Unfortunately the images made available by the Royal Academy are very limited and hence I'll be linking where I can to images elsewhere. I don't have any image at all to show you what the Yosemite images look like - more's the pity.
"Everything begins with the sketchbooks"Gallery 12 is a room full of sketchbooks. iPads are hung on the wall about the sketchbook proper and loop through images from the sketchbook show below. There's a fairly good correlation between the image on screen and that in the sketchbook.
The main reason for studying the sketchbooks is to see how he chooses and isolates elements in the landscape and tries it out in different ways before making the commitment to a more involved sketch on the ipad or a "proper" painting using watercolours or oils.
There's one sketchbook with a concertina fold which he has used to record all the plants in a hedgerow. It reminded me of how many of the landscape paintings include portrayals of the plants which are the minor players in the grander scheme of things.
There's a sense of the sketchbooks being the first step in a process which progresses from a quick drawing done from observation to an enormous painting. The sketch for the painting used to advertise the exhibition is in the display - drawn using coloured crayons in April/May 2008. It was first drawn in a charcoal and crayon as a landscape format double page spread in a sketchbook - and measures 21 x 60cm. It's remarkably similar to the final painting (below) which was painted on 15 canvases and is approximately 10 times bigger.
|David Hockney |
Winter Timber, 2009
Oil on 15 canvases, 274 x 609.6 cm
Copyright David Hockney
Photo credit: Jonathan Wilkinson
This is a fast slideshow of Hockney creating another painting in the series related to the trees which were cut down. From this you can see how he works from smaller sketches both to get the painting started and also to refine the final colour palette. The sketches are essential to both the composition and design, the tonal values and the colour palette.
It seems as if the whole process for the larger paintings works as follows:
- sketchbook study - identifies what interests him
- charcoal drawing which is more refine - defines shapes and tonal values
- small colour oil sketches - initial plans for paintings
- large single canvas oil paintings
- multi-canvas-larger paintings - which are developed from all the supporting material back in the studio
He's an inveterate panoramic double page spread man - done in landscape format sketchbooks! (I felt better about my sketching and own sketchbooks as a result. I keep increasing the size of my sketchbooks and every time I do I seem to still want to use the double page spread. I've only finally stopped and stuck to one sheet after I got to the A3 sketchbook!)
You can read my Book review: A Yorkshire Sketchbook by David Hockney on Making A Mark reviews. You can also view the Yorkshire Sketchbook (Yorkshire 04) on the official Hockney website (please note Hockney is a stickler for copyright - so no stealing images from the website!)
RECOMMENDED (for fans only) - This is the nearest you'll ever get to handling a Hockney sketchbook.The iPad Sketches
|David Hockney |
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January
iPad drawing printed on paper
144.1 x 108 cm; one of a 52-part work
Courtesy of the artist
Copyright David Hockney
I was disappointed to see that there is no iPad set up to show how he makes his sketches while using the Brushes app for his iPad (which won the Apple Design Award in 2010). The Brushes app has a very neat aspect to its functionality which shows you how you constructed your drawing - in stages, one stroke at a time!
One of the films makes it clear that Steve Jobs would not have been happy - as he clearly uses a stylus to draw. It looks very like the one I bought and promptly lost!
The iPad sketches are interesting - mainly because it was not apparent to me until I visited this exhibition just how big iPad sketches can be printed. Of course the great thing about the iPad is you can move in and out of an area of the artwork. If you know you're going to print big you can adjust the level you work at.
I'm not actually quite sure when they stop being sketches and start being paintings in their own right - although I guess it might be something to do with how long they take to do and refine. We also need to remember for all the iPad work we see in the show there's bound to be a lore more which just didn't work - just as there always is in any sketchbook.
The 51 iPad sketches which form part of The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire 2011 (twenty eleven) are all printed on paper which is 144cm x 108cm (that's c. 57" x 42").
I had no idea one could contemplate digital sketches on an iPad translating through to work of that size. I guarantee there will be quite a few wiPad owners looking at their iPads with renewed interest after seeing this exhibition. Me for one! The main reason being that at the end of the day these are still unique hand drawn paintings. You can see all the marks. It doesn't look like a hyper-realistic photograph. You know a person created it!
This in part is, I guess, Hockney's response to all the people who are photoshopping photographs and then calling it art. His preoccupation is with the eye, the hand and the heart and having all three working together to produce the image.
[Note: I'm trying to find out what software is used to produce the very large prints - and will report back!]
The Yosemite Valley Sketches
I'm really surprised not to have an image of these iPad sketches. They are simply ginormous! They're also displayed in a small gallery so that one gets the sense of the enormity of the place itself.
I'm guessing that they must have given the publishers of the catalogue and the gallery guide a bit of a rollercoaster ride too - as Hockney produced these specifically for the exhibition but only produced them between October 5th and October 16th 2011!!!
The catalogue indicates he's using a special piece of software which prevents the iPad drawings from pixelating as they are increased in size. (see How to produce a large 300dpi TiFF print of an iPad sketch for my best guess at the moment of what they are doing)
However the super ginormous Yosemite sketches are in effect like his multi canvas paintings.
The overall dimension of most is 365.8 x 274.3cm (That's 144inches x 108" or 12 feet by 9 feet). However they are actually printed on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of dibond.
So now you know!
You too can have an iPad sketch enlarged to a 12 foot by 9 foot image!