London is a big place. Having painted it previously on a small scale, en plein air, I wanted to go bigger for this show and produce the paintings in the studio. Small paintings, while fun to make, weren’t getting the scale across, which is the first thing I notice when moving around the city. Painting indoors from sketches and photo references also gave me the opportunity to slow down and focus on bold compositions–carefully placing people and vehicles where I felt they would work best, as opposed to grabbing glimpses of them as they drive past, as it is when painting on the street.
It seems I’m consistently drawn to the same areas: the West End, Camden, Hampstead, and Albert Bridge. The West End never disappoints with the majestic curve of Regent Street and the wide, reflective, rain-soaked pavements of Piccadilly. Every direction you look, there’s a painting. And rain, while an inconvenience to the pedestrian, brings a magical depth to everything, turning smooth paving slabs into checkerboard mirrors. Camden has character and personality in spades and feels similar in its tone to Stokes Croft in Bristol, where I have lived and worked for fifteen years. Hampstead provides a nice break from the intense traffic of the centre and walking the side streets and quiet paths to the heath is a calming, pleasant shift. Albert Bridge to me, is a masterpiece. The wedding cake aesthetic holds my gaze longer than any other bridge in London and it looks great from the north or south bank of the Thames. These bridge paintings are some of my favourite pieces in the show and I feel I’ve done the spot justice with them.
I hope I have captured something of the London you know and love with these works. I want to show the city in its solid reality–not dressed-up, not overly romantic, just London, raw and real.
- Tom Hughes, 2019
28 February - 8 March 2019
Monday to Friday
10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
CLOSED BANK HOLIDAYS