Through the trees

Watercolour painting, titled Like This: Moon in blue sky, green hills, pink and white house, brown and green coniferous tree in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. ©2022 Marie Preston
Like This (watercolour painting) ©2022 Marie Preston

Summer changes to autumn in the northern hemisphere, with cool nights and colourful leaves. Outspoken Images is also in a season of transition. Mr. Outspoken Images said “yes” to a short-term work opportunity, so both he and I (Marie) have been in Spain for a month. Keep reading to view artwork inspired by new European landscapes and learn about other exciting events on the horizon.

Pen drawing: Church of Saint Susan belfry with plants on the top ©2022 Marie Preston
Church of Santa Susana (ink drawing) ©2022 Marie Preston

I spent several rainy days browsing graphic novels and illustrated children’s books at the local library. Among the illustrators who got me to sit down and really look at their stuff: Jeff Smith (Bone), Seaerra Miller (Hilda), Chris Riddell (Ottoline), and Michele Rech / Zerocalcare (Forget My Name). On a walk through Parque da Alameda in Santiago de Compostela, I noticed the plants growing from the cupola of the Church of Saint Susan. Using my newfound inspiration, I sat on a stone wall and sketched until rain drove me under the trees. Here’s the inked version. What story does it tell you?

Watercolour painting, titled Upon Reflection: Trees, rocks, and ferns along river; person on bridge above. ©2022 Marie Preston
Upon Reflection (watercolour painting) ©2022 Marie Preston

Before I travelled to Spain, a friend mentioned something about Kjell Aukrust, a beloved illustrator from Norway: Kjell’s style changed when he was in Italy—it became more open and fluid. Maybe that’s affecting me; perhaps this climate and culture make it easier to sit down for a few moments, get interrupted, and continue creating later; or it’s possible my time in Santiago de Compostela helps me think outside my usual box. I find quiet spaces to draw and paint amidst a bustling city this month. I take reference photographs but also see myself taking artistic license! I continue my exploration of humans as part of nature, composing illustrations with wee bits of architecture or humans visible through the trees. 

Watercolour painting: Watercolour illustration: Green / black coniferous trees, fireflies, cabin and person on island, water, mountains, moon, and stars. ©2022 Marie Preston (Outspoken Images)
Summer Lights (watercolour & ink) ©2022 Marie Preston

Trees are a common theme in my artwork, and they are plentiful in northwestern Spain. I return to the mountains and forests of Folldal, Norway next month as artist in residence, where I’ll create artwork based on local nature and interact with the community. After a month in a city, I’m excited to see how my artwork grows and changes again. It’s good preparation for my impending Master’s studies: Science Communication. I plan to focus on science and nature in society, digging deeper into the depths of my illustration skills at the University of Otago | Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou in Dunedin, New Zealand | Ōtepoti, Aotearoa.

Published by Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

Creating illustrations for sustainability, stewardship, and science communication.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: