David Hockney turns 75 today, and he’s still going strong. Having lived mostly in America since the mid-1960s, Hockney moved back to England a decade ago and has spent a great deal of time painting landscapes in his native Yorkshire.
In the footage above, filmed by Bruno Wollheim for the 2009 documentary A Bigger Picture and set to music by Anna Rusbatch, Hockney is shown working en plein air in one of his favorite places: a quiet stretch of country road lined with trees that he calls “the tunnel,” near the village of Kilham, in the Yorkshire Wolds. “Late November Tunnel, 2006” is an oil painting made on two canvases fused together. It’s one of a series of studies Hockney has made of the same place at different times of the day and year. The series, like several others Hockney has made around Eastern Yorkshire, calls to mind Claude Monet’s famous four-season studies at Giverny. After years living in the Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles, writes Martin Gayford in the Winter 2011 issue of RA Magazine:
Hockney found the spectacle of the changing seasons fascinating, and decided to start working on the landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds, near his house in Bridlington (a comfortable base which was once a small hotel). In a way it was a return to his roots, a landscape of memory. He had grown up in Bradford on the other side of Yorkshire, but as a teenager he had worked in the fields in the Yorkshire Wolds during school holidays. And he would visit his late mother and sister who lived in Bridlington. Hockney began this phase of his work by making drawings and watercolours, then painting oils in the open air–like nineteenth-century painters such as Monet and Constable–standing beside the road in all weathers.
“Late November Tunnel, 2006” and other paintings from the series, including later works created by Hockney on iPhones and iPads, were included in a major exhibit earlier this year at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibit has moved on to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The catalogue, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, is available from Abrams.