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The
Yosemite Suite

Comprising digital landscapes, sketched en plein air with an iPad, David Hockney's 2010 The Yosemite Suite presents the Californian National Park in over 20 sublime prints. Riotously sunny, and dominated by the greens of native woodland, the series recalls Hockney's paintings from the '90s, but are significant as groundbreaking contributions to making digital methods accepted in the art world.

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Meaning & Analysis

Comprised of groundbreaking ipad landscape works, The Yosemite Suite series show Hockney once again revolutionising printing methods. Having already experimented with lithography, etching and screen printing, he now turned to the digital to achieve his characteristically striking compositions in bold colours.

That same year Hockney took his iPad to Yosemite National Park in California and proceeded to ‘paint’ 24 views of this majestic valley using the Brushes app. The ease of using a digital medium allowed him to work en plein air just like artists such as Monet and Turner whom he admired. Before he would have had to use watercolour or pen and ink to make preparatory sketches before transferring the work to an etching plate or lithographic stone but with the iPad he could work directly onto the screen, picking and choosing from hundreds of shades of colour and thicknesses of brush without ever getting his hands dirty. And here colour abounds. The works recall his paintings and prints from the ’90s with their bold clashing tones – at their most extreme the prints depict bright pink roads, as in Untitled No.4, electric blue shadows and acid green trees. Elsewhere the colours are toned down and the contrasts subtly blended, as with Untitled No.20 and Untitled No.15.

Despite the flatness of the digital medium, Hockney manages to incorporate depth and texture into the natural landscape he is depicting, with sponge-like brush effects in Untitled No.10 and Untitled No.11 which sees him painting trees in a naturalistic style. Elsewhere the digital nature of these prints is enhanced with crude rounded lines that deliberately recall digital drawing tools, as in Untitled No.16 and Untitled No.24.

10 Facts About David Hockney's The Yosemite Suite

The Yosemite Suite 12 by David Hockney

The Yosemite Suite 12 © David Hockney 2010

1. The series depicts the natural beauty of the Yosemite National Park in California.

Hockney moved from London to Los Angeles in 1964, and produced some of his most vividly striking works during his occupancy here. The Yosemite Suite speaks to his enduring attachment to California, as he renders the national park in lively colour with a strong sense of familiarity.

The Yosemite Suite 23 by David Hockney

The Yosemite Suite 23 © David Hockney 2010

2. The Yosemite Suite was created with an iPad.

The Yosemite Suite was made the year the first iPad was released. Hockney had been using his iPhone to draw, and graduated to the iPad to use its larger surface area and draw en plein air. Using the new technology, Hockney emulated his iconic style, depicting the national park in his distinctive and vibrant palette. Hockney himself remarked: "I just happen to be an artist who uses the iPad, I'm not an iPad artist. It's just a medium. But I am aware of the revolutionary aspects of it, and its implications."

The Yosemite Suite 21 by David Hockney

The Yosemite Suite 21 © David Hockney 2010

3. Hockney is an artists known for his love of nature.

Across Hockney's life-spanning body of work, he has always depicted landscapes with an unparalleled joyousness. As the artist himself said, "We can only replenish ourselves by looking at nature." With his application of bold and vibrant colour, The Yosemite Suite reveals the restorative power of nature.

Pool Made With Paper And Blue Ink For Book by David Hockney

Pool Made With Paper And Blue Ink For Book © David Hockney 1980