Oil paintings of London by Tom Hughes that capture its frantic, busy pace

Regent Street St James’s with Xmas lights, December © Tom Hughes

We've got something of a soft spot for Tom Hughes and his distinctive oil paintings. Full of energy, movement and personality, they could (if you squinted) be mistaken for blurred photographs as they capture the frantic pace of our wonderful cities.

We've featured his Bristol cityscapes previously and are happy to discover a new series of works celebrating London – whether in light and bright summer or the darker depths of winter.

"Over the past six years, I have been known for painting small paintings on location, en plein air. Recently, I have been thinking about scale a lot more and the potential for the scale to communicate the feeling of London more effectively," explains Tom to Creative Boom. "I feel dwarfed by the city when I visit, so want to get that across more in my work. It’s also a new challenge for me to paint larger and I’m really enjoying the challenge."

Speaking of the places that inspire him, Tom adds: "I seem to be drawn continuously to the West End. I find it glamorous and exciting and there are a lot of really powerful compositions in a relatively small area. And, like any place, it looks very different in various weather and times of day, which I’d also like to capture."

How would he describe his style? "It evolved from many years painting on location under very tight time constraints due to the moving sun and changing light. Most of my small pieces were completed in a couple of hours, which forced me to work in a fast, almost frantic way at times.

"This speed meant that my brushstrokes were quite sketchy and it stopped me getting bogged down in details and I’m trying to keep that fresh impulsive look on my larger studio paintings. Tone and colour accuracy are very important to me and I learned a huge amount about both while painting outside. If I can get those two things nailed while keeping the energy in my brushwork, I’m happy."

Regent Street in rain with Christmas lights © Tom Hughes

Regent Street in rain with Christmas lights © Tom Hughes

Camden Lock Bridge with sunstreak © Tom Hughes

Camden Lock Bridge with sunstreak © Tom Hughes

Camden High Street, big clouds, March © Tom Hughes

Camden High Street, big clouds, March © Tom Hughes

Camden high street, September © Tom Hughes

Camden high street, September © Tom Hughes

© Tom Hughes

© Tom Hughes

The city from Waterloo Bridge, stormy skies, February © Tom Hughes

The city from Waterloo Bridge, stormy skies, February © Tom Hughes