Artist's Forest Disappears

forest remains photo

Image by David Hockney

David Hockney, the famous British artist, has been painting landscapes of a small forest over the past year. Located near his home in Yorkshire, he found the two hundred year old copse at a crossing of two roads and set out to paint it in each of the four seasons. He depicted it in its full glory in the summer and then again in the autumn.

But when he turned up to begin work on a spring picture he discovered that it was gone. Describing it as "a massacre", all that remained was stumps and stacks of branches littered around the empty field.

inspiration for picture photo

Image by David Hockney

The forest of ancient trees had been felled as part of woodland management because of its poor condition. Due to health and safety concerns, a particularly British obsession, the woods had to go and a proper permit licence had been issued. In addition the owner is required by law to replant the woodland with a mix of different trees.

As Hockney acknowledged "I admit they had a perfect right to do this - but it seems sad. If they had pulled down a great church people would have seen and asked questions, but nobody asked about these trees. Nobody asks enough questions any more."

hockney paints summer photo

Image by David Hockney

Several letters to the Editor of the Guardian have pointed out that tree felling is part of the natural cycle of forests. The wood will be used to make things and for construction and to provide fuel and energy. Ulitmately a new wood will spring up in its place.

paintings and artist photo

Image from Daily Mail

But all is not lost, Hockney has decided that the desolate scene will be the subject of a another painting. "The piles of wood are quite beautiful in their own right, simply because wood can't help being beautiful." Guardian

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