Bigger Trees near Warter
Oil on Canvas
I have researched a landscape painting called Bigger Trees near Warter painted by David Hockney. His studio was in East Yorkshire. I chose this painting because I was attracted to the painting because it was to do with nature. The size of the painting caught my eye as I was amazed by the scale and the size of it. Hockney is a well-known, respected world-wide landscape artist. He has a typical style and was taken in by the influence of French Landscape Impressionism (Sanger, A., 2009)
It took Hockney from Spring to Autumn to complete the work. He visited the location that he was painting and he painted on canvases a few at a time. The size of one canvas measured 3 foot by 5 foot. The finished work of art was 15 foot by 40 foot (Brown, 2009)
He used an easel, oil paints, brushes and canvases. With the aid of digital photography he took pictures of what he was painting. He also painted outside- he analysed the changes around him each day from Spring to Autumn. He was in an environment where he noticed changes in the weather and the landscape as he was painting. He also worked in his studio to complete each canvas. He spent half of his time outside and half in the studio to scale it out on the landscape painting.
He used a pencil to line up his painting on the canvas. For this painting he had to memorise the information. He would have to have a lot of common knowledge and a very good memory. Hockney prefers daylight because he feels if he starts later in the day he feels like he is wasting the daylight and he could lose hours of working time.
The way he was painting and the strokes he used are very pop art. He used strong, bright, bold colours.
Hockney wanted to paint on a large scale he researched a lot of landscape artists to see if they had painted landscapes on this scale. This was a challenge for him as a landscape artist.
The painting was completed in 2007. The reason David Hockney painted this landscape was because he liked to be around nature. He painted on three different scales using abstract, realism and he was influenced by French Impressionist artists.
The colour that he has used is very abstract with Pop Art themes and background scenery. Hockney has tried to use realistic colours with his paints. Bigger Trees by Warter uses mixed media there are different subjects and styles in the painting.
Alex Gourlay took part in major exhibitions in 2007 including ‘Scottish Art’ and ‘Spring Show’. Gourlay describes Hockney’s work as:
“Heading towards a tension between realism and abstraction: technical control versus the effects of chance” (Gourley, 2013).
Hockney spent most of his life painting in California and came back to Yorkshire, where he was born, to paint a few landscapes of Yorkshire.
Hockney may have put abstract and realism together in the same painting to see what the end result was. Other artists around this period of time were mixing realism and abstract but no artist painted on this scale.
This is a very modern painting. This is shown by the way he has used canvas and the style of the painting. The painting is very abstract this makes it modern. He has used technology such as digital photography and this also makes it modern. The paintings were gradually going up in scale – the amount of canvasses he used.
The movement which ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’ was part of was that of a 19th Century French-style landscape painting. Hockney stuck to a particular style and movement. David Hockney was influenced by the French artists of this time he used modern and old style methods. He used old fashioned methods in his work over the last 25 years. He observed his environment and he spent some time learning about changes in his surroundings. The movement which David Hockney followed was the ‘sur le motif’ style (Sanger, A., 2009) which was in this painting, using digital photography to produce an oil on canvas.
He chose this method, painting on several canvases, because he wanted to get his work out of his studio and down the stairs (YouTube: 2009).
David Hockney completed the painting for the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy in London in 2007, in Gallery III.
Hockney tends to use the same type of oil paints in his landscape works. Hockney relies on the same method and same French style in his landscapes. One example of his other works similar to this is ‘The Road to York through Sledmere’.
David Hockney followed the style of French landscape artists. Hockney was too influenced on the French landscape method, using this typical style as opposed to his own technique.
Hockney tried to do as an escape from his own reality; he relied on a typical style of painting of French Impressionist landscape artists. He could have taken a risk by concentrating less on the French style and more creating his own style of painting.
It was amazing to do fifty canvases and to get the picture absolutely perfect. It would have been really difficult especially to get the detail in the trees. Hockney often worked on six canvases at a time.
This painting was very significant and interesting to the media and the public (‘David Hockney Tate Britain November 2009’. Accessed on 2nd December. Online YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f1vAfIqfvg).
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Brown, M. ‘David Hockney’s Bigger Trees Near Warter given a big space at Tate Britain’. www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/nov/23/hockney-tate-britain-trees. November 2009. Accessed 18th November 2016.
The Telegraph, ‘Apple iPad art: portraits created by David Kassan using the Brushes app on the touchscreen device’. www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/picture-galleries/7866260/Apple-iPad-art-portraits-created-by-David-Kassan-using-the-brushes-app-on-the-touchscreen-device.html. Accessed 18th November 2016.
Watercolour.net. ‘David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition’. http://watercolor.net/david-hockney-a-bigger-exhibition/. January 2014. Accessed 25th November 2016.
Portappin Studio. ‘Biography of Alex Gourlay’. http://www.portappinstudio.co.uk/alex/biography.html. Accessed 25th November 2016.
Sanger, A. ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter Or/Ou Peinture Sur Le Motif Pour Le Nouvel Age Post-Photographique’. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-bigger-trees-near-warter-or-ou-peinture-sur-le-motif-pour-le-nouvel-age-post-t12887. October 2009. Accessed on 2nd December.
‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I24Z2YLeL7U Accessed and retrieved on 2nd December 2016
‘David Hockney Tate Britain November 2009’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f1vAfIqfvg Accessed and retrieved 2nd December 2016