Meredith Brooks Abbott was born in 1938 and grew up on a small ranch in Carpinteria, California. Her artistic ability was obvious at a young age, and she spent much of her time sketching her rural surroundings. This idyllic setting, coupled with the support of a strong family, created an environment where art thrived—four of the five Brooks children went on to pursue careers in the fine arts.
Abbott attended Scripps College in Claremont and the Art Center School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1962. Between classes, she studied with Douglass Parshall (1899-1990) in Santa Barbara, and painted alongside Richard S.
Meryman (1891-1963) and Clarence Hinkle (1880-1960), two influential American Impressionists. Meryman, a friend of the Brooks family, became a tutor and colleague to Abbott. Together, they painted throughout Santa Barbara, as well as in Meryman’s native Dublin, New Hampshire, where he was a central member of the town’s reputable art colony.
Abbott returned to California in 1966, first to San Francisco where she rekindled her romance with Duncan Abbott, a childhood friend from her hometown. After marriage in 1967, the couple moved back to Carpinteria to help manage the family’s avocado and lemon ranch. It was here, home again after fifteen years, that Abbott pursued her art with renewed strength and established herself as one of California’s leading plein air painters.
During the last twenty years, Abbott has confirmed her standing as a modern American Impressionist, a title she accepts with a wry smile, admitting, “Well, I try to give an impression, a good impression.” She does—her paintings continue to gain appreciation, and are increasingly sought by collectors. In addition, her work has found more and more significance in political arenas; what starts as a desire to capture the beauty of the natural and human world can be an effective tool for environmental and conservationist causes. Abbott focuses much of her work on conservation, painting California’s fast-disappearing rural landscapes. A founding member of the OAK Group, she has helped preserve much of California’s cultural heritage through her art, benefiting such organizations as the Santa Barbara Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Environmental Defense Center, and the Community Environmental Council, among others.