‘Late November Tunnel, 2006’ by David Hockney is the centrepiece of this short film edited from the original by Bruno Wollheim for the 2009 documentary ‘A Bigger Picture’. In this edit of the film Anna Rusbatch – who was interested in the relationship between visual and audio – composed the music to accompany and ‘engage’ with footage of David Hockney painting en plein air in the Yorkshire Wolds, Yorkshire in 2006. Her interest was to focus entirely on the brush strokes and not the conversation between the filmmaker and the painter.
So why today? Why write about Hockney on the 10th July? Well he was 75 yesterday and it is only appropriate that I write up something about one of the most important painters of the late 20th Century.
Hockney spent most of his life painting in America and it’s only in the last decade that he’s been based back home in the UK. These days he spends a great deal of time painting landscapes in his native Yorkshire, in locations such as this, one of his favourite: a quiet stretch of country road lined with trees that he calls ‘the tunnel’, near the village of Kilham, in the Yorkshire Wolds. This painting is one of a series of studies Hockney has made of the same place at different times of the day and year. Like Monet before him Hockney is now painting the seasons of his native country. Martin Gayford of RA Magazine had this to say about it:
Hockney found the spectacle of the changing seasons fascinating, and decided to start working on the landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds, near his house in Bridlington (a comfortable base which was once a small hotel). In a way it was a return to his roots, a landscape of memory. He had grown up in Bradford on the other side of Yorkshire, but as a teenager he had worked in the fields in the Yorkshire Wolds during school holidays. And he would visit his late mother and sister who lived in Bridlington. Hockney began this phase of his work by making drawings and watercolours, then painting oils in the open air–like nineteenth-century painters such as Monet and Constable–standing beside the road in all weathers.
This painting, ‘Late November Tunnel, 2006’ and other paintings from the series can be seen up until the 30th September at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.