Tom Hughes: Plein Air Paintings & Drawings

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Bristol-based Tom Hughes creates cityscapes, landscapes and still life in oil, charcoal, and pen and ink. He’s also managed art shops, trained as a picture framer, taught art classes and worked as a full-time freelance artist for seven years.

His current passion? Painting en plein air—in all environmental conditions, and from everyday real life.

Tom is particularly drawn (puns!) to shapes, angles, temperatures and contrasts. West Mall, Clifton, Bristol, seen below, possesses all four of these characteristics. With its raw, quickly drawn lines and impulsive smudges, this charcoal drawing on paper shows the city for what it is: ever-changing and full of life.

west mall, clifton, bristol charcoal on paper

Heavy lines seen throughout the drawing are like arrows pointing us in various directions to better observe all that is happening on this busy Clifton corner. The street, and cars, swerve softly around rigid buildings, half bathed in light and half in shadow. Where the light falls strongly, Tom’s use of bone-white paper brings to mind smooth walls warmed by the sun.

Is there anything more relaxing than a Sunday evening drive through a familiar neighborhood shaded by lush green trees? In Redland Road, Summer Evening, Tom demonstrates the ease and everyday comfort that come from simply driving down a secluded street.

redland road, summer evening oil on canvas

What a welcoming street this is. . . Trashcans indicate clean, orderly neighbors; the well-lit corner and visible crosswalk keeps safety in mind; while signs point the way to more populated areas. This oil painting succeeds at taking me back in time to the hominess of my own childhood neighborhood.

Lastly, take a look at National Express, below. The star of the show is the bus driver, who quickly and competently navigates himself and others to their final destinations.

national express oil on board

This painting is yet another example of an everyday scene captured in a new and interesting perspective. Buttons and dials surround the bus driver, as does the enormity of the vehicle, while wide windows and mirrors and a neon yellow vest demonstrate his attentiveness to public and personal safety.

Of course, you have yet to see Tom’s still lifes, or any of his pen and ink creations. . . view more of his wonderful art by visiting his website today.


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