I went to see David Hockney’s work in Saltaire (near his home town of Bradford) today, and I loved his bright colours and the patterns and marks he makes in his backgrounds. I saw a large four panel folding screen, Carribean Tea Time. It uses mixed media, combining print and hand-painting with stencil and collage. In it he plays with perspective; he contended that traditional western perspective places the viewer outside the painting, and he attempts here to pull people in by subverting the rules; he makes objects further back larger rather than smaller, and receding lines (such as the back edge of the table below) longer rather than shorter. He uses triangles and square shapes to explore his pictorial spaces, and overlapping to create depth. Also in Caribbean Teaparty foreground objects are hotter in colour temperature (reds, yellows) than background elements (blues, turquoise), an aerial perspective device used to depict distance.
Ther were many works on paper, including prints, drawings and watercolours. Watercolour isn’t a medium normally associated with large scale work and Hockney solves this problem by combining several smaller paintings in one large image. Cactus Garden III 2003 is 40×51″ is made of four smaller sheets. There are many more examples of Hockney’s multi-sheet watercolours here . The painting below (Four Views of Montcalm Terrace, 2003. Watercolor on four sheets of paper 34 x 48 in. overall) i is especially relevant to my current project, painting interior scenes in watercolour. These are fresh and unaffected, and look as though they were made quite quickly, maybe originally intended as sketches. I like the arrangement of the two diagonally opposed pairs, defined by their two limited colour palettes – one painted in blue and green, the other grey and red/brown. They are also pairs compositionally; the densely painted blue green compositions have quite a static feel with their strong horizontal lines, and the focal element placed firmly in the centre. The grey/red pair show the terrace in perspective, creating diagonal lines which, together with the rocking chair, and the airy spaces where the white of the paper is allowed to show through, create a more dynamic composition.