contemporary Protestant church.”

Her interest in art began “around the time I figured out that you could make marks on paper with this brightly colored crayon thing.” Art runs in the family; her mother owns the McBride Gallery in Annapolis. Abigail is thankful to the art professors at Westmont who stretched her ideas about art. She also appreciates the friendships she made while in college.

Abigail resides in Annapolis, where she is involved with Bible Study Fellowship and just began taking piano lessons. Learn more about her and her art at www.mcbridegallery.com/abigail.