Working en plein air
Early in the year, at a John Constable retrospective at Tate Britain, Hockney is impressed by the scale of the British master’s oil sketches. Upon returning to Bridlington, he explores painting the East Yorkshire landscape en plein air in oil. Having done many single canvas works, he turns his attention to a more expansive scale, which he achieves by combining canvases to depict a single scene across a grid of two, four, or six canvases.
At first we had to go out with several cars so that returning we could lay out the wet canvases on the back seats without smudging them. Eventually we built a sort of rack in the back of the truck with six shelves, so we could transport all six canvases at once, even if all of them were wet. It’s like I always say: You’ve got to really prepare if you’re going to try to be spontaneous.