Sent From David Hockney’s iPad

A continent away from his perennially sunny Los Angeles poolscapes of the 1960s and ’70s, the British artist David Hockney, now 85, has turned his attention to the ever-changing diurnal rhythm of the world outside his bedroom window, in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

iPhone drawing “No. 470,” June 17, 2009.Credit…David Hockney

In 2009 Hockney began “drawing” this view on his iPhone (above), with just his thumb. “There was great advantage in this medium because it’s backlit and I could draw in the dark,” he writes in MY WINDOW (Taschen, $150), a collection of 120 digital still lifes he completed between 2009 and 2011. Plus, he never had to leave his bed.

iPad drawing “No. 133,” May 28, 2010.Credit…David Hockney, 2019

The flowers on the sill get replaced every couple of days, and his color palette changes with the position of the sun. On the longest day of the year, it would rise to wake him at 4:30 a.m.

iPad drawing, “Untitled, 104,” 2010.Credit…David Hockney

In 2010, Apple released the iPad. “I immediately got one from California, probably the first one in Bridlington,” Hockney writes. The size and stylus allow for greater detail and precision, and he’s been using the device for portraits and landscapes ever since. Many other iPad drawings are collected in his limited-edition, large-format career retrospective from 2016, “A Bigger Book.”

iPad drawing “Untitled, 42,” 2010.Credit…David Hockney

Lauren Christensen is an editor at the Book Review.

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