Small children draw trees with green tops and brown trunks – for everyone knows that’s how they are. But while some of the trees that David Hockney has been painting of late in the winter mists and sunshine of his native Yorkshire (and exhibited so spectacularly this year at the Royal Academy) are indeed a pleasing shade of chestnut, others are red and grey and glowing green. So they should be. Many tree-barks are not really brown at all, and in any case, if the rain is not acid and the air is free of soot, they’ll be covered in lichen. This winter has been very sunny, and everywhere I’ve been ...


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