Walnut Trees in Winter and David Hockney

Posted on : January 16th, 2020

David Hockney, The East Yorkshire Landscape, Walnut Trees, 2006
David Hockney, The East Yorkshire Landscape, Walnut Trees, 2006
 

In winter, it sometimes seems like there is little to notice, and little to write about when it comes to nuts. But that is always when I look to famous artists—and the artist in me—for inspiration. Because there IS something I love about nut trees in winter: it’s the only time when you can plainly see the naked form of the branches as they reach out to the sky. And well-known contemporary artist David Hockney loved walnut trees in winter so much that in 2006 he painted the trees that grow where he grew up in East Yorkshire, England.

David Hockney has said: “What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.” So isn’t it interesting that he found these naked nut trees casting shadows on the walking path near where he grew up worthy of a painting? He wants you to see the light coming in from the right and how the trees slant to the left while the trees in the background hint at another scene. 

David Hockney painted many paintings of landscapes in East Yorkshire in the 2000s and in particular he liked the paths where the trees slanted in to create a canopy over the path. He called them landscape tunnels for walkers to experience when the leaves filled in. He painted the same spots in every season and from different angles. Eventually, he had exhibits filled with huge tree tunnel paintings. Everywhere the viewer looked they’d experience the feeling of life on the paths running through the trees. And that reminds me of what it is like to grow up in the orchards.

Lines of trees creating tunnels to run and play in. You could think of them as alleys or even streets and when you drive by on the highway it certainly looks like that. But the experience IN the orchards is much more than that because the trees branch overhead to form protective enclosed spaces. “Landscape tunnels” is a great way to describe them! Because you are outside but it feels like inside at the same time. It’s hard to describe—you should come out and visit the orchards some time and feel it for yourself.

But if you live too far way from an orchard you may never have a chance. That’s why we need artists to share the experiences they love with others. Hockney tells artists: “stand in the landscape you love, try and depict your feelings of space, and forget photographic vision, which is distancing us too much from the physical world.” 

Distanced too much from the physical world? Ha ha! Not a thing a farm kid can relate to, that’s for sure! But that’s why I’m sharing this with you.


Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. At Maisie Jane’s we strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. And we believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.