David Hockney has spent the last six decades deftly capturing everyday moments, and some of my favorites are his living rooms. Colors pop, zigzag and swirl, but the scene is never overwhelming. In fact, the longer I look at a Hockney living room, the chiller my mood. Staring at one of these pieces forces me to turn off the bit of my brain that has been buzzing nonstop for over a year—momentarily quieting my mind, and making it all the more pleasing to find the little details he’s left behind. Take Interior with Lamp, 2003:
It’s essentially the Where’s Waldo: The Land of Waldos puzzle, and your eye hits a jackpot at every turn. To start, I count five lamps in one room, a.k.a my “Meg Ryan’s apartment in a ‘90s romcom” dream. Four pots sit bursting with flowers, while one rests on the center table, two purple tulips delicately placed inside. Books abound on high shelves and low shelves, and are also scattered about in a way that helps the room seem fully realized. Patterns clash, which could read as Very Loud, but hasn’t stopped me from wanting to curl up on that couch and flip through a magazine as I doze off.
The cherries atop this watercolor cake are Red Chair, April 1986 hung over the fireplace, and Man Looking for his Glasses, April 1986 above the chest of drawers. The first time I noticed them, I gasped and whispered “c’mon now” very quietly. Miniatures generally delight me, but scattered like Easter eggs throughout a painting? It’s a party. Hockney is having a great time here, and it shines through in every single stroke.
Now, have a go. Allow yourself a little time, and lean into the colors, shapes, and angles. See what you find:
Large Interior, Los Angeles, 1988
Pembroke Studio Interior, 1984
Hollywood Hills House, 1981-2
Living Room Interior with Terrace, 1985
Montcalm Interior with Two Dogs, 1988
Beach House by Day, 1990