Rex Preston’s Moments
Originally from England, Rex Preston is an internationally known landscape artist. Having spent an extensive amount of time in the countryside of England and Scotland, Preston has painted a vast collection of beautiful works of the outdoors, which are currently on display at multiple exhibits. Through their nuanced styles, landscape artists such as Preston reflect larger movements in art history. From the emotive Romantics to the detail-focused Impressionists to the modern abstract artists, depictions of nature have varied according to prevailing styles, and Preston borrows from several of these themes. As he says about his creative process, “the most incredible effect might only last for a few minutes, but with a pencil and sketchbook, I can capture enough to be able to paint it later.” The painstaking effort to wait for such moments and capture them en plain air – it evidently pays off in his remarkable works.
In his “Beech Trees by the River” piece, we see a brilliant display of light and color over trees and a river. The water itself has many crisp, jagged lines, giving the impression of undulating waves and perturbations. As the water approaches the trees or the sky, however, broader, smoother strokes of paint convey subtle differences in the scenery while still seamlessly blending the scene together. A close observation of the trees reveals lengthy strokes in compact, box-like patterns: a very abstract style. The bright evening sunlight poignantly illuminates the leaves and falls over half the water, giving this piece its stunning play of light and color. Preston expertly captures what the eye sees in the most ephemeral and sublime moments in nature. At the same time, he also utilizes his imagination and abstract style to heighten the visual power of the image. I feel compelled to visit the outdoors for the tranquil, soul-lifting feeling that this work evokes. I am also reminded that as great as reality can be, our memory and imagination of it is often even better.
What do you see in this image?