E. J. Hughes Quotes

One of the main reasons I paint is because I think nature is so wonderful. I want to try to get my feelings of that down on canvas, if possible.

I was doing something that the officials or art commission probably didn’t consider important… I was experimenting with different kinds of realistic art, impressionism and the more decorative compositions of different forms of painting, which took away from the earlier photographic realism that I was doing.

My goal is to make all my paintings clear and realistic, even more understandable than a photograph.

Although not of the quality of my later work, I feel there is some quality to it [my early work] in an art sense, and probably some additional quality in a biographical sense.

I feel that when I am painting, it is a form of worship. I see how wonderful nature is and how wonderful art is… and by trying to produce these works of art, I feel that I am just showing my appreciation of these creations.

I’m going to just sit down for a couple of weeks and do nothing but read who-dunnits and Art books. I feel my work is getting a bit dull and mechanical and this proposed resting should work up some enthusiasm in me.

It is a matter mostly of having the time to spare from my finished paintings to put in on travelling and sketching out of doors.

As you can see, at my age – 48 – Art is still one big experiment.

Leonardo’s Mona Lisa sure would have lost out if he had spent only 2 of the 4 or 5 years he took to complete it. It is thinking about him and Ryder, among others, that partly makes me feel so awful to send away a ‘half-baked’ painting.

It feels much better to me to think that an artist is working to show his appreciation of what already has been created than creating things himself.

When I see these primitive effects coming into my pictures subconsciously, even though the perspective may be slightly out, I leave them in if it helps the general composition.

It would be nice once during my life to go over [to Europe] and study the original paintings of the Masters.

Unfortunately when I start to talk or when someone watches over my shoulders my pencil either stops or I draw meaningless lines.


Worry, about the ‘thousand and one’ details entailed. My one-track mind has to be relieved of these worries completely or I cannot get started working on my paintings, or even get to sleep at night.

It takes more time to rework a painting than it takes to fill in the canvas in the first place. I wish I could get them all right with the first coat like many of the old masters could, but seem destined to have to rework to make them even passable.

I am hoping that, with the added wisdom of old age, I can still look ahead for an improvement in tone, line, colour and composition.

I am trying to get my paintings a bit lighter in tone, as some of my recent oils have been mistaken for night scenes.

I don’t know just what, but there will have to be some drastic changes made besides cutting down on boating to get my mind more on painting.

If I didn’t have a conviction that a serious painter can portray Nature more profoundly than the best colour photography, I’d probably give it all up or go abstract or take up photography.

The small figures that appear in my paintings are there only because they were there when I was working from nature on my preliminary sketches with pencil.

The primitive style makes nature look like stage scenery.

At present I am using a good sized bedroom in the 2 bedroom house here as a studio, and it is large enough to step back from my canvases, and has a good north light. It should serve very well until I can afford to have the storeroom half of the back building lined and insulated and a chimney put in. That may be in about two years.

I’ve found from years of trial that the only way I can work is to make sketches in pencil from Nature, purely as reference material for future use in the studio.

I hope my work isn’t dismissed by the critics as illustration or photography.

It is… treading on dangerous ground to paint the picturesque as I am at times doing.