Saturday 10 March 2012: Back home
We returned home yesterday after a couple of days in London. We had travelled down to see David Hockney's "A Bigger Picture" exhibition at the Royal Academy. This was a treat for Wifie. Since returning home from exile in Los Angeles, Hockney has been lovingly painting the landscapes of his native Yorkshire, and specifically the Yorkshire Wolds. This is close to home for Wifie too, one of the first of Hockney's Yorkshire landscapes painted in 1999 featured the winding road descending Garrowby Hill into the Plain of York below. My father-in-law farmed the land on the edge of the scene.
Wifie's brother first stumbled across this painting when he was visiting the Boston Museum in the USA, and he brought home a couple of posters of it. We have one framed at the top of the stairs. Hockney had painted this from memory, a scene etched on his mind as he had daily driven from Bridlington on the coast across the Wolds and to Wetherby to see his friend who was terminally ill.
The Wolds are a gentle, rolling chalk landscape of big open fields incised by steep dales with grasslands and woodlands. They are not one of the most dramatic of English landscapes, what Hockney shows is that beauty is all around us if we care to look hard enough, and if we revisit the same scenes in different seasons, weather conditions and times of day.
After a couple of days in the city, home is always welcome. This too is a pretty place, one that also benefits from the dynamism of Morecambe Bay and the Kent estuary. Most of the time it is quite ordinary, but the advantage of living here is to witness those moments when the landscape is transformed by weather and light. This journal is in part a compilation of the snapshots of those moments, when I am lucky enough to be there at the right time.
My apologies that I have not been here to comment, and worse have not said my thankyous to all those who were kind enough to give hearts and stars for the blips posted at the beginning of the week.