Artist David Hockney working 'en plein air' in the East Riding Wolds
I’ve just returned from a holiday with my wife and two children to the East Yorkshire Wolds, or East Riding as it is known, near the coastal town of Filey. When we booked it I, surprisingly, had forgotten about the area’s connection to being the landscape recently made famous by David Hockney in his extensive series of landscape paintings made ‘plein air’ and celebrated in ‘A Bigger Picture’, his enormous exhibition of this work at the Royal Academy in 2012.
David Hockney, 'Path Through Wheat Field. July, 2005', oil on canvas, 61 x 91.4 cm
David Hockney, 'Sledmere View', oil on canvas, 2008, 90 x 150cms
It’s strange as we spent most of our week by the sea, on the nearby beach, or the beaches of nearby Bridlington, Filey or Scarborough, yet the sea is oddly absent from Hockney’s paintings of the region.
David Hockney, 'The Big Hawthorne', 2008, oil on nine canvases, each 91 x 120cms
I did a few drawings of my own on holiday, but it is pretty impossible to give it any real time when you have two lively kids kicking sand in your sketchbook. I would love to develop more seriously my interest in ‘plein air’ painting again at some point in the future.
The last painting on this post is by Lucy Jones (above), whose work I really like, and she works on these paintings, which are often very large six-feet across things, entirely in the ‘plein air’ tradition. She must overcome what must be immense physical difficulty to create these paintings as she suffers from cerebral palsy and works on her knees outside in all weathers (3). I think they are brilliant and so full of life.