There was a fantastic exhibition at the Royal Academy last year of David Hockney's latest paintings. By the time I was aware of it, it had sold out so, sadly, I didn't get to go, which is a great pity because I think his latest landscapes are absolutely stunning. I think it's fair to say Hockney is not a painter who is afraid of colour.
I did manage to get to the RA's Summer Exhibition last year (as I've posted about) and the curators had decided to keep one of the really huge Hockneys on the wall for the exhibition so at least I got to see one of them.
Anyway, one of the things I picked up from the Gift Shop at the RA on my way out was a paint-by-numbers 'kit' of one of the smaller David Hockney paintings - 'Garrowby Hill'. It's obviously been a very popular image because the RA stuck it on everything, from fridge magnets to umbrellas. But I was hugely tickled by the paint-by-numbers print of it and decided I MUST HAZ.
In fact, I bought two of them because it dawned on me that it would make a rather nice gift for my lovely friend Katy, who is my brain twin. If I liked it, I'm pretty damn sure that she would too. I've done this in the past, following the Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum (we're both big fans of his work) where I got two copies of the Alan Measles tapestry and completed one of them for Katy's 40th birthday last year.
This time round, though, with the Hockneys, I decided that I was going to have to paint both of them at the same time because, otherwise, I'd do one and send it off, then not get round to doing the other (the one for myself) for months and months and months. So that's what I did. Both at the same time.
I took photos as I was going along just so I could post about it. And before I show you these, I suppose you'll need to see what the original painting looks like, so here it is:
The 'kit' was a 14" x 11" piece of cartridge paper with the design printed on with numbers marked where the relevant colour should go. You know, just like the paint-by-numbers pictures you used to do as a child. The kit did not include the paints or a paintbrush but that's okay, as I'm fully stocked with those. The original painting also has far more detail in it than the finished paint-by-numbers version which only uses 10 colours in total, but I have to say, I think it came out pretty well.
Anyway, here are the photos so you can see for yourself (click on them to embiggen):
I got white box frames for both of them, and sent Katy's off to her today as a housewarming present. I can honestly say that it's a handpainted Hockney - and I hope she likes it!!
Finally, this is the one I kept, framed and on the wall:
It was an interesting experience doing paint-by-numbers again, something I've not done since I was probably 10 years old, but I'm not sure I'd rush to do another one. For one thing, some of the painting was incredibly teeny-tiny, somewhat testing my eyesight and patience (it took 2-and-a-half weeks to paint both pictures, a few hours a day), and for another, I think I'd rather do my own paintings. But, yeah, having a handpainted Hockney on your wall is not to be sneezed at!
Other arty things have been happening at Jones Towers - art classes have started again, I've picked up the tapestry needle to finally do my Alan Measles needlework, I've been making some rather nice hearts in crochet, and I've been getting to grips with portraying the human form in pastels!!
All indoor activities (apart from art classes) you'll note - snow is very pretty to look at through the window but I don't relish walking on it.
Hope all my lovely readers have kept warm and snug during the cold snap - I spotted snowdrops in my garden yesterday while feeding the birds - so spring isn't far away (and have you noticed it's getting lighter in the evenings?)
MRS TREFUSIS' DIARY, 10th December
3 hours ago