Hodgkin paints fairly reclusively, on several paintings in parallel, most of which take years to complete. He works in an all-white studio without windows or a live model, and with few preparatory drafts:
Hodgkin admits to only being able to manage a large picture space in the past ten years or so, 'You have to keep the picture surface alive "all over", in a way that you don't with smaller paintings. You can't pretend the picture surface isn't there on a large scale'.
Hodgkin's working methods are not typical. The painting Lovers (finished in 1992) took eight years to complete. He works out many aspects of a large painting in his mind - there are few preliminary works, few props or aide-memoire. He carries with him an extensive knowledge of other artists' work. He believes that the media-dominated culture in which we live is prompting a return to the lasting values of painting. (from Calvocoressi in Howard Hodgkin, Large Paintings, 2002, 10)
More how we work.