East Yorkshire landscapes
To do landscapes, you’ve got to know the place rather well. You’ve got to love it, actually. You’ve got to know where the sun will be. In the summer I should be out at six in the morning, because if it’s sunny the light from six to nine is magic. Of course, to paint in the winter, you’ve got to prepare yourself. You need thick clothing and things. I mean we often looked like Michelin men. The first winter I spent here I began to see how beautiful the winters were. There was far more color than I expected. Occasionally a farmer would come and talk to me. They didn’t think I exaggerated the color. They thought my paintings were very accurate, and talking to them I noticed that they knew just how beautiful it is here.
In February, L.A. Louver in Los Angeles exhibits the 36 watercolors entitled Midsummer: East Yorkshire in a show of Hockney’s watercolors, Hand, Eye, Heart. David Pagel reviews the show for the Los Angeles Times: “You don’t have to know much about David Hockney or watercolor painting to see that the artist’s 55 new works are amazing documents of rambling drives through the English countryside. Each casually exquisite picture of leafless trees, golden fields, puddled lanes, [NESTED]blossoming flowers, distant farmhouses, rolling hillsides, and quiet towns is an astutely observed moment that would never make it to a postcard but is all the more lovely for being ordinary. In these enlivened images glimpsed through car windows, Hockney doesn’t take your breath away so much as he gets you to breathe deeply, soaking in every detail of the fleeting scenes.” Back in Bridlington as of July, Hockney continues painting the Yorkshire landscape en plein air, but now in oil.
When you’ve been doing watercolors, oil paint is like a luxury medium. You can do what you want with it. I mean with watercolor, you have to work from light to dark. With oil paint you can do whatever you want, so going back to it was rather thrilling.
Working in the outdoors beyond Bridlington for most of the year, Hockney also devotes time to portrait sessions in his Los Angeles studio in advance of a large traveling exhibition to open in 2006. He returns to using oil also in his portraiture, working on both individual and double-portraits, typically life-size full-length figures painted directly on the canvas with no previous drawings. He exhibits several of the single figures at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in London.
- Hand, Eye, Heart, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA (Feb 26–Apr 2); catalogue with a text by Lawrence Weschler.
- David Hockney, Midsummer: East Yorkshire, 1853 Gallery, Saltaire (Jun 4–Sep 30).
- Drawing from the Modern, 1945–1975, Museum of Modern Art, New York (Mar 30–Aug 29); catalogue.
- Art Struck: The William D. Merwin Collection, Saint Louis University Museum of Art (Apr 8–Jul 17).
- Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London (Jun 7–Aug 15); catalogue.
- Metamorphosis: British Art of the Sixties, Museum of Modern Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Andros (Jun 26–Sep 25); catalogue.
- British Pop, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (Oct 17, 2005–Feb 12, 2006); catalogue.
- Freud, Auerbach, Hockney, & Rego: Drawing on Copper and Stone, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, U.K.(Oct 21–Dec 16).