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Tom’s Open Studio

One of Tom’s requests as he neared the end of his life, was that when the time was right I should hold an Open Studio of his remaining works, to be sold in aid of our community here in St Columb Major, all proceeds from this show to go towards  Our Town St Columb Major Arts and Heritage, an organisation that Tom founded in 2017 to celebrate creativity within the community and the town’s rich architectural heritage.  In the meantime, Covid 19 and lock-down  have intervened making it difficult to plan events.  However,  whilst restrictions must still be observed,  I am aiming to go ahead with the Open Studio from November 16-23  this year (2020).  There will be a further post about this at a later date and subscribers will receive a reminder nearer the time.  Visits to the studio  will be by appointment only and social distancing will be observed.

Please note: Since the re-launch of Tom’s website, sales have been continuing steadily and in order to ensure that there are sufficient paintings to warrant the Open Studio, I have taken the decision to withdraw from sale all the original paintings until just before the show, when they can be purchased in person or online, on the understanding that I would retain them on the wall  (clearly marked with the usual red spot denoting sold work)until after the 23 November  when the exhibition ends.  

If you happen to be interested in a particular painting, you can always contact me at any time via email .  For a deposit, I can ensure that the painting is reserved until after the show, when the balance would be payable and I can send you the painting (or if you are close enough, you can collect.)





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Tom’s Last Paintings

For those who are new to this website, let me introduce myself. I am Gabrielle Hawkes, Tom’s partner and friend of over thirty years. Tom died in November 2019 after a long struggle with prostate cancer. Some of the posts relating to the paintings of his last three years serve to document that journey, undertaken with his customary courage and positivity and always fortified by his strong Buddhist faith. It was important to Tom that his website continued after his death and that the paintings which he made in the last couple of months of his life were added.

Cottages at Cape Cornwall  (original sold)


Up until the last fortnight before Tom’s death, when a series of infections made him bed bound, he would go out to the studio in his wheelchair most days. In the tradition of the Old Masters, however, he took on John Harris, Sally Hobson and myself as his studio assistants for his last two paintings, One or other of us would be around to help him with studio tasks and on occasions, especially in the case of his large painting Cottages at Cape Cornwall to reach areas of the painting that his disability made impossible.  Another last painting on a smaller scale was Rocks and Sea, Cape Cornwall.

Rocks and Sea, Cape Cornwall ‎  

The sea was very important to Tom, and it seemed to me as I accompanied him on his journey through his illness, that it featured more and more in his work. The first painting he made when he received his diagnosis early in 2017 was Ethereal Shore,  an image of Mawgan Porth beach, endowed with a movingly transpersonal quality. The sea fused with the sky becomes the ethereal shore of death and also eternity. That shore that he paints is beautiful and holds no threat for him. I see something of the same quality in another painted around the same time, such as  Winter Light Mawgan Porth   ( ) and an earlier one Stream to the Sea )  As he became more disabled and unable to access the places he loved, Tom came to rely on what he called his ‘tranquil recollections’, drawing upon the many photographs that he took on his walks and coastal trips. Sometimes they would be from sites local to St Columb; at other times, he would delve into his photographs of the Penwith coastline.

Referring to an early painting in the series Waterlines, Tom wrote: ‘As I am coming to terms with being disabled and confined to a wheelchair, the landscape or seascape paintings that I now work on, have to use mainly reference material gathered some time ago. In this case, a late evening visit to Sennen Cove during my days at the Turn of the tide Studio in St Just provided the impetus I needed as the images gathered there resonated so strongly for me with the stage of life I am now experiencing.’

I am sure that painting these images of the seashore was therapeutic when the illness was taking its toll both physically and emotionally and helped him to maintain that ‘tranquil’ state that he refers to.