Meredith Brooks Abbott studied under painters Douglass Parshall, Robert Meryman and Clarence Hinkle. Her paintings carry on the Early California Plein Air tradition while also conveying her own take on natural light in the Southern California landscape. Abbott prefers to paint outdoors allowing for the untainted qualities of her subject to be captured in quick, expressive brushstrokes. She is an advocate of environmental conservation and a founding member of the OAK group.
Born in California, Meredith Brooks Abbott is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara. She decided to pursue a career as an artist at a young age and spent her first year of college at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. When her father fell ill, she returned to Santa Barbara to care after him.
During these years, she studied under local artist Douglass Parshall (1899-1990). Through Parshall, she met and studied under Richard S. Meryman (1882-1963) and noted California Impressionist Clarence Hinkle (1880-1960). Hinkle maintained a studio on the Riviera modeled after the studio of French Impressionist Claude Monet. Abbott fondly remembers visiting Hinkle and painting alongside him at his home: “It was a beautiful studio—very pristine and tidy, and I painted while standing on a tarp that covered the floor. Opera music was always playing and Mrs. Hinkle would come down to serve us coffee. It was a very lovely situation” (Sloan 58).
She eventually returned to school and earned her degree from the Art Center School in Los Angeles. In 1962, she moved to New York City where she worked as an illustrator in the advertising field and took night classes at the Arts Students League. She would often spend her weekends traveling to visit Meryman’s studio in Dublin, New Hampshire. There, she assisted the artist in completing portrait commissions. In 1970, she moved to San Francisco. There, she worked as an illustrator and began to exhibit her paintings in galleries. She frequently made trips to the pastoral Marin County where she enjoyed gathering inspiration from painting en plein air. While in San Francisco, she reunited with her childhood friend Duncan Abbott and the two were married. In 1974, they moved back south and settled on Duncan’s avocado and lemon ranch in Carpinteria.
With more than 50 years of experience in her career as an artist, Meredith continues to create beautiful impressionistic still lifes, landscapes and portraits. She is a founding member of the OAK Group and holds memberships in the Santa Barbara Art Association and the California Art Club.
III. An Analysis of the Artist's Work
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Art Center School, Los Angeles
Art Students League, New York
Clarence Hinkle, Santa Barbara, CA
Douglass Parshall, Santa Barbara, CA
Richard S. Meryman, Dublin, NH
Scripps College, Claremont, CA
V. SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
1972-1974 Village Frame and Gallery, Fairfax and Ross, CA
1974-1984 Gallery de Silva, Santa Barbara, CA
1985-1995 Arlington Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1995-1997 Easton Gallery
1995 “Art Walk,” Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, CA
1996 Westmont College, Montecito, CA
1997 “Nature Preserved,” Heritage Gallery, San Francisco