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Oct 3, 2019

Do you ever find yourself fascinated by the stories of artists who paint from sketch drawings? What do those artists look for when they sketch? How do they remember the right colors or where the light was coming from? Hoping to get some answers to these questions and a whole lot more, I was pleased to sit down with the artist, Tom Hughes. In our conversation, Tom opens up about how he found his path as an artist, what it was like working for the Christian Science Monitor, and more. I can’t wait for you all to get a peek into the world of Tom Hughes! 

Hearing the call

Can you remember that moment when you decided you wanted to pursue your career as an artist? Or maybe for you, the draw to an art career was more of a gradual revelation. Slow or sudden, each artist has their own version of realizing their unique path as an artist. For Tom Hughes, the decision to embrace life as an artist was more along the lines of answering a “Calling.” If you are religious, spiritual, something in between, or nothing at all, I’m sure you can relate to what Tom talks about when he describes his draw to art as a “Calling.” For some reason, I’ve found that language to resonate with many artists, does it resonate with you? 

Picking up skills along the way 

As you’ve grown as an artist over the years, do you attribute it to practice or learning new skills along the way? While some artists love to explore new methods and push the limits, others like to hunker down and become proficient at one particular approach. Tom Hughes did not receive formal art training at a university for college; he took the route that included self-education. As you can imagine, Tom’s journey hasn’t always been easy. He has had significant moments of confidence, like his time at the Christian Science Monitor, and he’s had periods where he had to take a break and step away. 

Finding the right process

Through all of the highs and lows of Tom’s career, the one constant that gets to the heart of Tom’s career is his willingness to adapt and discover the right process. Rarely do artists get described as process-oriented. We artists often get painted with a broad stroke and labelled as flighty, inconsistent, and emotional, just to name a few! Tom worked hard for years to hone in on the process that would work best for him. One of the ways Tom likes to work is by sketching his subjects before he goes to the canvas. Are you drawn to a more process-focused approach in your art? 

It’s OK to change over time

I am still blown away when I look back to the start of this fledgeling little podcast and the few friends I knew who would listen to see the massive following we enjoy today - it’s incredible! There are a few elements from those early episodes that you’ll still notice as part of the podcast today, but there have been many changes. If you don’t learn and adapt over time, what is the point? Too often, I find my fellow artists are more adverse to change and evolution then I had expected. We are the ones who get the opportunity to push the envelope and help the public look deeper - it’s OK to change over time!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] I introduce my guest, Tom Hughes. 
  • [2:20] How Tom got started as an artist. 
  • [9:00] Skills that Tom picked up and learned along the way. 
  • [14:00] Tom’s studio process. 
  • [19:00] Diving into the details of Tom’s sketching sessions. 
  • [26:40] Tom’s process when it comes to plein air painting. 
  • [34:15] What is Tom’s color pallet like? 
  • [40:00] How we change as artists over time. 
  • [46:20] Tom’s struggle with watercolours. 
  • [50:20] Why I love watercolours and life as an artist. 
  • [1:00:00] Have tolerance for your bad paintings! 

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