The painting itself was essentially completed in one breathless, three-week sprint that left Hockney’s assistant, Jean-Pierre, looking exhausted and the painter himself exhilarated. Both had grown beards; as a result Hockney slightly resembled Cézanne.
“The painting had to be done in one go. Once I started, I had to carry on until it was finished,” says Hockney.
“The deadline wasn’t the Royal Academy. The deadline was the arrival of spring, which changes things. The motif is one thing in winter, but in summer it’s one solid mass of foliage – so you can’t see inside and it’s not as interesting to me.”
From Martin Gayford’s The Bigger Picture, The Telegraph (May 2007)