"To express what he saw [Pat Hanly] developed a special way of working that was part action painting and part tight form. Out of this emerged beautiful paintings of gardens and still life's where the power streamed from flowers and figure studies that were filled with energy inside severe outlines..." - T.J.McNamara (2004). Hanly's artistic preference was occupied with his thoughts and need to express social conscience of varying political distress and the observation of "the human condition". Hanly left school before he had matriculated, which meant he had to enroll as a non-Diploma student at the Canterbury College School of Art. Hanly is said to have won the 1953 Turner Prize for Landscape. He later won the Manawatu Prize for Contemporary Art in 1966, '63, '64 and '67. After his studies at the University of Canterbury, Hanly went on to travel to Europe. Many women have been depicted in his works representing a universal experience that all women share, as opposed to individual womanhood experiences. Some of his key series include Figures in the Light, The Fire this Time, Pure Painting and Condition, Innocence, Inside the Garden and Golden Age.