The long train journey there and back, plus delays due to the snow and all manner of other rail “troubles” was worth it just to be “blown away” by the fabulous colours and compositions of the current Hockney show at the Royal Academy. As well as the stunning colour combinations, I was struck by the look on the faces of the visitors – joyful, surprised and elated. It was a real tonic on a winter’s day.

However, having bought the paperback catalogue (£29 – the hardback is an eye watering £60), I realised that the scale of the re-produced paintings  in the book is, in my opinion actually better than the huge originals.

My favourites were a whole wall of  36 water colour landscapes on paper (2004) each 38×57 cms. (My absolute two favourites were a painterly muted work from 1956, -“Bolton Junction, Eccleshill” and one of his most recent large paintings  -“Queen Ann’s Lace near Kilham, 2010-11., this last one being in the last room of the show.)

I liked a number of the ipad reproductions because of their amazing colours and quality of luminosity, but I did not like those that had been blown up excessively to billboard size. Some of the large paintings were superb, but began to move too strongly away from paintings and into the world of stage scenery, to the point where one questioned what was being gained by this enormous size.(I couldn’t help comparing them to Picasso’s Guernica, which is  of a similar size, but works, at that size, as an amazing painting).

With Hockney’s works painterliness seemed to have been sacrified to size in many of the largest pieces. So the jury is still out on that one at the moment.

The room of many camera shots was wonderful – it seemed to force ones eyes to be used to their utmost! However, a bit like the Eden project where one misses the insects and birds and sounds that should go with the amazing vegetation, I was painfully reminded of not experiencing the smells and sounds of the vegetation and the outdoors!

Inspirational it certainly was, and not to be missed, but I’d be glad to hear the views of others who have visited, or are due to visit.

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