Showing posts with label Royal Academy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Academy. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The glorious David Hockney exhibition - A Bigger Picture

My serial moving habit is something I’ve written about before. We’ve moved house (take a deep breath here) an embarrassing 12 times in the last 25 years and I’ve got a sneaking feeling that we might do it again one day. 

But one of the places we lived when my children were small was Yorkshire, in a sweet redbrick cottage with horses that popped their heads over next door's fence and views over the rolling fields. They were happy days – days that came flooding back to me last week when I pitched up at the glorious David Hockney exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts.

Hockney is a Yorkshireman through and through. Now 74, he was born in Bradford, studied at Bradford Art College and seven years ago swapped the delights of sunny LA for life near Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast. "On the road to nowhere," he told Andrew Marr when the broadcaster visited him in Brid for BBC Radio 4's Start the Week.

His new show, which includes oil paintings (many of them massive), charcoal drawings, sketchbooks, iPad paintings and short films, is a breathtaking tribute to the Yorkshire landscape. 

Hockney loves to observe the same place at different times of the day and during different seasons of the year. One of the most stunning collections of paintings is his 2006 Woldgate Woods series - he placed his easel at a fixed point and returned to the same spot countless times to capture it. Another room is devoted to paintings of hawthorn blossom, while the largest gallery features The Arrival of Spring on Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (Twenty-Eleven), a huge installation made up of 32 oil paintings and 51 iPad drawings printed on paper.

The colour in many of his paintings is vibrant and bold, with purple roads winding through the countryside, stripey orange hayfields, violet tree trunks and turquoise hills. Some critics, including his own former art teacher, have found them “too garish,” but I adored them. Their zinging colours are a dramatic contrast to the more muted hues of his earlier work but bring the landscape he loves dazzlingly alive.

The tiniest details rekindled memories of our far-flung Yorkshire days. A small, red-roofed farmhouse sitting squarely in a field, a tunnel of trees near Kilham and handsome Salt’s Mill – all these and more were the perfect tonic to a chilly midwinter's day.

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture is at the Royal Academy of Arts till April 9 2012.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Queuing for a free Hummingbird Bakery cake

The queue of expectant customers snaked out of the shop, along the pavement and right round the corner. The occasion was the opening of The Hummingbird Bakery’s fifth London shop and they were giving free cupcakes to the first 1,000 customers to visit. News had spread fast via Twitter and Facebook and the mood was very party-like for a chilly Friday morning in January.

I had a meeting near Angel tube station so I jumped at the chance to line up in the sunshine and get my brilliantly named red velvet cupcake (plus buy three more for everyone at home – they’d be furious if I’d arrived back empty-handed). 
When I reached the front of the queue the staff were charm personified – and impressively smiley considering they’d been handing out cakes at the rate of knots. A couple of hours later the shop posted the following message on Facebook: "Islington, you managed to munch your way through 1,000 cupcakes in just over two hours! That's some incredible cupcake love."

Judging by the turnout, I’m not the only one partial to a freebie, especially in these bleak economic times. Actually, I’ve been really lucky this week. First my local cinema, the Phoenix Picturehouse, offered members the chance to see a free preview of Carnage, the new film starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. Then my daughter, now a Friend of the Royal Academy (a great birthday present from my sister) sweetly took me to see the fabulous David Hockney exhibition as her guest. 

Like everyone I know, my wallet is stuffed full of bits of paper offering discounts and bargains. I’ve got a coupon from Marks & Spencer offering £5 off if I spend £25 by Tuesday and a £2.50 one from Tesco. The only voucher I’m mystified by is the Sainsbury’s Brand Match one promising me the princely sum of 7p off my next shop.  Still, as the Tesco’s saying goes, every little helps...
The Hummingbird Bakery, 405 St John Street, London EC1V 4AB
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