Cole Hughson holds successful first public showing and sale of artworks

Anne Elliott and Cole Hughson display the painting she purchased from the 14-year-old’s art show. photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT – Fourteen-year-old Cole Hughson is a familiar figure in Little Current thanks to his well received guitar and song appearances during the popular George Williamson and friends open mic night at Little Current’s Soldiers’ Park and the Little Current United Church, but this past weekend (Saturday, June 13) it was his facility with brush and canvas that was on display as the talented elementary school student held his first art exhibit and show on his grandparents, Lynn and Norma Hughson’s, 7 Campbell Street East lawn. 

This first art sale speaks volumes for the young artist’s future, as the art sale proved to be nothing short of a smashing success, with 14 of the 21 pieces on offer being quickly snapped up with prices ranging from $85 to $115 during the three-hour show.

“My grandmother (Norma Hughson) had just come back from her painting class and there were all these paints left over,” offered Cole when asked how he came to take up the brush and easel. “I thought I might give it a try.”

Cole said his first efforts were not all he had hoped for, “I painted mountains and they were all just a bunch of triangles,” he laughed, making a series of regular pointed up and down motions with his hand. But once his muse was unleashed, he kept at it. “I practiced a lot,” he said.

Cole credits Bob Ross and ‘The Joy of Painting’ as one of his greatest influences and the mountainscapes that feature in many of the young artist’s works reflect that public television artist’s style. The quote ‘We don’t make mistakes, we make happy accidents,’ is featured in the intro to the young artist’s Facebook page.

Other influences in Cole’s works were found closer to home with rustic houses, fence posts and, of course, Little Current’s iconic swing bridge featured on the canvases. Titles of the works on offer included ‘Mountain Walkway,’ ‘The Campfire Song,’ ‘Sunrise Over the Bridge’ and ‘Rough Waters,’ to name a few.

Casting about for subject matter inspiration, Cole has local influences as well, noting that one of his works, ‘Old Fence Post,’ was drawn from a Peter Baumgarten photograph.

Cole is still in elementary school, so his career aspirations are still in flux, but he has begun to cast his eye toward his post secondary school path. “I would like to go to art school, once I have grown up,” he smiles.

As Cole deftly collected the monetary tribute coming in from his sales—two paintings sold before the show officially opened—the young artist displayed a poise and confidence that belied his small number of years, chatting comfortably with customers and explaining the influences of each work.

As to what his plans are for the money coming in from his sales, Cole glances towards his grandparents doting nearby. “First, I am going to pay back for all the art supplies,” he said. Then it will be time to buy more.