Patrick Heron. An Artist’s Bookshelf Review.


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.

Patrick Heron.

Patrick Heron.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Patrick Heron. An Artist’s Bookshelf Review.

  1. I agree with you, Patrick Heron’s paintings are wonderful, especially the later ones. you seem to like a lot of British painters, any Canadian ones? i am a big fan of Jack Bush, though I suspect he may be out of fashion these days.

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  2. I do like British painters, and I think they are sadly overlooked in Canada. Being so close to the U.S.A. we tend to worry too much about Canadian identity, and we overlook a lot of interesting stuff that is going on elsewhere. There are many Canadian painters whose work I love. Sadly we lack a publisher in Canada who publishes any great numbers of books on art. Those books that do get published can only be described as art speak nightmares designed for a very limited audience.
    There is one book in my collection about abstract painting in Canada that I’m going to talk about but it will require several posts.
    Jack Bush is still admired in Canada by those who have an interest in art history, but I wonder if he is well known among younger Canadian artists. There was a recent book on Painters Eleven that I want to get and that would have something to say about Bush.

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