Tom Hughes

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Painting, for me, is about freedom; Creatively and physically. I am fascinated by how the world looks and whythings appear as they do. My obsessive need to enquire and experiment with these thoughts has always been there and I choose to exercise this need via oil paint.

Plein air painting is as much about being in the outdoors, immersed in the elements as it is about making pictures. The process holds an equal if not greater value to me. I love to get wrapped up in the clothing; Gortex and leather hiking boots. Wind on your face and all that. Chill in the fingers. Drinking good coffee while looking up the coast to boiling seas and jutting peninsulas. It’s bliss. I love the gloom of a city in winter, the dark darks and the subtle greys. Headlights glowing and popping against it all.

If plein air is a dynamic, reactive environment then the studio is the opposite. The studio is about control, first and foremost, coupled with endless time and total creative freedom. It’s the chemistry lab where I can explore any aspect of visual stimuli that’s currently on my mind in comfortable, static quiet. Put a lamp here, move a jar there, create a soft shadow, introduce a curved reflective surface. The combinations are infinite. It’s both toy box and garden shed for the inquisitive man-boy and I love it.



The Founders Prize – The Discerning Eye 2015
The Critics Prize – The New English Art Club 2015
The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture – The RP annual Exhibition 2015
Porthleven Prize – The Bristol Painting Prize 2014
Second Prize, Winsor Newton Artist under 35 Prize – The ROI annual Exhibition 2014
Benton Purchase Prize – The Discerning Eye 2014
Bristol Fine Art Prize – The Bristol Painting Prize 2013


Brunel University

Open Exhibitions

The BP Portrait Award 2014
Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013,14
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2013, 15
New English Art Club 2013,14,15
Royal Society of Portrait Painters 2014,15
Royal Society of British Artists 2013,14,15
Royal Institute of Oil Painters 2013,14,15
Royal Society of Marine Artists 2014
Royal West of England Academy 2012,13,15
Bath Society of Artists 2013,14,15
The Discerning Eye 2014,15
National Open Art Competition 2014
Pintar Rapido 2014
The Bristol Prize 2013,14


The Artist
Article on how I paint a plein air scene, broken down into 6 stages – November 2015

Artists & Illustrators
5 page interview about my working practise – February 2015

Leisure Painter
4 page article on my first year painting plein air and technical painting tips – November 2013

Plein Air Magazine
Artist Profile “From a Studio to a Plein Air Artist” – July 2013, digital edition only

Clifton Matters
Front cover and double page feature – June 2013