Born in Derby in 1976, Mark Preston is the younger member of an already well known artistic family. He studied illustration at Anglia University in Cambridge, but it was sketching and painting trips with his father, Rex Preston, to the Peak District, Cornwall and Scotland that really inspired him to become a landscape painter.
Mark paints in acrylics and works mainly in situ with relatively little time spent in the studio. “For me, experiencing the landscape and elements directly is essential to attempt to capture them in paint. I just need to be there to respond to the situation and the spirit of the landscape” This direct approach of working from nature, allows him time to observe and experience the subtle changes in colour, light and atmosphere, enabling him to build up an understanding and awareness of the places he paints. One mainstay of Mark’s thinking comes from John Constable’s declaration that “Nature is the fountain’s head, the source from whence all originality must spring”.
Derbyshire, the Lake District and Penwith in Cornwall are the main areas he paints and it’s the way the changing seasons and weather affect these places that fascinates him. Mark has been having one-man shows in Derbyshire and Cornwall from the age of 21 and has had exceptional success in recent years, his work has been published as greeting cards by Paperhouse and Canns Down Press.
His style has developed through various experimental and formulative stages to one that shows confidence and firmness of direction. It is clear to see that he is in focus with his objective and interpretation of subjects as his style and palette come together with such exciting results.
Michael Mosley, Granby Gallery
There is a real freshness and emotion to his work. It’s the way he attacks the surface of the canvas. Just look at his seascapes; he throws the paints on as if they were waves. Although close up its abstract work, stand back and you can feel the rush of those waves or, in other pictures the wind rustling the vegetation or the sun shining down.
Phil Tregoning, Tregoning Gallery
His work possesses an air of authenticity and is steeped in reality. It is clear to see he is a plein-air artist.
Frank Ruhrmund Art critic, The Cornishman
It takes only a glance at Mark Preston’s paintings to realise that he is a born artist. His combination of a compositional eye, careful application of paint and considered brushstrokes can elevate a literal landscape into one of emotion, expression and empathy.
Ashley Franklin Derbyshire Life
Mark Preston’s print gallery: click here
Mark Preston’s personal website: click here