Exhibition treat: Hockney in Saltaire

On Sunday, I enjoyed my first Yorkshire art treat: a lovely visit to Salts Mill in Saltaire.

Jeanne-Louise standing in front of the David Hockney 'A Year in Normandie' frieze

^ Jeanne-Louise at Hockney's 'A Year in Normandie'

If you're a Hockney fan, Salts Mill is currently an ideal outing. You can enjoy both his 'The Arrival of Spring' (2011) and 'A Year in Normandie' (2020–21) iPad exhibitions. In addition, the groundfloor 1853 Gallery features some of his drawings, etchings and paintings (including some lovely portraits). Upstairs, you can enjoy some of his theatrical creations.

Jeanne-Louise (smiling) at the David Hockney 'Arrival of Spring' exhibition

^ Jeanne-Louise at Hockney's 'Arrival of Spring'

Younger me, studying art history at university in the 90s, wasn't a particular Hockney fan. The works he is most famous for didn't wow me in books and lecture theatre slideshows. However, they are much more impactful viewed full size and properly lit in a gallery, so Hockney has grown on me over the years. He does have a remarkable body of work.

In particular, my admiration of his art grew after seeing his portraiture exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2016. I was really impressed by how expressive this collection was. I also enjoyed seeing more of his work, especially his photographic work. as part of the Tate's 'Queer British Art 1861–1967' exhibition in 2017. 

Having recently tried my hand at iPad drawing, it was fabulous to see his recent iPad creations, particularly the Normandie frieze. His mark-making is impressive. Lots of details that show excellent draughtsmanship caught my eye. Most memorable were some lovely garden chair squiggles. Just lovely!

There were also some glorious vibrant colour pops, that reminded me of the Van Gogh exhibition (see related blog). I definitely hope to learn from these artists who add a bold colour highlight without over-working it or trying to tone it down. It's all about confidence to trust the mark you make and let it be.

I can't wait to visit the Hockney Normandie exhibition again (it's on until September). And hopefully we'll have some sunshine when I do so that I can walk along the canal and enjoy a bit of lovely Saltaire. I hear there's a good chance of spotting a kingfisher along that route.


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