A new blossoming: David Hockney paints Normandy

In 2018 David Hockney went to Normandy to look at the Bayeux Tapestry, which he had not seen for more than 40 years. He liked its great panoramic length and the absence of shadows. But while there he found himself seduced by the scenery of Normandy, its winding lanes and orchards of blossom trees. He decided he would like to paint the arrival of spring there, as he had in Woldgate, East Yorkshire, a decade earlier. He asked his long-standing assistant, Jean-Pierre Goncalves de Lima, known as J-P, to look into the possibility of renting a house. He was so delighted with the first one J-P showed him, La Grande

‘I think I’ve found a real paradise’: David Hockney interviewed

Spring has not been cancelled. Neither have the arts ceased to function. David Hockney’s marvellous exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery may be sadly shut, but the artist himself is firing on all cylinders. ‘I was just drawing on this thing I’m talking to you on,’ he announced when I spoke to him via FaceTime the other day. He was sitting in the sunshine outside his half-timbered farmhouse in Normandy. ‘We’re very busy here,’ Hockney explained, ‘because all the blossom is just coming out, and there’s a lot more to come. The big cherry tree looks glorious right now. Next the leaves will open, but at the moment the blossom