Portugal News Article

The Unique and Colourful Jessica Dunn
by Jake Cleaver,
Portugal News (click to go to article)

My visit to the Dunn studio to find out more about how this
extraordinary local artist brings the Algarve’s natural colours to life
on canvas.

You may remember that a few weeks ago I told you all about an event I
attended at the Algarve International School (AIS) near Vale do Lobo
called The Big Draw. The five local lady artists from the recently formed Quinta Art Collective
(Jessica Dunn, Jane Rodenburg, Toin Adams, Andrea M. Bird and Tracy
Carson) had come down and were helping the kids splash about with some
paint and create, what turned out to be, some really quite beautiful
murals on the front wall of the school.

While I was there, Jessica Dunn very kindly invited me to come by and
see her studio sometime. Jessica grew up in London but has been coming
to the Algarve her whole life and has been based here permanently since
1987. She’s one of those people who, growing up here, I feel like I’ve
always heard of but knew embarrassingly little about and so I jumped at
the chance to find out more.

The Dunn Studio is located in Boliqueime and Jessica told me that
maybe it would be best if we met at the cemetery as people tend to get
lost if they try to follow Google any further than that. I met Jessica
here and we walked up to the studio. Next to the family house, it was
originally built for her father, the much loved comedy actor Clive Dunn
(from Dad’s Army), as he always had a huge passion for drawing and
painting, something that rubbed off on Jessica, who has been painting
her whole life.

Indeed, during my visit, it became apparent that the whole family is a
creative one. Her mother, Priscilla Morgan, who I only met briefly, was
an actress too, and Jessica’s daughters, Alice and Lydia, also paint
and draw. This means that all the wall space in the house is covered in
drawings of beautiful places and quirky creatures, as well as quite a
few portraits they painted of each other. Even outside in the garden,
Jessica pointed out a cat statue on the roof she had made and also
commented that they should really get around to touching up the mural of
tropical birds that her dad painted by the pool. The trouble with
everybody being so creative, I began to see, is where to put everything?
But there are definitely worse problems. I thought it was wonderful.

But anyway, ‘back to the studio’ (as they say). It was a very
circular room, think ‘lighthouse’ sort of shape, and, come to think of
it, a lighthouse is a good way to describe it for another reason as
well. The many windows allow all that gorgeous Algarvian sunshine to
come streaming in and provide the perfect light in which to see
Jessica’s paintings that are largely inspired by that very same sunlight
and the colours and contrast it creates as it dances around familiar
scenes from life here in southern Portugal.

You see, although she used to paint more figurative paintings, in the
last five years or so she has transitioned into more abstract art and
takes her inspiration mainly from sky, land and seascapes. Her work now
brilliantly catches the contrast in colours that the sun highlights as
it paints the clouds at sunset, or casts shadows through the trees or
sparkles on the water.

Indeed, while I was there, a patch in one of the paintings was lit up
in the sunshine, bringing out a square of striking bright light orange,
which I mistakenly thought was part of the painting. Jessica liked it
too and I think I started her mind whirling about how she could
replicate that effect on the canvas permanently.

Working with oils and acrylic, Jessica told me how she’s got into the
habit of starting all her paintings by bringing them ‘down to earth’
and covers them in a background of a lovely orangey terracotta colour -
the same colour you find on the ground in so many places around here.
She then proceeds to work her magic, taking her time, adding a splash of
paint here and scraping a bit off there, until, eventually, a place or a
familiar feeling starts to emerge. She works on several simultaneously
and the key, she said, is knowing when to stop.

They are abstract and thus open to your own imagination and
interpretation. Indeed, she laughed and showed me one that had recently
been exhibited in a gallery the wrong way around and that even she
didn’t notice until later when she looked more closely and realized it
looked much better the original way up.

She does name them and that gives you a little clue as to the
inspiration. My favourite was ‘Somewhere’ with a streak across the sky
that I later realized was, of course, a rainbow. (It’s smaller
counterpart was placed ‘Way Up High’ in the room next door.)

There was one based on the ‘levant’ dust storms we get from time to
time, others take you for a stroll ‘Into The Woods’, and there’s a
series of ‘Blue’ paintings to which you will have to make up your own
mind if they are sea or the sky.

I was really quite enchanted by Jessica’s work and I’m doing my best
to describe them, but it’s difficult. I don’t think even photos do them
justice - you need to see them for yourself. (Having said that, she does
have some beautiful limited edition prints on which you can almost
‘feel the paint’.)

She told me that she had also found a company that takes her
paintings and makes scarfs, bags, wallets, pillowcases and even, more
recently, masks. Which I think is a wonderful idea as you can now ‘wear
her art’ and the brilliant colours of her paintings make the perfect
adornments to decorate and light up your day to day life with.

There were lots of unopened packages on the ground which Jessica told
me was artwork from the rest of the Quinta Art Collective that had
started to arrive. This is because on the weekend of Friday the 3rd of
December (from 5 pm - 8.30 pm) and on Saturday & Sunday (between 11
am and 6 pm) they will be holding an exhibition there at the studio with
their ‘Small Works’ (so that there’s space to display all of their

If you want to find out more about Jessica’s work, then visit her website www.jessicadunnart.com and consider going to this latest exhibition. It sounds like fun!


Portugal News article by Jake Cleaver Artist Jessica Dunn in her studio / gallery in the Algarve Portugal News article by Jake Cleaver, Jessica Dunn Art Quinta Art Collective  exhibition

Benefit Exhibition, Hope & Possibility, Bridgette Mayer Gallery , Philadelphiaia

Oil painting by Jessica Dunn, “Blue Tide” is on exhibition in an exhibition curated by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia. Click here to view and purchase to support a good cause…


Benefit Exhibition For EducationWorks & Tools For School

October 7th - November 19th, 2021

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 7th, 5:30pm-8:00pm

Location: 990 Spring Garden St, Ground Floor, Philadelphia

Great Art for A Great Cause: Make an Impact with Your Support

For our 8th Benefit, Bridgette Mayer Gallery is proud to support Tools for School and EducationWorks,
two nonprofit organizations that provide resources and programs that
ensure quality education for students in the greater Philadelphia area.
20% of exhibition proceeds will provide “Hope & Possibility” to
students and young people in need by granting them access to school
supplies, backpacks, academic support programs, career readiness
programs & enrichment programs.

Blue Tide, by Jessica Dunn .
Bridgette Mayer Gallery
Blue Tide, oil painting by Jessica Dunn

Meet the Artists. Live Art Session with Quinta Art Collective in Algarve, Arts & Lifestyle

On Sunday 13th June the five members of the Quinta Art Collective will be presenting an all day event “Meet the Artists & Live Art session” at the Re-Criativa República 14 in the seaside town of Olhão. They will meet the public and demonstrate a little of what they do, revealing tips and tricks as they paint, draw and weave their way through a live art session.

You may have already heard of the Quinta Art Collective since they made their mark on the Algarve last summer.

In 2020 five artists came together, inspired by member Andrea Bird, who realised that if they joined forces professionally, the five friends could make an impact on the Algarve art scene.

Painter Jessica Dunn, sculptor Toin Adams, portrait artist Tracy Carson, contemporary mosaic artist Andrea M Bird and fibre artist Jane Rodenburg each create artworks in their own medium and unique style and have found this collaboration to be extremely rewarding.

As they put it “Working as an artist is a rather solitary occupation so meeting up regularly to discuss projects and support each other gives us all a boost. Much wine is drunk and big plans are made!”

Their first goal came to fruition in August 2020 with their inaugural exhibition at the Vale do Lobo Gallery, Aderita Artistic Space and their appearance on Channel Four´s “A New Life in The Sun”.
In the spring of 2021 the world opened up and they jumped right in with a new exhibition of brand new work at the newly renovated art centre Re-Creativa República 14 .

In this current exhibition, which runs until 20 June, their diverse creations contrast yet complement one another sitting juxtaposed throughout the expanse of this beautiful historic building, each section carefully curated to allow each artist to shine.

Larger pieces such as “Big Blue,” an abstract oil painting in mesmerising blues by Jessica Dunn and “Rock Face”, Jane Rodenburg´s largest and most impressive weaved piece, are just two of the many artworks which hang in the main salon, where live concerts are held. Captivated by the glistening colourful mosaics such as Verklemt by Andrea M Bird and a wall covered in wonderful portraiture by Tracy Carson highlighted by “Girl with a Butterfly Tattoo”, you are then led through by Toin Adams´ nude drawings to one of her incredible steel sculptures, Chameleon, which stands on the outdoor terrace. Smaller pieces hang in the halls and adorn the walls of the in-house restaurant Ficus - Café Concerto where diners can take in the art whilst having their meal.
On Sunday 13 June the artists will set up their materials and begin the demonstration at 11am, there will be a break for lunch, followed by more socialising and live art throughout the afternoon. Tapas and drinks will be served on the terrace.

The public can drop in at anytime between 11am and 7pm to enjoy a relaxed and enjoyable day.

All artwork is for sale in a wide range of prices.
*Why not make a day of it and catch the train to Olhão to experience the wonderful market too?

For more info:
Tel: + 351 962544650
E-mail: hello@quintaartcollective.com
Website : www.quintaartcollective.com
Instagram: @quintaartcollective
Facebook: quintaartcollective

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