If you have ever wondered why David Hockney, probably this country's best loved contemporary artist, is not Sir David, well he turned down a knighthood in 1990. He also turned down the opportunity to paint the Queen, as he only likes to do portraits of people that he knows. However, there is a special award that only 24 people can ever hold at one time called the Order of Merit. Hockney's friend Lucian Freud, who died last year, was in the order and his award has now been passed on to Hockney. Read more about the honour on the Guardian and BBC websites.
Meanwhile the Royal Academy is preparing for a major exhibition of Hockney's current work, which features large scale paintings of the Yorkshire landscape. 'A Bigger Picture' opens on 21st January and goes on until 9th April 2012. Go to the RA website to see more and view a short interview with Hockney about the show.