My task for the week was to demonstrate, via  exploratory mark making, some of the magnificent textural qualities within the work of David Hockney’s ‘Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio’

I thought it prudent to begin the search for specific details within my designated/chosen piece. I wanted to immerse myself within the colours, shapes, forms, patterns and textures of this vibrant and expressive artwork. For me, the most important initial step to creating a fresh and interpretive body of new ideas, comes from the research into the chosen artist; what drives him to create such vivid and colourful pieces?

Hockney was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1937, and is credited as an important contributor to the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Born with synesthesia, he sees synesthetic colours in response to musical stimulus, which in turn often influences his work, resulting in the bright and vibrant colours synonymously linked to his style of art. The lush and incredible light of California influenced him to take up residence there, where he still maintains a home and studio. Most of his work within the 70s onwards, was based on the observations of his surrounding neighbourhood.

On a personal level, I wanted to strip back the details within the piece to it’s basic components: LINE, PATTERN, TEXTURE, COLOUR. What makes the linear aspects of this piece so intriguing? The bold linear statements segment specific areas, making the viewer constantly move their eyes over every area of the painting. The pattern is cohesive, making the overall feel of the painting a s one. There are so many textural qualities within this piece; a feast for the senses, never inspiring a dull moment when viewed for a duration of time. The colour demonstrates the potency of sunshine and the amalgamation of natural and urban stimuli.

How would I go about interpreting this painting in my own distinctive way?

I began with some simple Lino cut prints, photo montage (taken from my drawing of a Matthew Smith painting ‘APPLES’) and cropping direct abstract oil pastel studies onto paper.

Yes, I know that this is not a Hockney artwork, but the colours used are strikingly similar. To avoid direct interpretation, I chose to deconstruct, then reconstruct the photographs; creating a new and interpretive pattern using the colour palette of Hockney. I decided again to crop and manipulate these images even further, as to demonstrate the expressive marks obvious within the painting.

What did I learn? Explore the juxtaposition of these colour mark making studies; if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Colours can be manipulated in Photoshop!! There is no such thing as a failed piece, only it has not reached it’s full potential just yet.

The next idea? How could I create the illusion of light on paper/fabric? Creating two new, and utilising one old Lino cut I had previously made, but never made use of, I applied acrylic paint (red) to one set and a water based relief printing ink (teal/black) on the other. The acrylic study was not too successful, due to the weak prints created onto the paper. However, the water based relief printing ink created a far bolder and more purposeful image. The white marks left by the indentations on the printing plate/Lino cut demonstrate both the marks made by Hockney, and the idea of light illuminating my chosen sample idea for my project.


25 minute abstract observational study using linear strokes; mark-making  with Oil pastel. Using the linear and colour qualities of Mulholland Drive, I amalgamated both to create an interpretive pattern. Not satisfied with the finality of this study, I set out to visualise the energy contained within the painting; the need to transcribe a more fluid kineticism resulted in the image being guillotined and cropped to evoke a more dynamic and flowing structure.


Using my PhotoShop manipulator on my Mac, I turned the study 90degrees on it’s bum and enhanced the colour via the Chrome filter. The colour is superb, and completely fitting with the colour palette used by Hockney.

Exploring further the colour found within Mulholland Drive: Blue, Red, Black, Yellow, Orange. Weaving a photograph, taken of one of my random acrylic  paintings, to create the illusion of lines, pattern and structure. I find it so satisfying to use studies/photos/drawings/samples that would otherwise go to waste; hoarding certain items will always be beneficial, although I think my partner, Rob, would disagree.

Subsequently, I am now questioning how I can translate this experience into stitch/print. Furthermore, I have learned that colour will play a most vital role when choosing fabrics and thread when looking at the final piece. Going forward, I will now experiment with some observational drawing and mark-making, taking these initial studies further.

Before I went anything further, I decided to spend an afternoon analysing Mulholland Drive; what better way than to try and replicate it, obviously with my own stamp on it too.


This was a labour of love and really got me to grips with the mark-malinhg, textures, colours and composition of Hockney.

What techniques did I use?


Author: vmhtdesign

First Year Student @ Cardiff Met University, Lllandaff. BA Textile Design.

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