Nugget of inspiration #1: David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020

The Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, London is currently showing the recent work of David Hockney (personal fave of mine).

Hockney, 'one of the most important British artists of the 20th century', has curated a collection of 116 iPad sketches, paintings and drawings from his time spent in isolation during the 2020 COVID pandemic. 


"Hockney himself notes: working on the iPad requires the ability to draw and paint. Each work – which has been printed far larger than the screen on which it was created – allows you to see every mark and stroke of the artist’s hand" [ra]

When asked about why he chose to focus on the subtle changes of season (the 100 odd paintings are all captures of his garden in Normandy), Hockney because "it is exciting..if you're watching it..very exciting. It begins [the trees] with nothing on the branches and they end up covered in leaves". This child-like enthusiasm for his work and clean, sharp observations of his surroundings is what makes Hockney such a captivating artist. His musings on this natural seasonal change also reflects much of the actual creative process; "it begins with absolute nothing" but "ends up covered in leaves". Stressing (although perhaps unconsciously!) that creativity is a practise not a product.

The seasonal tone of the exhibition was very uplifting and almost refreshing - not just the clean fresh colours of many of the pictures, but also because its nucleus was rooted in "the arrival of spring"; a time of new beginnings and hope. These paintings were all created by Hockney during a "sobering time" (COVID Pandemic), his "focus on the emergence of spring is a celebration of the joy", and reminding us how good can come from dark times.  Have you ever used creativity in a difficult time of your life? Have you used creative activity as a tool to help you feel better? 

One may say he is a living legend and remains inexhaustibly inventive. The optimism, depth and endlessness of his creativity is inspiring. Though Hockney stresses his choices are rooted in simplicity making admirers of his work to feel less intimated by his art and indeed 'art' in general. "..drawing on iPad is just making marks..[but] you can make thousands of different marks"   

Sometimes we may feel the need to make our creations complex, different, dynamic, bold, loud, astute, important, perfect..when really creative work, creative practise and creativity is a journey and not is end product. Yes, we may get a product at the end of it, but that is not the purpose - the purpose is the practise! It is all the simple, slight, small 'marks' that make up the drawing.