David Hockney has always been radical in his use of unconventional technology to make art, from the Polaroid camera and fax machines to the iPhone in 2009, iPad in 2010, and high-definition DVR more recently; the iPad, in a sense, substituted his need for sketchbooks. Hockney has said that he delights in its immediacy, which allows him to work very fast to capture the changing light and conditions of a scene. When working directly from observation, Hockney uses the Brushes application. In this way, he mimics the Impressionist technique of painting en plein air, often depicting the same subject done at a single location and varying his painting hours or times of the year. Hockney spends hours painting outdoors in all seasons and in a variety of mediums.
The large iPad prints of the monumental Yosemite Valley in California (2011) are explorations of the sublime landscape. In these and other works, Hockney reflects the idea of 18th-century philosopher and politician Edmund Burke, later clarified by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in Critique of Judgment (1790), that beauty “is connected with the form of the object,” having ”boundaries,” while the sublime “is to be found in a formless object,” represented by “boundlessness.”
The use of this tool opened up a whole range of new possibilities for art making and enabled Hockney to produce drawings in different sizes.