Gabriel Nivera

Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.

Bridgette Duran - Abstract Painter

Beverly Hills, California 

I am excited to share this new series of photographs. I spent a number of days with contemporary visual artist, Bridgette Duran at her home-studio observing her as she worked on a commission for a client.  We spoke about her creative process, some of the challenges that a professional artists face, and the steps she takes to master her craft and push herself to become a better artist.


I was pleased to find out Bridgette found her passion & calling in the arts after working in financial services, something I could relate to; having left a career in law myself to pursue photography.  Self-taught, Bridgette discovered her talent while living abroad in Saudi Arabia, making art for fun. Upon returning to the US, she took short courses at her local college. She then left for Paris to continue her self-directed training. Initially Bridgette wanted to pursue figurative art, but soon found pursuing abstract art gave the creative fulfillment she sought.  She says it is the perfect way to express her thoughts, emotions, and interests. It allows her subconscious  take control; without pre-planning or mapping out a design ahead of time.

Of course when working on a client commission the challenge is balancing artistic vision within guidelines and parameters set forth by the client.  Bridgette’s work is typically identified by her use of bright and bold colours. However for this commission, the client requested a more muted and subdued palette. “These inner conflicts present some temporary struggles which I have to overcome to create the sensory experience requested, but also not doing a disservice to myself, I have to remain authentic.”

People often talk about getting “in the zone”, but it's another thing to watch it happen as someone creates art. Quite literally, making something out of nothing - no references or layout to follow.  Intense concentration took over Bridgette’s face, she moved around the canvas with purpose. Strong, deliberate brush strokes, dabs, and smears of paint. There was no tentativeness in her movement, every time paint touched canvas it was decisive. She describes it as an "out of body experience”. Her mind empties and her body possessed by creative energy that she is compelled to express on the canvas.

When she isn't working on large statement pieces for clients, Bridgette doesn’t kick her shoes off and binge on Netflix.  She remains busy mastering her craft, after her morning coffee and meditation, she devotes a number of hours sketching and practicing her figurative drawing skills.  She has a structure and routine that keeps the creativity flowing.  She experiments with other mediums, like oil paint (she works primarily with acrylic and charcoal), she views other art. She is constantly creating -  honing her skills, and surrounding herself with creativity, so when inspiration does strike or the next commission comes calling, she’s ready to give life to an entirely unique creation once again.

You can check out her work here or follow her on instagram @bridgetteduran.