Sophia grew up surrounded by the work of very fine artists from her own family, but only began to find herself as an artist when her work became abstract. She studied Fine Art at the West of England College of Art, Bristol 1959 – 62, then became a domestic ware potter to pay the bills. She later added beautifully made hand-built pots and this lead to making sculptures that didn’t quite work because clay was the wrong medium. So she progressed to steel, wood, Perspex, etc., all abstract. She also found and painted pieces of driftwood from the River Severn until, in 2011, she finally admitted to herself that the painting should be on canvas.
In describing her way of working Sophia says: “some abstract painters start with drawings that they then abstract. I start with a blank canvas, a colour and a feeling, and I have to decide whether to start with a brush or a palette knife. Exciting and unnerving. It is a journey of going inwards, finding what I recognise as my language, my way of expressing that energy and quietness that I experience in my deepest moments. Fifty years in Subud have given me that connection to my inner guidance and I consider myself to be very lucky to be on this path.”
Sophia Hughes died quietly at home this past weekend, on Saturday 16th October, leaving a great gap in our Subud community. She was a powerful spiritual presence, a wonderful artist, and a laughing, lovely sister and friend, who was always ready to listen, to test with people in need, and to help everyone around her in a hundred practical ways. There’s a sense of disbelief and shock in her local community. We’re going to miss her a lot.
But we should be glad for Sophia, whose own certainty about the life to come was total. She’s risen free from the darkness of this world.
Go well, Sophia.