He was dazzled by Los Angeles, and it's when he came to L.A., in the 1960's, that his work came alive. He must have been blindsided by the Technicolor of my hometown, coming from grey and dreary England, and it shows.
He painted bold color with a passion and he began painting in Acrylic, which is the best medium for his bright, flat color.
His paintings are all on a grand scale. He spent some time in Colorado, and painted the open sky vistas with Indian iconography.
He was part of a large and creative British ex-pat community. He was also early to come out and depict Gay life. Two men shower together in one painting, there is a semi-nude in another.
His portraits are like freeze frames. Stolen moments in time, in which a look reveals psychological underpinnings. In this, Hockney reminds me of Alice Neel. As important as the face, is the body language of the subject. This is particularly stunning in his portrait of the famous English couple, Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (to read how much these two were revered in the Gay community, read Armistead Maupin's reminiscence in his recent memoir, LOGICAL FAMILY).
When I was an art student, we were given a common enough assignment. Find a famous painting and copy it. I copied Hockney's , MT. FUJI AND FLOWERS (Acrylic, 1972). I loved its grace and simplicity. I copied it from a postcard, which meant I missed the delicacy with which he treated the petals, and his special effects with water. What a thrill to see that painting in all its elegance in person.