Bridgette Allan was born in Johannesburg , South Africa in 1965. A two year period spent in Paris, France during her formative years had a significant influence over her love and appreciation of art as many holidays and weekends were spent visiting sites of great artistic value and architectural importance.
Bridgette studied art as a high school subject at Pretoria Girls High where she matriculated but being of a high, spirited and non conforming nature, she felt stifled by the very structured class regime and became frustrated at being unable to freely express myself on the canvas. It was therefore not art that she initially pursued as a career.
Although painting remained a part of her life, it was not until 1998 that I began painting professionally.
Having moved to Zululand,KwaZulu Natal . “ I found the heat oppressive and the isolation from the arts and the culture I was raised with, almost unbearable. I found solace in painting and a certain consolation in being able to depict the shape of the land in bright bold colours- not necessarily true depictions of a vibrant land, but more an expression of how I wanted to feel – alive”. The colours are diverse and contrast one another and yet, there is no conflict.
Monochrome work was initially unusual for Bridgette. To paint a subtle nude figure was to begin with, just a personal challenge .However; it is the monochrome nude that has become her trademark. Her intrigue of the human form, proportion & movement brought about through studies of anatomy during her nursing years. She is challenged by trying to achieve accurate proportion and subtlety.
“I enjoy the immediate impact of large paintings and never feel limited or constrained by that which has seemingly become my trademark. As much as I am intrigued by the human form, I am thrilled and delighted by deep intense colour and the effect of dramatic tonal contrasts on the canvas.
Painting is not a job, it is not a hobby, nor is it just something I simply do. Painting is an extension of who I am.
It is the way I describe my emotions, my thoughts, my days. My hopes are contained in the colours and the form my brush strokes make.
The paintings may take the shape of a flower study or a landscape or a nude but even the very slightest smudge of colour is applied with passion and a fascination for the effect that it creates on the blank canvas.”