EJ Hughes Paints Vancouver Island
About the Book
Finalist for a 2019 BC Book Prize
A handsome new retrospective on one of BC’s most beloved artists that unveils, for the first time, photographs, sketches, and ephemera from the artist’s estate.
The reputation of E. J. Hughes in British Columbia is second only to that of Emily Carr. His paintings, collected by every major gallery in our country, fetch more than $1 million at auction. Yet Hughes lived a notoriously private life.
Hughes painted scenes from all over BC, but he especially loved Vancouver Island, and lived most of his 93 years at Shawnigan Lake and Duncan. This book features paintings from his beloved island home—from Sidney, past Goldstream and the Malahat to Cowichan Bay, Genoa Bay, and Maple Bay. With stops along the way, he painted scenes from Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Comox, and Courtenay. Hughes recorded the passing of an era, capturing the coastal steamships, log booms, fishing boats, and the landscapes he treasured.
This book includes a biography of the artist, highlights more than 60 of his finest works alongside sketches and photos revealing his studio methods, and shares his handwritten notes.
“This book is essential reading for all who love the work of this singular artist; it provides a wealth of new information and new images, and provides deep insight into the life and work of one of our most important painters.” —Ian Thom, Senior Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery
“With enthusiasm and delight, Robert Amos has written a superb account of the artist’s life and art, replete with observations and anecdotes that enhance our understanding of Hughes’ paintings and of his love for the landscapes and life of Vancouver Island.” —Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada (1980-2014)
“Rare and captivating—an insight into a mysterious talent that shaped Canadian art quietly, yet dramatically.” —Vue Weekly
“Amos has produced a brilliant book, well-written, fascinating, with gorgeous illustrations . . . quite sincerely, [it] should be considered a must-have by every person who loves Vancouver Island. This is more than just a book for art lovers—even though, in itself, E. J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island is itself a work of art.” —Times Colonist
“Deeply researched and richly illustrated.” —Preview
“The latest book on renowned Canadian painter E.J. Hughes straddles the genres of biography, history and Canadian art . . . Robert Amos composes an engaging backstory for each painting with the location’s history, Hughes’ experiences, and archival material including sketches, artist notes and location photos. These compelling paintings stand on their own, but Amos’ descriptions add a human element and shed light on the artistic process. Hughes captures the landscape in a way that drifts between art and an old photograph, appealing to those interested in art and history alike.” —BC History
“[Amos and Hughes’] friendship and mutual respect make this book more personal than most coffee table volumes, and offer us a sort of double exposure invitation, to look at our world not only through the eyes of one artist but also through the eyes of another artist looking at the first artist looking at that world.” —Phyllis Reeve, The Ormsby Review
“Those who want to delve into the nitty-gritty of a painter’s process may want to check out E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island . . . It features the stories behind each painting, whether the location’s history, or photographs and preliminary sketches from the artist’s archives.” —Galleries West