David Hockney ‘Britain’s most expensive living artist’ (1937-) made a snap decision at the outbreak of Covid. Travelling to Normandy from his home in California his express intention was to capture the arrival of Spring – nature couldn’t be cancelled by the pandemic.
Staying in a small wattle and daub house surrounded by four acres of countryside, he observed the blossoming of a new year frame by frame as spring emerged and took hold with all its drama and glory.
Hockney had first depicted this ‘most classical of subjects’ in his native Yorkshire in 2011 in a fifty two part work. This was the first time he took to his iPad and a show was later organised at the RA. Two years later he was back again working this time in charcoal on paper.
The Arrival of Spring in Normandy sees him taking to his iPad again but this time with a new app, adapted and developed to his specific requirements, allowing a freedom of expression and mobility to capture the fresh zinging elements in a ‘naif’ style that perfectly compliments foliage and flower, from March until July 2020. Working very much like the French Impressionists two hundred years ago, his pictures are captured ‘en plain air’, just like Monet in nearby Giverny. There is also an animated work featuring gentle rain falling a meadow. At 86 the much loved painter is still inspired and inspiring. MT
The Arrival of Spring in Normandy – is now showing at London’s Royal Academy of Arts