While growing up, when British-born Prescott wasn’t fighting or racing motorcycles in Liverpool, he might be found creating stained glass for churches and cathedrals along with his murals, lamps and other freestanding designs.
At age 17, the young artist got his first exhibition in a Liverpool department store, he says, before landing a job with a gas conversion company. A decade later, he returned to his art, which he’s done professionally for nearly 35 years while learning from top wildlife artists such as John Seerey-Lester and Alan Hunt, idols he's picked up along the way before settling in North Texas.
More than 50 of Graham’s original paintings will be exhibited at the Old Post Office Museum/Art Gallery in Graham next month with an artist reception being held from 1-3 p.m. on Sept. 18.
“When I grew up, everyone thought they were a tough guy and everyone wanted to fight if you looked at them the wrong way,” Prescott recalls.
The Weatherford painter also recalls his art college days and how he’d balked when teachers steered him toward abstract.
“I wanted to do realism,” he says. “So I left art college, without a degree, I might add.”
Prescott laughs when describing some of the “weird stuff” he painted before honing his realism skills.
“It was the ‘60s,” he says, “from pastels, one color, such as purple … witches coming out of dark places.”
Later, he’d paint the black bears that lolled about his home in San Bernardino, California.
“They used to come around the house,” he says. “Then, I’d follow them back up into the mountains, following them and talking to them and photographing them. Mainly, my life’s been around wildlife in the wild, such things as elk up in Washington state, bobcat, cougar, all the American stuff, you know, raccoons."
The mention of the latter reminds him of one picture that defies any artist's imagination.
“I had 14 [raccoons] in the kitchen one night,” he says. “And when I stood up, they all went for the door. There was three-raccoon-high going through the door standing on each other’s backs.”
Prescott says that, when perturbed, the raccoons make a snort-like sound. He then mimics the garbled noise that they make while greeting. Back in those days, he says he’d leave his door open, sit on the floor and greet the animals as they entered. None ever attacked him, but he remembers a camera-shy mama bear did become visibly angry as he took her photo.
After living in California for 20 years then returning to England to care for his father, the love of a lady lured Prescott to Weatherford, he says. That’s where he and his wife, Danna, now live in a house on five acres with a large garage, art studio and the big easel he crafted to accommodate paintings up to 7 feet wide and 5 feet high. They live surrounded by oak trees, wildlife, their three Arabian horses, a trio of dogs and a cat. There are also red-shouldered hawks flying around the property.
“I think they’re going to nest in one of our oak trees,” Prescott says. “They’ve been crying territorial rights or displaying to each other for about three or four days now.”
Recently, Prescott saw water splashing out in the trough while feeding the horses. At first, he thought it was just one of the squirrels that occasionally drown there.
“I rushed over to it,” he says. “And lo and behold when I looked in the trough there’s a red-shouldered hawk. She was flapping to try and get out, but her feathers were all waterlogged. So I tried to get hold of her, but that didn’t work because she was panicking. And then, she grabbed ahold of my finger with her talons and I was able to put her on the ground. She ran across to one of the oak trees. I probably saved her life, which is good, because they are beautiful, beautiful birds.”
Prescott’s work has been featured in numerous galleries and on the covers of various wildlife magazines. From his Western depictions to bison painting to his recent likeness of an iris flower, Prescott paints a wide range of subjects, though of course, he has some favorites.
“I prefer a lot of animals to a lot of people I meet,” he says.