Peter Heard is a Londoner and an entirely self-taught artist, who is well known for his graphic compositions, bright colours and minute attention to detail. He started painting in the early 1970s, and became a leader of the British naïve-modern school with Beryl Cook and Martin Leman at the Portal Gallery in London’s Bond Street, a gallery world-famous for the ‘naïve modernist’ genre.
Now his work is collected by the rich and famous, including Jackie Collins, who bought nearly a dozen of his paintings while they were being unloaded outside a gallery in the West End of London. Nick Mason, drummer of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd has one wing of his mansion full of Peter’s pictures.
Peter’s work is also very popular in the USA, and it was there during a visit to the barrier islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, that he was inspired to paint lighthouses, which have since become something of a trademark for his work.
Probably the world’s most prolific painter of lighthouses, Peter sees these images as a culmination of his 30-year career and refers to the first 25 years as ‘an apprenticeship’ which has allowed him to perfect his technique. This series of paintings shows both his love for structure and his eye for graphic compositions. The series now exceeds fifty paintings and subjects are drawn from all over the world as well as fictional scenes.
In 2006 Peter moved from East London to Somerset, the surrounding countryside is now providing a new source of inspiration. He now works from his new studio in a converted 17th Century barn with views across the Quantock Hills and Exmoor.
Peter’s stunning landscapes have strong forms and colours, yet are intimate and atmospheric as a result of his skilful use of light and shade. Pared down, simple compositions and beautiful rendering of colour are Peter’s trademark style.
“As you get older you divest yourself of everything. I’m 76 and my paintings are getting emptier. I used to paint thousands of people. When you get older and more comfortable with where you have been, you’re naturally looking more at spaces and colour so details start to drop off.”
Peter is just about to embark on his 1000th painting!