Etiqueta: David Hockney

Part 3 Expanse

Project 1 Trees – Research and ideas

Trees don’t follow the laws of perspective, or don’t seem to, because they are so complicated, with lines going in so many directions

David Hockney. A bigger message Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford. Thames & Hudson 2011.

When I think about drawing trees, I immediately think of Hockney’s paintings and studies for his Woldgate Wood series, Constable’s sketches and studies of trees, the trees of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot and after recently reading about the work of Frank Auerbach, I am also inspired by his rapid/expressive drawings of trees:

Auerbach tree on Primrose hill
Frank Auerbach, Tree on Primrose Hill

Other ideas on the extreme side – I would include the wonderfully expressive paintings and drawings of trees by  Joan Mitchell:

Tree II, 1992. Color lithograph © Estate of Joan Mitchell.

In reading Martin Gayford’s book on conversations with Hockney, I was interested on a section about his methods used for the painting of Woldgate Woods – painting with memory and photographs. I have also painted from memory in the past and it is an excellent way to include emotions/feelings into a painting without getting too distracted by technique and details. In the book, they discuss how Hockney uses his memory to paint. Constant drawing practice plays a large part and helps to train oneself to edit out parts of what you see – simplifying and experimenting with media. This practice makes it easier to use the memory to recall images and draw them in a more personal, emotional way.

David Hockney. Woldgate Woods 2006. Oil on canvas

Hockney recalls a story about the French philosopher Henri Bergson. He was sitting in a cafe opposite Rouen Cathedral, and he said that the only way you can see the cathedral properly from here is to get up, walk right round it, and then come back here….The point is (says Hockney) that you would then have a memory that you were looking at…..Of course if the subject is in front of you, it’s up to you, it’s the memory of a second ago, five seconds ago, a minute ago. Each memory will be different in quality, but if you train yourself, if you make notes in your head, you can use them very well.  

For drawing inspiration, I looked at the drawings of Constable and Corot:

Corot willows-and-white-poplars-1872
Corot, Willows and white poplars, 1872

Constable’s elm trees drawing is a mamouth work of a stature in keeping with these giant elms, whilst Corot’s minimal and accurate use of both line and shading are something that I want to master in my sketches/drawings.

Ref. Martin Gayford/David Hockney. A bigger message Conversations with David Hockney. Thames and Hudson 2011

Part 2 – Intimacy

Part 2 – Intimacy

Project 2 Still Life – Still life using line

Before starting this drawing I reflected on works that I have found and studied recently – some of these images are shown below:

Raoul Dufy:


David Hockney:


Cy Twomby:


All of the above drawings/prints use line, but with the addition of colour, except the RH monoprint by Cy Twomby – this I thought I could imitate using wax crayons/oil pastels with ink or watercolour.

David Hockney’s prints include some complicated patterns in their backgrounds, whilst Raoul Dufy’s exquisite paintings use predominantly line with colour to assist in recognising certain elements of the picture and enhance compositional elements.

In addition to the above I started by producing a drawing thinking about the feedback from Part 1 and Jenny Saville’s use of charcoal in her Mother and Child series – using an underdrawing or smudged charcoal background under bolder/expressive outlines:


I was pleased with my mark-making and feel that I have captured the roses and lilies well – some of the the marks could be seen as too heavy, however this was also another experiment that I enjoyed – I do have a passion for flowers/plants!

My next experiment was using the idea of the B&W image by Cy Twomby:

DSC_0108 Here I used a white/pale yellow oil pastel first then painted black acrylic ink over the top – then in the LH image enhanced the image with white soft pastel and then scratched/scraped into the paper to make more interesting destructive marks. In the RH I added black and white pastel marks to the initial drawing.  The RH image worked better for me and I captured a couple of the roses better that in the previous one.  I need to practice/study individual flowers if I am to draw loosely but accurately!

I made some more quick sketches continuing to imitate the marks of Cy Twomby – this time in colour:


I tried to work loose but to maintain the detail and form of the individual roses. I was pleased with the result and with my range of mark-making usinmi g coloured pencils.

I have always greatly admired the work of David Hockney who never ceases to experiment and inspire.  I was taken by his images above and their complex simplicity. My version of his lilies – but with the same vase of roses as above worked well but lacked the impact of Hockney’s version:


It was also an opportunity to include an example of negative and positive space – this I thought worked well. I was pleased with the crossed hatched background which was a little unusual.

Finally, I had been waiting patiently for an opportunity to use watercolour and ink and the inspirational work of Raoul Dufy was a chance too good to miss.  Using his flower paintings/drawings as my guide, I made the following line drawing by first painting layers of colour to highlight individual flower/leaf colours and use this as the background for my loose/expressive mark-making. As before I need to practice drawing individual flowers more often – perhaps by contour/blind contour drawings – over and over again.

Final drawing – inspired by the works of Raoul Dufy:


Watercolour and chinese ink on 250g mixed media paper