Sunday, January 23, 2011

David Hockney Views a Lane

As I've started observing, collecting, and savoring details from my daily life to use in my writing, I have become more and more interested to read what others say about how they relate to their environments. David Hockney, the British artist, lived in Hollywood from 1978-2005 and I've enjoyed much of his art reacting to that experience. But then he returned to Yorkshire. In an article in the New York Times, Carol Kino records how he described the scene to her as they approached a group of trees along a narrow country lane. "As we drew close to the trees, he fretted over the sun’s position. “The lighting is made for going the other way,” he complained. Then he slowed down so we had time to appreciate each tree individually, and began issuing orders about how to look.

“Watch!” he called out. “The ash tree now comes in — look at the shape of it! And now then on the right, another tree. There’s a point where each one stands on its own. There. Now. It’s surrounded by sky. Now the next one, and it stands on its own. You see?” It was as though he were giving director’s notes. " He told Kino he had seen this area many times and wanted to make a painting of it, but could not yet get it to work since he had to synthesize many perspectives into one. He said he hadn't yet figured out how to do it, but he would.

It's a new idea to me to take in an experience repeatedly and consider how to synthesize it. I like this concept a lot, and I'm thinking over how I'll use it in my writing. I haven't yet figured out how to do it, but I will.


Anonymous said...

Nice idea. I like Hockney's paintings and also those photocollages he does. Did you see the Mulholland Drive pictures? They are among my favorites. I can imagine him thinking similar things while driving that crazy, tilted road.

To do this in writing while being cohesive and not confusing might well be a challenge, Laura. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

The way Hockney looks at individual trees is the way I want to look at everything in life. But it does not come naturally to me as it does to him. Working at it is definitely worthwhile, though. This story inspires me. PRZ

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
Did you see the article on Hockney in the LAT this weekend, with all the pictures he draws on his iPOD? Seems pretty miraculous to me. I don't see how he does it, although there was something about a stylus in the paper.