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Art, the sea (and a pink couch).

Two of my favourite things, art and the sea. If these can be combined, even better! A few weeks ago during my annual trip to Cornwall, I got to see the wonderful Patrick Heron exhibition at Tate St Ives.

Patrick Heron was one of the St Ives artist, both living and working there during his career. I remember during my art foundation using examples of his work for my colour module with their bold, bright expressive shapes and hues. The Tate has recently re-opened with an impressive new extension which was a perfect space to see his work. The light in St Ives has been what has attracted many artists over the years and the glow from the gallery skylights above his pieces allowed you to see not only the vividness of the colours but also the details that you don't see in print. What you think is a plain block of colour actually has varied brush strokes and textures, you begin to see the work that has gone in to creating the piece and you start to feel closer to the artist and his process. The layout of the exhibition has proved to be a little controversial, rather than laying the work out chronologically, it was arranged in four sections - unity of the work, edges, explicit scale, asymmetry and recomplication - which aimed to highlight the ideas he held about colour being the subject of his work, how he composed his paintings to give the most interesting visual experience for the viewer, and how "The picture is not the vehicle of meaning: the picture is the meaning". I found it interesting to see his pieces mixed up, so rather than just seeing his progression and varying styles over the years, the grouping allowed you to see those beliefs and techniques that he held important as an artist and that were used throughout his whole career.

The most interesting idea is his thoughts on edges. He talks of how the edges of his pieces are not just the boundary of his work, but the boundary between art and real life. He makes the edges visually interesting so that our eyes are draw there but then move back to the rest of the image when our eyes find the edge. This is in interesting idea to take into interiors. It is good to learn and recognise the importance of a blank or empty space. The space around a piece of furniture is not only important for the flow of the room, but also for our eyes. Making things less complicated in certain areas will make a space seem calmer but will also go towards highlighting the objects you do have in there by directing your eyes to them, just like Patrick Heron's edges. Too many items in one place can be overload for the brain and you end up not really seeing what you have and the space seems untidy, cluttered and can feel uncomfortable.

My latest design inspired by both Cornwall and Patrick Heron, uses a piece of his artwork, "10-11 July 1992", as my starting point. I really love this method of beginning a design because art is very personal and a treasured heirloom or even a brand new poster you buy at an exhibition can become the inspiration for a space in your home. I also love the pastel colours and patterns in this piece - lavender circles, aquamarine blocks, yellow hatching, pink stripes, blue dots - it really gives off that early '90s vibe! My imaginary room for this project is a bright, airy space, much like the beautiful Porthmeor Studios (which is actually where "10-11 July 1992" was created) and will be a reading room - a comfortable space with plenty of natural light and bright white walls. In this room it is all about the art, followed a close second by where you will sit to read and relax. Taking accent colour inspiration from the piece that will be framed on the wall, I just couldn't resit having a pink couch! It appears I often include mugs or cups on my design boards, perhaps because my other favourite thing is a cup of tea and if you are in St Ives, that probably needs to be enjoyed out of a Leach Pottery mug.

Also, click here to see the Pinterest board I have put together with some of the pieces from the exhibition.

R x


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