With a growing number of classes to plan for, I am always in search of inspiration, and the David Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain certainly came up trumps when I visited recently. I have long been a fan of his work and knew I would enjoy it but it far surpassed my expectations. It is one of the best retrospective shows I have ever seen and provides a wealth of inspiration for young and old alike. The shows walks us thorough Hockney’s career to date and in doing this demonstrates how the artist has developed over the years and how, even now, he is experimenting and trying new techniques. I think that is is a great message for any child interested in art. Learning to paint or draw is by no means a finite process. It is something that is constantly evolving; the key is not to be scared to try something new and to look for subject matter to which you have a personal connection.
Children will love the huge landscapes and this is certainly something that can provide a starting point for their own art. They will be interested to see how these paintings started their journey as charcoal sketches before becoming vast, colourful works. They will also love the ipad part of the exhibition which allows visitors to see how Hockney created his most recent work, step by step. Usually I would advise avoiding the shop when gallery visiting with children but in this case I would make as exception as there is a fabulous children’s activity book available which is full of inspirational activities based on the work in the exhibition. It covers all of Hockney’s themes from creating photo montages to thinking about the link between colours and emotions. My children have really enjoyed working through this and we now have a very ‘interesting’ photo montage of a pet guinea pig as a result! (A good example of a personal connection, albeit not necessarily what I would have chosen for my wall!)
The exhibition is open until 29th May.