David Hockney blew my mind twice today.

I’ve been reading about David Hockney. I am enthralled by his sketches. I was looking at his sketch studies for paintings and comparing them to his final paintings and my preference is still for the life studies. It got me thinking though, about my reflections, and it suddenly occurred to me that I should be doing quick sketch studies of them as well as photographing them. I did a couple sketches of some morning reflections on the entry wall and it was good—the light changed very quickly and, as fast as I am, the reflections had completely changed over the course of a couple of minutes so I photographed them as well.

This all also got me thinking back to my years at University and shaking my head at the young, hot-headed Dayna who tried to exist and paint outside of the art world. I ignored so much of it; so many lost years! I think I am now where I should have been in my first year at University. Now I am open to everything around me and soaking it all up and trying new things and thinking constantly about my art. Oh well, I guess it’s better late than never.

Then in the Drawing Club at work we were discussing David Hockney and his Hockney–Falco thesis which, true to form, I had missed entirely. This theory suggests that Renaissance painters used camera obscura and light boxes to make images which they then traced. Essentially that they used photographic techniques, pre-photograph. This blew my mind. The whole hierarchy of painting would be in question if this is how they worked. The pinnacle of the painting world worked from projected images??  My whole prejudice for life painting over using photographs would also seem rather pointless. I guess I need to remember that I am not trying to be a photo-realist, but rather I am more influenced by the Impressionists and capturing moments and moods. For me it may be less about using photographs as source material, and more about my hang up with the “finished” work of art. I am always trying to loosen up and not focus on the length of time something takes to do as a measure of how complete or incomplete it is.

16. Untitled, 27 June 2009_iPhone drawing © David Hockney

Then in reading about Hockney for this post I got sidetracked by all his iPad drawings. Phenomenal works. It’s interesting how he did something that so many people are doing, but he took it to the next level and made it into “high art” in the way he did it. He made it into a project—he did a still life every morning and then immediately e-mailed it out to his friends. He talked about the immediacy of working in this way, having everyone see what he was working on almost as he was doing it. He has already bypassed blogging.

All this with David Hockney does make me think though. It makes me think about Galileo theorizing that the sun was actually the centre of the solar system and not the Earth. I’m that kind of blown away.

Here’s a good article about his iPad drawings, if you’re interested:


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