Born in 1930, William Preston drew and painted from childhood on. With only a little formal art training, he sold bull-fight ink drawings in Mexico City, practiced sumi and photography in Los Angeles, illustrated books in New York City, sold elegant watercolors from his lobster shack gallery in Maine, exhibited drawings and paintings in Key West, and had solo shows in Boston, Maine, Washington, D.C., Miami, Texas and New Mexico. Throughout his long career, he sketched mostly in pen & ink, and charcoal. Here are pages from the sketchbooks he left behind.
While in his twenties, and after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, William Preston lived in Mexico City for extended periods twice during the 1950's, traveling from Los Angeles where he had been a copyboy, then a photographer for the LA Times. Living on the roof of a taqueria, he supported himself by drawing at the bullfights and selling sketches to tourists, and to the galleries. He became an afficionada practico, once testing young bulls in Tijuana, before finally leaving on a bus to New York City to find his way as an American artist.
Variously working as a book illustrator through an agent, selling paintings from a stoop in the West Village, and producing Long John Nevill's (early) talk radio show, William travelled to Maine to find a place for his new wife and soon-to-be born son, choosing Ogunquit (York, Maine) to establish himself. He became an active part of the Ogunquit Art Colony, showing and selling watercolors from his lobster shack gallery in Perkins Cove. He had one-man shows on Newbury Street in Boston at Shore Gallery, and won prizes for his watercolors in national shows in NYC.
After 15 years in Maine, William's marriage ended. For six years he lived in a small van, wintering in the south, returning to a Maine rental for the summers. These sketches from that time, mostly done in permanent marker which has not faded, show what he was drawn to in his journeys, and he had solo shows in Miami, Washington DC, and Houston, Texas. There are more, which I will be adding later as there is time. Late in that time period he moved to Houston, where we met in 1982, and the rest is our history!