Relax and thrive. Love Life. Visit a David Hockney show.

Relax and thrive. Love Life. Visit a David Hockney show.

David Hockney signs letters with 'Love Life'. It's a motto of his. I'm glad he loves life. Life is vibrant when you SEE it.

Hockney's Eye exhibition poster 2022

There seem to be Hockney shows all over the place. You can find a long list of them on Hockney's website. I'm a fan, so I went to see the "Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction" at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge UK.

It's my home town and I've been visiting that museum all my life so it felt familiar and warm. I'm quite a lazy visitor. Or perhaps it's just that I get rather overwhelmed with the amount of visual input so I often skip quite fast through a show. Also, when there are a lot of people queuing to see a picture that makes the experience challenging. There's just so much to see.

The show is scattered over numerous galleries throughout the museum. I would guess as a way to promote the dustier but worthy items that people might otherwise walk right past on their way to see a contemporary household name. It's well curated and I enjoyed the link between Hockney's work and the historical pieces. There was lot of text and information about optical devices but I skimmed it. I was very engaged by the large screens with recordings of Hockney's drawings in progress on his iPad. 

I do like Hockney's recent figurative work. I like the light touch, the speed and the bright colours. I'm looking at Hockney, Toulouse Lautrec and Egon Schiele as inspiration for figure drawing.

On the way back from the Hockney show, travelling through London I dropped into the V&A to try and get some nice cheeky bottom drawings. Not easy to draw in a Museum packed full of holiday makers with their kids but I quite enjoyed it. In the middle of the afternoon there was a huge downpour of rain. Everyone dashed from the quadrangle (The John Madejski Garden) except for a little girl who ventured back out in the rain barefoot and then her parents let her take all her clothes off. The museum attendant at the door on the other side said something like "and no-one is going to complain!" I think she meant she hoped no-one would spoil the moment by complaining. It was endearing. This deluge of heavy rain and the little girl just exploring it happily. After the drought I think a lot of us felt the same.

The ideal statue for me had her back to the wall so I couldn't draw her bottom. And the Three Graces is a bit over complicated. Here are a few of my felt tip sketches.

Figure drawing at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Meanwhile, I have been going to figure drawing on Thursday afternoons for a couple of hours each time. I haven't found the right pen or pen combination yet. I just can't help experimenting with this that and the other. Hence the yellow Simpsons style figures that look a bit sickly. To save on paper I sometimes wash away the drawings and draw on top of them again.

Female figure drawings at Studio 53 in Salisbury

This week we drew another long timer at Studio 53. Studio 53 is an art space run by artist Matthew Dean. He's been running life drawing sessions there for around 20 years. I'm really enjoying them. He selects some music which I usually like and there is often a bit of irreverent banter and chat so it's not too stuffy and serious. Although I like to concentrate as there's only a couple of hours and lots to do!

So yes, we drew a senior model who has been modelling for some years at the Studio. He was amazing to draw. Very angular.

Male figure drawing at Studio 53 in Salisbury

I think this is my favourite drawing. I am trying to commit to the lines - by that I mean making one line and not correcting it. Also, I'm focussed on being gentle and more detailed with the pen. A bit more tentative.

Drawing of a senior man.

You might notice that some of the drawings are pairs: I have walked around the figure and drawn the person from the other side.

I was pleased with this one as well because the weight of the lines had the right meaning and emphasis. Or maybe I mean it just feels right. In any case, I like the drawings that show a likeness of the person.

Portrait of a woman August 2022

 p.s here is a good interview with Hockney in the New Yorker magazine.

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