Mark Preston was born in Derby in 1976, and still lives in Derbyshire, where much of his subject matter is found. Mark is the youngest member of a painting dynasty – both his father Rex and Uncle James are professional artists too. He studied illustration at Anglia University in Cambridge, but the sketching and painting trips to the Peak District, Cornwall and Scotland with his father Rex really inspired him to become a landscape painter.
Mark paints in acrylics and works mainly on site, en plein air, 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”.
Mark’s work is instantly recognisable, and his thick, impasto strokes of paint really give a vitality to his work. But make no mistake, the paint isn’t just haphazardly flashed across the canvas – each mark is deftly placed and the hand of an excellent draughtsman is very evident. His paintings are bright, but very convincing, capturing every nuance of colour and tone, and are quite captivating. We are so pleased to be able to exhibit Mark’s work, much of it painted in his native Derbyshire, and from the Lake District and Cornwall. His work is compelling and fresh, and must be seen to appreciate its vibrancy.