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on December 30, 2011
This documentary is so, so good to watch, and watch again and again. Congratulations to all in involved. I projected it on my wall 24 feet from corner to corner - such a grand way to watch this, as a movie. If you've see this film you know why I mentioned this - so expansively brilliant. Thank you is all I can say to the film makers and bless you Mr. Hockney for again showing us the way, the direction forward. A quote from Mr. Hockney spoken near the end of the film, "I think Van Gogh said he lost the faith of his father but he found another in the infinity of Nature. I think it's there, If you get into it." I think it is also in David Hockney's artwork, and how inspirational that what comes in the final years of a life spent painting is his best work. Thank you again.
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on March 4, 2011
This video documenting David Hockney's return to Yorkshire as a plein-aire painter is one of the best video documents of an artist at work. There is excellent footage of Hockney painting these large works on site in all weather. The video conveys the cumbersome frustrating caravan of the plein air enterprise as well as its salutary aspects, all filtered through Hockney's child-like energy (at age 70!) and keen intelligence. Hockney's fascinating comments on painting and the nature of the painted image separate from the photographic one carry this video into profound realms that are seldom touched upon elsewhere in videos, but of extreme relevance to anyone interested in the implications of the painted image today. The slight friction between the artist and his video petting-zoo documentarian provide an amusing subplot, that almost derails the film, but it is saved by the noble effort clearly demonstrated here of an old man in the landscape alone with his paint pots before nature's ravishing beauty. The extras-- almost a full hour of additional materials-- are satisfying and hyponotic. Who would have thought plein air painting could be a thrilling, extreme sport?
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on November 17, 2012
this video shows the artist developing the paintings right in front of the actual landscape and demonstrates his astonishing skill and draughtsmanship as he captures the scenes with truly amazing skill. This series of paintings are absolutely stunning and compare very favourably with the landscapes of Van Gogh. The interviews are not as good. However the book that sells for $85 is certainly not a fair representation of his work and I am glad I borrowed it from the library first before ordering it. My advice is buy the video and forget the book.
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on July 20, 2013
Just watched the beautiful "David Hockney, A Bigger Picture" DVD documentary about his journey as he returns to paint his native Yorkshire.

It 's a beautiful journey from his main residence in Los Angeles, CA to the landscape he loved as a boy and whom he actually worked in those very East Yorkshire fields when he was a school boy.

A friend actually said to him, "You were very happy working in the fields in Yorkshire" Hockney said, "I was actually". You could tell it was a very touching memory for him.

The film makes clear it wasn't like he never returned to his native England as he mentioned he would go approximately 4 times per year and even more when his Mother was dying (she lived to a robust 99 year old) but he was just compelled somehow to return and stay.

What I love most about it is the beautiful closeups of Hockney actually painting, on site, in plein air. It's just scrumptious to watch that beautiful oil paint being applied to the canvases, the oil color being moved and blended together with such artistry.

You see him painting clouds, fields, roadways, thickets, and trees - lot of trees. As Hockney has said, trees are "like faces - every one is different. Nature doesn't repeat itself". Winter trees were particularly difficult to capture, he said. "You have to observe carefully; there's a randomness."

He actually started the "Yorkshire Paintings" by first doing watercolours. He mentioned he did them in his car. They are pretty amazing and it's cool that many of them are highlighted on the DVD.

He is still such a wonderful, charming character (now approaching 70) with that snappy Brit humor. He gives such honest and revealing insight on his painting process on the landscape on how he "sees" the world.

You get the feeling he somehow needed to get these paintings done. It's such an incredible burst of creativity that he immersed himself in and it's such privilege to be a voyeaur on watching this all via film. You see him laughing, his assistant getting him sandwiches, the wind knocking over his canvases. It's just plain fun to watch.

He reminds me a lot of Van Gogh and his painting process with these paintings. He works very fast, often completing canvases in an hour or 2 (depending, of course, on the size) It's, again, like he is racing with time to complete these. I clearly got that sense when watching.

The apex of the film is a 50 canvas work called, "Bigger Trees near Warter (2007)", is a monumental-scale view of a coppice in Hockney's native Yorkshire, between Bridlington and York. It's the largest painting Hockney has ever completed and has since donated it to the Tate Museum.

It's interesting that they interview artist Damien Hirst (famous for his "Dot" paintings) as he is looking through some of Hockney's catalogues and mentions "there's a sadness about these paintings" which I thought was very insightful and I got it almost the minute after he said that.

All in all, this was great to watch. We get a very intimate portrait of this great artist and to get to see his creative painting process is really a treat for the mind, heart and eye.
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on March 18, 2016
Years ago I saw a partially finished Rembrandt in the basement of the Hermitage and burst into tears. It felt as if I was glimpsing the artist at work. It was a huge canvas- figures and garments fully or partially realized; others simply outlined, sketched with a quick hand. In this documentary David Hockney says he's wished it were possible to view a video of Rembrandt at work. That is part of his motivation for making this documentary and allowing us in to watch him. Because of his own longings, he understands what we're hungry for and he gives it to us with this video. We not only see how Hockney paints, we hear what he has to say about this leg of his journey, his life and his work. Inspired me and I hope it does you as well.
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on September 1, 2017
This Charming film shows David Hockney as we suspected! Devoted to making Images! Working working working ! Hockney totally deserves his King of the castle classification this film shows David as a very human being and an artist who is devoted to working he deserves his celebrity he's in love with life and in capturing whatever he can on canvas on paper etc etc this film is a delight for an Artist who admires David hockney's honesty he's great in this film is great absolutely love it!!! His dedication is very encouraging God bless him!
Richard Pendleton
New Orleans!
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on April 27, 2012
It's always uplifting to see painter David Hockney at work and talking about it. Bruno Wollheim made two documentaries about him in a very straightforward way. It's clear to the viewer that it's just Wollheim with his camera trying to capture what Hockney does - but without placing himself between us and the artist. Wollheim doesn't say: look at me making a film, he says: look at Hockney making his paintings from life. In other words: look at Hockney looking at landscapes (or people). Wollheim followed Hockney closely and thanks to his work we can watch along with him. If you like A Bigger Picture, you might also want to see 'David Hockney: Double Portrait' by the same director. I very much enjoyed both.
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A very good film following Hockney on his plein air painting sessions in the North of England. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that Hockney can come across as a know-it-all prig sometimes. At least he is starting to see that drawing cameras are just a tool and not a replacement for real talent. Ingres depended on a camera lucida or obscura? I don't think so.
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on February 9, 2011
This film was quite a surprise in that it is very insightful not only into Hockney's painting techniques but also into his philosophy of painting and life. You will not only find him a very sophisticated thinker but one who expresses himself in a quite simple way which is reflected in his landscape paintings. His plein air paintings at first appear as sketches compared to photo based paintings but when viewed as a group they are serious serial paintings much like Monet's Haystack series of paintings.

The film creates a very relaxed feeling with his dialogue and the setting of Yorkshire, you will feel like you are standing right beside him while he paints and you might even feel the exuberance of nature at its finest . The film does start out with him in Hollywood but quickly shifts back to his roots in England and especially the rolling hills and country lanes of the Yorkshire. The additional bonus hour of interviews with the artist, other artists, critics and the producer at the end of this film show his human qualities in a quite honest way which enriches the viewing experience even more.

I must added that the musical score by George Taylor really enriches the film experience. If this film was required for art students we might see an entire new generation of landscape painters.

We are living in a great time when such great artist can be recorded painting and talking about their work, can you imagine if this technology had been around when earlier great artist were alive. I think any viewer of the film and especially artists will put this movie toward the top of their list of art documentaries. Highly recommended.
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on January 7, 2014
I've loved Hockney's work for so long. I really enjoyed this because it allowed me to see Hockney's process, prep, ideas, etc. The painting aspect was truly intriguing, but after listening to Hockney for an hour and a half, I was very turned off by him. This could be from editing and the documentary style of collecting sound clips. I can also see from the perspective of a painter having somebody filming you for months on end can be a little unnerving. It was just tiring at times because every time the narrator asked Hockney a question it seemed like he was trying to make a grand quote. Other than that this is a fantastic art documentary. Following Hockney out into the wilderness to watch him paint, is truly a treat. Personally I loved this series of landscape paintings. It has actually inspired me to want to paint landscapes. Not outside in the cold rainy terrain that Hockney would traverse at times. If you like Hockney, painting, documentaries and/or the outdoors, you'll love this.
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