THE LOW COUNTRY:
PAINTINGS BY PRESTON RUSSELL
ABOUT PRESTON
What a visual feast to live in Savannah. American by birth--southern by the grace of God: old ways, old traditions. Tradition, someone said long ago, is the living faith of dead people. One can feel it here in the low country, even on a visit. After a few years, you know it. Old things, things that don’t tend to dwell elsewhere in America. Old buildings, many drooping over in splendid decay, like elderly folks who become more beautiful with the patina of survival. Romantic people in their own peculiar realm, both a part of the other, inseparable, eccentric. John Berendt captured this essence perfectly in his international best seller on Savannah, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil:

"The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large. It grew inward, too, and in such a way that its people flourished like hothouse plants tended by an indulgent gardener. The ordinary became extraordinary. Eccentrics thrived. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved a greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else on earth."

Over thirty years, this vision progressively became compelling to record and preserve. Recalling Gertrude Stein’s famous observation, there is definitely a “there” here in Savannah–magic--and in Charleston, in Beaufort, in Bluffton, the Golden Isles, and other places I have yet to discover. And when I do discover them, often by chance, I feel excitement and humility, indeed awe, confronting a chance revelation of the “there” which is here. If successful in capturing that fleeting there-ness, I am privileged to share in a degree of timelessness, a moment of grace that the subject alone gives--before it darts off--never to be quite the same forever. Andrew Wyeth, an artist I greatly admire, expressed this visual quest better than I can:

"I think one's art goes as far and as deep as one's love. I see no reason for painting but that. If I have anything to offer, it is my emotional contact with the place where I live and the people I do."

I paint almost daily in my Savannah studio, a converted carriage house behind our 1860s home and garden in the heart of the historic district (where I try to stay out of my wife’s hair). By appointment (912-234-0210), my studio and gallery are open to visit and discuss art. Around half of my paintings are available on this web site. I look forward to meeting you in person someday. Please drop by.

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