David Hockney (again)

18-19/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn
2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter
2008
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)
by David Hockney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel I have to return to David Hockney’s The Bigger Picture exhibition.  Within this collection there are numerous series of works recording the same scenes at differing timings, over seasons and years. Interestingly with the Three Trees series, it looks like Hockney revisited this scene the following year to produce the Autumn, Spring and Winter paintings after producing the Summer work in 2007.

Painting outside

Painting outside, putting canvasses together to increase overall painting size.

 

The challenges are much the same as any outdoor art work making. Hockney, allegedly dressed in layers of coats and heated gloves is not unexpected, yet his insistence in creating mammoth sized paintings outdoors in the countryside, probably is.  As mentioned in my previous post re Mr Hockney, he got round this by using several, medium-sized canvasses placed together in collections of 6, 9, 15 or so. Alignment also being a challenge, he turned, as many times before in his work, to photography to help him out.  Using digital photographs and photoshop he would “stitch” together the individual images to make one cohesive picture.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

Many times he arrived at his chosen painting spot with canvasses, easels, camping tables accommodating boxes of paints, pots of brushes etc but also made use of iPad technology and apps as a digital sketchbook, needing only the tablet to paint on and his finger to paint with (plus, I am sure, many hours of practice with the thing!).

Interestingly, Hockney refers back to Albrecht Durer, Monet, Turner, Ruskin, Constable among others and even made his own versions of Claude Lorrain’s Sermon on the Mount in his own style.

 

 

All images are photographs of pages from the official catalogue of work “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” published by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Authors: Tim Barringer, Edith Devaney, Margaret Drabble, Martin Gayford, Marco Livingsone and Xavier F Salomon – Photographic Acknowledgements contained within. Research also from the above.

 

Claude Monet 1840-1926

18-19/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

Famed for his en plein air paintings, Monet painted many scenes time and again. In around 1876, with a growing reputation, Monet was determined to paint several pictures of Gard de St-Lazare. According to his friend Renoir, you may have heard of him, Monet dressed in his finest clothes and addressed the director of the Western Railways, introduced himself as “The Painter, Claude Monet” and informed him that he had chosen his station to paint. This eventually resulted in the station being closed, trains being fired up producing clouds of steam, just for Monet’s sole purpose of painting. Now, that is overcoming the challenges of a busy station! Not sure I’d get away with that at Waterloo – anyway I digress.

Haystacks by Monet

Images from top left clockwise:
Haystack, Snow, Overcast Sky;
Haystack in Sunshine;
Haystacks in Thaw at Sunset;
Haystack in the Snow, Morning
By Claude Monet 1891

Monet started producing series of paintings in earnest around the 1890s. Beginning with the haystacks, he produced sketches and painted studies that became finished works.  Always in a setting of the field with distant buildings indicated, as Monet said himself, the subject was not the objects in front of him as such but the conveyance of “what is alive between me and the subject”. Atmosphere, light, weather conditions etc all became the “subject”.

Going on to spend approximately two years painting the west door of the 12th century Gothic Rouen Cathedral in many different guises.  The views are all very similar, although not identical, as he rented a small room opposite to work from – he did not manage to keep the same room for the project’s entirety.  In the end he painted 30 different canvasses, ranging from morning sunlight to dull overcast days and the myriad of changing light in between. Monet did spend the following year re-working and adding to the paintings in his studio emphasising mood and atmosphere and giving balance.  I have seen a selection of these displayed in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and it is striking how different in appearance and feel each is to the other.

rouen cathedral x 6

Top row – left to right:
Rouen Cathedral in the Morning. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance in the morning sun. Harmony in blue;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in the morning. Harmony in white.
Bottom row, left to right:
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in bright sunlight. Harmony in blue and gold;
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower on a dull day. Harmony in grey;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance. Harmony in brown.
By Claude Monet, 1894

Detail of previous image top left.

Detail of previous image top left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the challenges Monet faced in working outside, he painted in all weathers rain, snow, wind and blazing sun and was accustomed to working swathed in coats and blankets, being battered by the sea’s spray and whatever else nature could throw at him.  Aside from the practicalities of maintaining body temperature and keeping dry, all these things are the very essence of Monet’s painting “what is alive between me and the subject”.

Research and photographs of images from Monet by Christoph Heinrich Published by Taschen 1994