Miriam Hughes works everyday to bring creativity alive in as many people as possible through teaching, sharing and selling her work.
Miriam, artist, sketcher and a generally good humored person, will guide you on this journey to discover the power of creative energy. Originally a medical illustrator, Miriam also works in pastels, watercolors and fibers and she finds sketching almost daily to be more fun that eating ice cream, sleeping or doing real work.
She personally feels an active creative spirit could be the most valuable mental health tool available to mankind and, if she could, every human on earth would be required to keep draw, sketch, or paint something every day!
Four paintings stick in my memory from childhood.
Two I had done myself. One was a very dark oil and simply detailed painting of a small child looking at a full moon. I painted it in my bedroom, at night, while looking at the moon, so it was already dark, with the lights out and I thought it would be more realistic that way. I was ten. The same year I painted the largest, most colorful, fantastically wild dragon using watercolors and crayons. It was a masterpiece in my mind.
The other two paintings were also very different. One, a life size pencil drawing of an old woman sitting in front of her vanity, putting on make-up, by Ivan Albright, a Chicago based realistic artist, was so detailed you could see her chin hairs and the pores from which they grew. The other, a print I bought at the local University of Chicago bookstore, was a mildly abstract, very ethereal watercolor, in pale pastels by Paul Klee.
Dark or light, detail beyond imagination or detail that barely alludes to the subject, these contrasts in style both fascinated me and had a profound influence on my style as an artist.
Whether by training or instinct, color also plays a big role in my process. For decades I worked as a medical and scientific artist, so detailed was of utmost importance, while color was often bypassed to save on printing costs. When I began to paint with color again, I felt my work was often childlike, and when it wasn’t, I was afraid to use too much color.
I spent years being careful and pensive in my work until I starting teaching art to adults. As I guided my students to push themselves further, to take chances and to not judge their work, I began to require the same actions of myself.
As a result I work primarily in two mediums, watercolors or acrylics, and often find myself adding details in pen and ink.
I am fascinated by mildly abstract images I bring together with detail I had not planned on when starting. The dark, full moon painting seems to have influenced my watercolor gouache series of paintings, only in they are flat and graphic in design. Thank goodness my love of color is present in my work, however, my challenge is to use a limited palette and see how far I can push it.
As an instructor, I teach my students that our childlike images may never go away, but we should never judge them or even discourage them. The key to art, and to my teaching, is to allow growth to be combined with technique, education of materials and having fun.
Click through these pages to see what happens!