Look at the incredible variety of grasses, look at the marvellous leaves; look at the colour. Isn’t it beautiful…pure joy.
– David Hockney –
No trip to Yorkshire should be complete without a visit to the Yorkshire Wolds, or Hockney Country, as it has now been termed. The David Hockney art trail is an off the beaten track adventure; down narrow lanes that criss-cross the Wolds. I tried to map as many locations as possible in advance – using the images that Hockney created for the exhibition A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy, held in the spring of 2012 – but greatly underestimated how far apart the locations were. Having only one day to spare, I managed to find a few, but I think you should allow two full days at most to take advantage of the light and a leisurely pace. The route I followed begins two miles from the village of Warter, where Hockney painted Bigger Trees near Water, and then heads towards Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast, approx 50 miles away. In 1997, when visiting his seriously ill friend, Jonathan Silver at Salts Mill (see here), Hockney would travel daily from Bridlington to York along these roads. It was as a result of these journeys that he painted his first East Yorkshire landscapes.
At the edge of the village of Kilham, Hockney produced a series of paintings of the same subject during the spring, summer, autumn and winter. This track leads down to what has become know as the tunnel and features in his paintings: Late Spring Tunnel May 2006 and Wheat Field Beyond the Tunnel August 2006.
I would recommend a stop in the small village of Kilham to visit Hogan Art Gallery. Tony Hogan, an extremely talented painter and lifelong friend of Hockney, runs excellent art courses in the Wolds. He was gracious enough to give me a basic lesson in iPad art, too!
This tall tree stump (now sadly defaced) appears in many of Hockney’s art works and is often referred to as a totem. It appeared in Winter Timber, 2009 comprising 15 canvases of brilliant blue trees, a purple path dotted with ferns, a pink road, a yellow-orange pile of timber, and pink and blue tree stumps. As Hockney says quite simply: “to see colour, you have to look.”
I traced locations using SatNav codes which can be a little tricky as such codes can span an area of three miles or so; it’s best therefore to research ahead in much more detail to avoid error. I would certainly recommend using the map accessible via link below.
For further information and maps please visit: www.yorkshire.com