4:40 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I look up and the sky is a perfect shade of intense blue, so velvety I think I could touch it. If I turn around, towards the mountains, the blue dissolves into a hazy white, fading into the rock. On the opposite side, the sky mingles with the ocean, creating a smattering of stripes, from grey to baby blue and every shade in between.
If you had to ask a resident what they love most about California, most will mention the light. I fell in love with the light immediately – the intensity of it, the pastel hues that make even the more unsightly buildings acquire character – or quirkiness. After years of eyes trained on a European light, decidedly starker, if not downright steely the farther north one travels, I was astounded. I did not expect it.
I am certainly not alone in my awe. David Hockney, who probably first saw the Californian light with English eyes, has been a lifelong fan. His Californian swimming pools, painted in the 1960s, mix modernism with the never changing brightness of the Californian light.
In 2010 and 2011, David Hockney travelled to Yosemite Valley and, in the process, captured the landscape on his iPad, using a drawing app. The use of color and layering convey the majesty of the Californian nature.
The drawings are now on show at the LA LouverGallery which, incidentally, is located a stone’s throw from Venice Beach, where it is worth going, not for the cheap junk or the dope, but for the sunset.
The Yosemite Suite was created on an iPad and transformed into large prints. Some of them were first shown at the Royal Academy in London, at the Guggenheim in Bilbao and at the de Young in San Francisco but this is the entire collection.
Royal Academy of Arts in London (July to October)
National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (November to March 2017)
Tate Britain in London (February to May 2017)