It was the very first day of the Easter holiday. No school run and so no early wakings. But that day was special; I had a date with David Hockney RA A Bigger Picture, thanks to my friend Ilona who managed to nab tickets for us and another friend Esther for no less than a private viewing. It was the last week of the exhibition, tickets were scarce, private views were sold out and if you really wanted to chance it, you can go in early and queue up before it opens at 10 am.
So there we were at the Royal Academy, at 8am fresh and excited on a bitterly cold spring morning. I was looking forward to this for several reasons: I hadn’t seen Hockney’s work in a long time and I have always loved his work; I looked forward to the memories of 6 years of art college rushing back, if fleetingly, and I was with my girl-friends with no kids in tow, well, for a couple of hours.
It’s Hockney’s imagination and skill of invention that have always inspired me. To me, these as well as his commitment to his work, both as a process and as finished pieces, make him great. I have loved his fearless approach to mark-making and handling of colour, unstifled by rules he knows only too well. The freedom in his work is unmistakable.
This exhibition was special. Not only were his works made for the RA space, they were also huge, much much larger than life. Whether as a single piece or 36 or so canvases put together, the impact was remarkable. There were 13 large rooms full of colour and dynamic strokes, many of which were of the Yorkshire landscapes. There were also a few charcoal drawings – done as studies of his landscapes colour paintings – and they were just as beautiful.
It is obvious just how much he immerses himself into his work. I can see it all over his paintings. It’s almost like looking into his mind, seeing through his eyes and feeling with his heart. Rich and full. Bold and free.
There’s this large room covered with medium sized paintings on 3 sides and one huge mural of a canvas on one side. From a distance, I would never have guessed the smaller pictures, about 30 or so of them, were made on the ipad. Yes, the ipad. His great skill and mastery of painting with the ipad is astonishing. I think this is something he could never have done with seeming great ease had he not created by hand, both photographically and on the spot observationally, his dynamic Yorkshire landscapes under all weather conditions. It makes sense that the ipad drawings following this series of work look so easy. Hockney’s ipad pictures are sweet…eye candy…beautiful …exquisite.
His work exudes confidence, not only in the brushstrokes, tones and colour, but in the finished piece itself. I would never think there was ever any second-guessing. He does what he pleases. Because he can. He is David Hockney.
We came out of the RA to a massive queue of people hoping to get tickets, before it even opened.
So that ended my kid-free time. My husband did the hand-over at Piccadilly Circus on his way to work and it was the familiar once again…3 kids in tow. I took them to see the pretty display at Fortnum and Mason just across the road from the RA. All the time I was admonishing them, much like a broken record, to not touch anything lest we have to pay for breakages which and are well out of our price range. Another yet so familiar thing.
All photos taken with my point and shoot pocket Nikon Coolpix S6200.