Portrait of a friend makes Bridgette finalist for a prize

IN FLOWER: Bridgette McNab with her self-portrait, which was a finalist in the 2013 Doug Moran Portrait Prize.
IN FLOWER: Bridgette McNab with her self-portrait, which was a finalist in the 2013 Doug Moran Portrait Prize.

URUNGA-raised artist Bridgette McNab is a finalist in the 2014 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with her painting of her friend Tessa.

The winner of the $150,000 prize will be announced on Tuesday.

As one of 30 works selected for the 2014 portrait exhibition, which will open in Sydney next week, the painting has already earned Ms McNab a $1000 finalist's prize.

The 29-year-old painter currently lives in London and is becoming a portrait exhibition veteran.

She was also a finalist in this year's Archibald Prize for Portraiture with her portrait of UNSW lecturer Grace Hellyer and a finalist in last year's Moran Portrait Prize for a self-portrait with flowers.

In 2010 she was a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Art Award for women painters.

Her 2014 Archibald entry will be exhibited in Coffs Harbour next year in the travelling exhibition of Archibald Prize works, which will be shown at the Coffs Harbour City Art Gallery from April 18 to May 31.

Ms McNab's mother Dianne Rees still lives in Urunga. She said her daughter, who attended Bellingen High School, had put herself through her course at the National Art School in Sydney by winning scholarships, including the $20,000 Clitheroe Foundation painting scholarship, and had worked hard for every achievement.

"We're a single family and she put herself through the National Art School," Ms Rees said.

"It's all she's ever wanted to do and it's so good she has been able to follow her dream and been good enough to get somewhere with it.

"We've been extremely lucky with friends and neighbours who have helped her - in Sydney she painted in the garage and her boyfriend framed all her work."

A trained florist as well as a painter, Ms McNab said yesterday from London that while portraiture had been the focus of her attention since 2002, her recent floral still life paintings had also been well received, with a sellout exhibition in Brisbane late last year.

"This was very humbling, as I was not sure how the new subject matter would be received," she said.

Topics:  art

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