Who Are They?

Who is Patrick Heron?

Watch out! ! We are about to jump in to a world of bright colours and bold shapes

Patrick Heron, ‘Horizontal Stripe Painting : November 1957 - January 1958’ 1957–8
Patrick Heron
Horizontal Stripe Painting : November 1957 - January 1958 1957–8
Tate
© The estate of Patrick Heron

Who was he?

Patrick Heron is a British painter and art critic. He was born in Yorkshire but moved to Cornwall when he was five. Cornwall was a very important place to him. He spent most of his life there.

Heron’s work as an artist began by designing silk scarves for his father’s company when he was only 14. He was influenced by other artists such as Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne.

At first, the painting Horizontal Stripe Painting : November 1957 - January 1958 might just look like a few strips of colour. But if you look again, we can see a sunset!

Patrick Heron, ‘Harbour Window with Two Figures : St Ives : July 1950’ 1950
Patrick Heron
Harbour Window with Two Figures : St Ives : July 1950 1950
Tate
© The estate of Patrick Heron

What were his paintings like?

Patrick’s paintings are full of imagination and fascinating shapes. He loved the town St Ives in Cornwall and a lot of his work is inspired by scenes and images from there. For example, the painting Harbour Window with Two Figures : St Ives : July 1950 shows a view of the harbour from his window. Patrick said he was interested in showing the indoors and outdoors in his art..

Why not try painting what you can see from your window? Show a little bit of your room, a bit of the table top or the window frame?

Patrick Heron, ‘Azalea Garden : May 1956’ 1956
Patrick Heron
Azalea Garden : May 1956 1956
Tate
© The estate of Patrick Heron

This painting is from a series called Garden series and it’s called Azalea Garden. Patrick wanted every part of his paintings to be important. He didn’t want us to focus only on one part. See how colours and shapes are stretched all over the canvas. Look closer, can you spot the flowers blooming in the garden?

WHAT STYLE DID HE PAINT IN?

A lot of Patrick’s work is known as abstract art. Abstract paintings tend not to look exactly like what we see in real life. A lot of his paintings explore images and scenes from his everyday life, like the beach, the sky, or the garden in his house.

Patrick Heron, ‘Cadmium with Violet, Scarlet, Emerald, Lemon and Venetian : 1969’ 1969
Patrick Heron
Cadmium with Violet, Scarlet, Emerald, Lemon and Venetian : 1969 1969
Tate
© Estate of Patrick Heron. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018

This painting is called Cadmium with Violet, Scarlet, Emerald, Lemon and Venetian : 1969. It’s from a series of paintings he did that were all quite big. For example, this one is almost 4 meters wide. That's almost twice the size of a horse!

How did he use colour?

Colour is a very important in Patrick’s work. He loved to play around with colour and light to create feelings in his paintings.

The painting Yellow Painting : October 1958 May/June 1959 has lots of different layers of colour. Underneath the yellow there is a darker layer and that makes the painting look like it has depth. It almost feels like you can walk inside the painting! Patrick Heron spent most of his life in Cornwall. He says this painting might have been influenced by the rocks and hedges in his garden in St Ives.

Patrick Heron, ‘Yellow Painting : October 1958 May/June 1959’ 1958–9
Patrick Heron
Yellow Painting : October 1958 May/June 1959 1958–9
Tate
© Estate of Patrick Heron. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018

So what do you think about Patrick Heron’s art? How does it make you feel? Does it remind you of familiar objects or does it look like lots of strange shapes and colours? You can also try making a painting like his. Try remembering a scene from a garden, your living room or a beautiful sunset, then make a painting from your memory with simple shapes and lots of different colours.

Patrick Heron, ‘Three Reds in Green and Magenta in Blue : April 1970’ 1970
Patrick Heron
Three Reds in Green and Magenta in Blue : April 1970 1970
Tate
© Estate of Patrick Heron. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018

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