My daughter refers to drawings and paintings like these as her abstracts. She will often declare what she intends to work on when she comes into the studio. She’ll say, “today I’ll do abstracts”, or “today I’ll draw real stuff”. When I tell her abstracts are also real she gives me one of her looks, and tells me I’m being silly. I think I’m right though. Abstracts are real.
I’ve had a long love of books, and some of my most prized books are art books. This is a review of books from my collection that can be found on shelves in my studio. I will provide links when possible.
One of my favorite painters is the great British artist Patrick Heron, and this little book from the St Ives Artist series is a nice introduction to his work. It has an interesting and readable essay by Michael McNay that covers his life and career, and there are many colour illustrations that give a good sense of his progression as a colourist from his early, muted earth tones to his glorious Matisse-inspired canvases that would drive the majority of his career.
I particularly admire his paintings from the 1960s of glowing orbs, with stunning colour, and loose aggressive brush strokes. His harder-edge paintings of the 1970s, though simpler in appearance, are feats of great endurance often painted with a small brush to create the clean crisp edge of his shapes. The colours of these painting can only be described as hot. But it is his late paintings of the 1990s that are to me his most daring works. They are made of loose flowing lines and scribbles of colour and are joyful, powerful works. I admire painters who keep on experimenting, and he went out with a bang.