Saturday, 15 October 2011

Stalking David Hockney( I know it's not cool!)

Ok let's get this clear from the start... I love him. Obviously not in the same way that I love say... Tim Minchin... (if you get my drift?). But David Hockney and I go waaaay back (not that he has any idea about this of course!). A long, long time ago, when I was in the second year at school (see how long ago that was... these days it is known as year 8!) we went on a school trip to Saltaire, Bradford, where I first saw his work. From that point I was smitten. At that point he was living in LA. A few years ago Hockney returned to Yorkshire, East Yorkshire to be precise (MY HOME TURF!), to Bridlington... my third home! He lives down the road from friends of ours... I know his house, the warehouse studio he rents... the exact locations of his East Yorkshire paintings (although this part is purely from growing up there). I've even been advised that if I really want to meet him that I should take up smoking (I really have never even tried it, not even one teenage puff!), as he regularly eats at the local Chinese restaurant and is usually seen having a crafty fag round the back. A couple of years ago on boxing day, my whole world had fallen apart and I found myself sitting alone listening to the sea on Bridlington's south beach, behind me was Hockney's house... it gave me a little comfort to know that although my heart was literally broken, that life, and art go on. Hockney has always been such a strong influence in my life, that on that awful day, he gave me hope, or maybe my mental image of his paintings gave me hope. But  I got through it, and my heart is all better now, battle scarred, but healed. For me the paintings are utterly calm, they almost seem to slow my heart-rate down, help me to put my enormous moments of utter uselessness back into perspective again.
I've just finished reading his book 'Secret Knowledge' which is about how artists throughout history have used optics to aid their drawing, rendering and painting. It was fascinating, I cannot recommend it enough, it has totally changed my attitude to.. well... practically everything painting related (I have a long, turbulent relationship with painting... but more about that another time)....

Image attributed to:

Image attributed to:
I've also recently been to see the massive 'Bigger Trees near Water' (94.5x12.2 metres, over 50 canvases) as it toured Yorkshire's municipal galleries. Having read the book really helped me to understand his need to undertake such a technical project as this (there is also an awesome documentary as he creates the work for it's original home ' The Royal Academy'). I utterly loved the work, how imperfect the paint strokes intentionally were. I saw it with the most perfect companion (my beloved dad), I was a little awestruck and would love to see it again... to make a little more sense of my thoughts... but I have no idea where it has been taken to now?

Image from:
Maybe, maybe one day I will get to meet him...


  1. Kathryn
    You are right. David Hockney it's not cool! He is zub zero, off the scale. He is an Ace.
    This man is a soul painter. He shows the soul of the East Riding in his paintings. He sees what others miss and then passes what he finds onto others. His book 'Secret Knowledge' endorses his ability to see what other mortals pass by.
    Seeing his 'Bigger Trees near Water' with you was a time etched into my memory. So the picture appears in places not to be perfect. The joins and colours do not always align. I am sure that this was intentional. It reflects life which is not all perfect, we do not always fully match as people all the time, but taken as a whole, the mismatches enter into insignificance. The picture has a soul, not perfect in all details but absolutely perfect in harmony. How this man can paint!
    ‘maybe one day I will get to meet him...’ I hope that you do, but if you don’t, along with me, you have met part of him in his painting. He has shared some of himself with us.
    Love Dad.


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