A Yorkshire genius

We’ve been watching a terrific BBC film (in Alan Yentob’s Imagine series) about David Hockney’s return to his Yorkshire roots. It’s an entrancing movie (still on iPlayer here.) It’s complemented by this nice Spectator piece, A Yorkshire genius in love with his iPhone.

Landscape and nature dominate Hockney’s life these days. In mid-May, I arranged to call in with my wife to see him for lunch. The exact timing was decided only after a lengthy conversation by text, the point to be determined being when the hawthorn would come into blossom. As soon as it was out, he would want to be painting it all day, every day. So a definite invitation could only be made after the progress of buds in the local hedgerows was examined. Day after day for several years, in summer heat and freezing winter winds, Hockney has set up a canvas beside some quiet road. The film catches him at work, putting on the paint. At one point a local driver stops to remark to Jean-Pierre — in Yorkshire so broad that the BBC has resorted to subtitles — ‘Tell him when he’s finished we’ve got some decorating needs doing at t’pub.’ Hockney himself is as unmoved as Van Gogh was when heckled by the youth of Arles. He carries on calmly depicting the rolling fields…

Thanks to Gerard for spotting the Spectator piece.