Hockney will leaf you breathless

"WOLDGATE WOODS, 21, 23 & 29 NOVEMBER 2006"'OIL ON 6 CANVASES (36 X 48" EA)'72 X 144" OVERALL'� DAVID HOCKNEY'PHOTO: RICHARD SCHMIDT
"WOLDGATE WOODS, 21, 23 & 29 NOVEMBER 2006"'OIL ON 6 CANVASES (36 X 48" EA)'72 X 144" OVERALL'� DAVID HOCKNEY'PHOTO: RICHARD SCHMIDT

WHEN the invitation arrived, it didn’t require much thought – and so on a crisp January morning we headed across to the Royal Academy in London, for a private viewing of David Hockney, A Bigger Picture.

It is the first major exhibition in the UK to showcase his landscape work, and has been a good while in the making.

More than 150 delicious visions are arranged for the eyes to feast on, the majority created over the past eight years, but there is more than a brief nod to his past works too, which date back to 1956.

Stepping into the RA to see its vacuum of space so warmly adorned by Hockney’s visions takes your breath away.

David invites his viewer inside his work – you can almost smell the earth, feel the crisp ground beneath you and shiver at the chill of an autumn wind as you pass by his visions.

Hockney’s use of colour is radiant, and that the work here is sometimes colossal in size only serves to further entice you in to the heart of his most beautiful matter.

No pr spin will ever match the sheer wonder and delight with which Hockney captures the very essence of Yorkshire.

He is the ace in their tourism pack, surely.

David was able to capture the changing landscape in all its glory by retracing his footsteps season after another.

What Vivaldi did with his ears and the violin, Hockney has done with dedication, vision and his preferred instrument of choice, the brush.

The compositions might be centuries apart, but they do share similiarites – both are striking, fulfilling and inspiring.

The Four Seasons is, for me, a personal highlight, but it isn’t the only thing to get excited about.

As the gallery rooms continue to enthral, so to do other pieces – his Grand Canyon paintings and their fiery red stance, and the Pearblossom Highway, right, along with the chance to peek inside his sketchpads and see his deliveries as mere saplings before rustling as part of a wooded wonder, so to speak.

“Everything begins with the sketchbooks,’ Hockney says, although his work here does include iPad drawings, as the 74-year old continues to take on technology.

Some stuffy critics have panned, not praised the display. ‘For me this overwhelming accumulation of his recent work is the visual equivalent of being tied hand and foot and dumped under the loudspeakers of the Glastonbury Festival,’ wrote one.

But that sounds fine to us, too.

Ultimately, people power will define this show, and even before it opened its doors, A Bigger Picture had sold four times as many tickets as Van Gogh’s RA show in 2010.

Incredible. But that’s Hockney for you.

> We combined our visit to the exhibition with a stay at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.

More about that, and how you can enjoy the same, imminently.

Sammy Jones