Reflecting on life with Abigail Schaffter

Abigail Schaffter’s rather unique talent and passion are unquestionable for they echo through her rather incandescent art. A mother of four, Abigail completed her Bachelors in Theology last July and is now a full-time pastor at People’s Church Narahenpita.
We sat down with her for a chat ahead of her upcoming exhibition titled ‘Reflections’.

How did art come into the picture?

My degree was going to end so I thought “I’m going to have a lot of time so let me learn something new.” So that’s how art came about.
Have you always found yourself immersed in drawing?

It was something I’ve always liked. My son started going for this art class conducted by Rhuani Rambukwella, who’s also a good friend of mine. She conducts adult art classes as well, so I attended these classes and it was something I really enjoyed.

What forms do you portray through your artwork?

A lot of my art depict lonely benches where people go and sit by themselves and think about the meaning of life. Additionally, my art depicts the beauty that surrounds us, mainly nature – but I have my own take on it. For instance, I discovered that I really love painting horses and have quite a few paintings depicting horses, that too, a fantasy-like version with beautiful manes and rainbow colours.

Is there a very specific type of medium you stick to when you create your drawings? Or is it a blend?

I use acrylic, oil, watercolours, and I’ve also tried something called soft pastels. They’re very messy to work with, but the end result is quite satisfying because they’re quite vibrant. Some of my drawings are also created using a blend of ink and acrylic.

Do you derive inspiration from any renowned artistic personalities?

Apart from my art teacher, Rhuani Rambukwella, some of my skills are self-taught. However, I used to watch a lot of art related videos by Bob Ross, and he inspired me a lot. Additionally, Marcia Baldwin is someone I really admire.

Tell us about ‘Reflections’ , what urged you to come up with this idea?

Although I graduated last July with a distinction, by August, I suffered burn-out. During that difficult time, art was like a lifeline. I was producing these beautiful paintings amidst the struggle I was going through at the time. Following a retreat I embarked on when I travelled abroad with my daughter, God completely healed me, and I was released in an instant. Thereafter, I realised I had done all these paintings; so this year, I gave myself a year. ‘Reflections’ is my first solo exhibition. I know I haven’t painted for long but it’s amazing how it’s all coming together.

The opening ceremony is set to take place on 26 October, and the exhibition will open its doors for public viewing on 27 and 28 October, at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery.

By Chenelle Ferando

Photos by Indika Handuwala