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“I wipe my fingers at the end thinking that I’ve got paint on them.” David Hockney’s iPad drawings.

by Nextness published February 8, 2012 posted in Inspiration

In yesterday’s post “I can find excitement in raindrops falling on a puddle”: lessons for creatives from David Hockney we canvassed the 75 year old painter’s views on everything from living in Paris and being too modest to meet Picasso. Today, we explore his views on iPhone and iPad painting (he told the BBC, “sometimes I get so carried away, I wipe my fingers at the end thinking that I’ve got paint on them“) and let you know how you can do it too.

I must admit the iPhone took me quite a while to master, to discover how to get thicker and thinner lines, transparency and soft edges… But then I realised it had marvelous advantages; it is a stunning visual tool… finally I got rather good with it. It takes a while to do that, but I’m willing to spend some time. It takes three months? Fine, lets have a go. At my age, it’s exciting.



I hardly make telephone calls on it. I send texts, partly because I’m going deaf. And I draw fresh flowers every day and send them to friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning. And my flowers last. Not only can I draw them as if in a sketchbook, i can also send them to fifteen or twenty people who get them immediately. So they wake up and say: “Let’s see what David’s sent us.”



The iPhone makes you bold… I’ve looked at them blown up on a big screen, and they made me very excited because you didn’t have any loss of colour, and instead of the finger doing it, it looked as if you were doing it with your arm swinging round. I though, “Hmm, this will affect my painting, trying to find the minimum number of marks needed to do something.”



You can make a drawing of the sunrise at 6am and send it out to people by 7am.



Would Turner have slept through such terrific drama? Absolutely not! Anyone in my business who slept through that would be a fool. I don’t keep office hours.



I love it, I must admit. The iPad can be what you want it to be. You could spend your time playing games, doing crosswords, watching YouTube, or, like me, draw on it. Picasso would have gone mad with this. I don’t know an artist who wouldn’t, actually.



Picasso or Van Gogh would have snapped one up.



The computer is a very good tool, but it needs imagination to use it well.


Want to Hockney it up on your iPad or iPod?

Hockney iPad drawing


Unless otherwise stated, all quotes come from Martin Gayford‘s wonderful book A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney. This is just a small extract; we recommend you buy it and read it in full. For more inspiration, we also like the doco David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (2009) by Bruno Wollheim.

Suggestions: If you like this post, you might enjoy “I can find excitement in raindrops falling on a puddle”: lessons for creatives from David Hockney | “What matters is the work”: 25 lessons for creatives in Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids.’ | “I’m here to say something and to touch other people”: lessons for creatives from Keith Richards’ ‘Life.’ | Don’t give up: lessons for creatives from Miranda July.| How to get out of a creative rut.


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