‘Dordogne Marchande, Lalinde’ photograph by Adam Cope

I used to have a good digital camera & used to photograph ‘en plein air’ whilst painting. Here’s a snap I took whilst painting ‘Reedbeds at Lalinde’ (see a few post previously). It was a Minolta Dimage A1, which I had a for a brief couple of years, before the internal processor stop processing. Last week, after a six month wait, I was finally reimbursed for this manufacturor default.

Anyway, I’m now reimbursed for the totality of the buying price (no ‘jouaissance’ however). Sony Minolta have stopped making cameras (I’ve always had a minolta) & now am looking for a new camera. I need lots of photos for my ‘learning to paint’ book that I’ve been working on during these last five years. Watch this space.

Photographs by Francis Annet

Photo : Francis Annet . Tous Droits Reservés. Copyright : Francis Annet

During ‘Le 3eme Festival Flore Faune’ I exhibited alongsides Francis Annet, a photographer whose work I greatly enjoy. I feel his photos or ‘cliches’ as they are sometimes called in french, go beyond the ‘happy snaps’ (or ‘cliches’ as they are known in english) of ‘THE VIEW’ but rather contain a strong personal vision of Perigord. He’s spent a long time looking, selecting & composing with his camera. ‘En plein air’ on the spot alot of the time, I would imagaine. It’s always something of a pleasurable shock for me to recognise in the works of another artist, something of same landscape which I also paint & have grown to love. To discover the landscape through paintings or photographs…. a journey that requires that you always dig deeper….. this is why I could never been an non-figurative artist. Having said that, Francis has a very strong sense of the abstract in his compositions.
His photos are wonderfully printed up, about 30 x 40 cm & mounted on metal. They have wonderful precise defintion, being all digital rather than silver halide. Good ‘bokeh’ as well (deliberate use of unfocus blur). He has also published a fabulous book about trees as well as another about landscapes of the Dordogne. You can see more of his work at http://www.perigord.com/francis.annet/

He photographs the colours of light so well, often how the light plays with humidity in the air (which is otherwise invisible, only visible in certain lighting). I’ve often been driven to complete despair & utter defeat whilst trying to paint this. Whilst talking to Francis, something he said stuck in my mind, about light not being captured’ but rather light in a photograph ‘se merite’ (literally ‘deserves itself’, in the sense that it comes to you, something you learn to see). What makes a good photograph doesn’t necessarily make a good painting. But what is true to both painting & photography is that beautiful subject matter doesn’t necessarily make a beautiful painting/photograph (just look at all the dreadful & banal postcards!). That’s in the eye of the artist.

Photo : Francis Annet . Tous Droits Reservés. Copyright : Francis Annet


«Je suis resté trés intuitif» dit-il quand il parle de son travail. «c¹est souvent avec les thèmes les plus simples que je réussi mes meilleurs clichés. Dans un paysage, j¹aime tout particulièrement rechercher les lignes d¹équilibre, recadrer sur un sujet plus petit mais plus fort graphiquement, recréer une image à l¹intérieur d¹une autre et mettre ainsi en valeur un morceau choisi de la nature qui ne se révèle pas au premier regard. La lumière, certainement le facteur le plus important pour réussir une bonne photo, révèle le sujet, lui donne vie, relief, volume, elle réhausse les couleurs, souligne les courbes, crée des transparences, elle est mon premier instrument de photographie. J¹aime aussi l¹abstraction et partir du concret pour réaliser une photo qui nous entraîne loin du point de départ, qui stimule l¹imagination. C¹est en cela que ma démarche peut se rapprocher de celle d¹un peintre et que certaines de mes créations ressemblent à des tableaux.» Francis Annet



‘Le Cingle de Tremolat’ 2003

‘Le Cingle de Tremolat’
Huile sur Toile
© Adam Cope
Grand Format approx 150 x 100 cm

painting, photography & postcards/plein air.

Carrying on with this rambling musing about painting, photography & postcards/plein air….Describing something of the process by which I arrived at this (popular) oil painting might be of interest… or not (deafening silence on the internet ,thanks for your comments!). Personally I like to see ‘work in progress’ , especially that which follows something of a turning, twisting path, where the end is not forseen, where one feels one’s way, sometimes in the dark.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand & views from the sky

I painted this in the studio one wet, dark, long rainy winter. Not a plein air piece as it’s a view from the sky… couldn’t convince the microlite to stay still long enough! Yann Arthus-Bertrand fever had struck France; even my cheque book from ‘La Poste’ had his photographs of ariel views of landscapes. They frequently resemble ‘cadastres’ (territory maps of plots of land ) rather than pretty postcard views. I painted this from a postcard, an ariel view of this famous meander. But first I seriously ‘doctored’ it in Photoshop before painting it in this large format studio painting.

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with these little images or ‘cliches’ called postcards, part fascination, part desire to deconstruct, part desire to find the same view in the real world… This wasn’t the first time, as I had already spent another winter painting postcards wayback in the early 1990’s with my ‘Postcards from Babylon’ series of 24 minature oil paintings, the size of tiny postcards 15 X 10 cm.

‘Postcards from Babylon’ 24 miniature-sized ‘postcards’ 10 x 15 cm (with accompanying animation VHS, with thanks to ‘Picture This’ animations, South West Arts Council award) . Oil on Panel. 1992 © adam cope

The colour scheme for ‘Tremolat’ has a night-time feel to it, or maybe a like a shaft of light breaking through in a storm or something – ‘Quand le Diable marit ses filles’ (when the Devil marries his daughters) as they say in these ‘ere parts, referring to a mix of sun, humidity & rain. I did this study from imagination & memory, and in fact even imagination & memory act in the the large painting as well. A sculptor friend of mine remarked on the exaggerated perspective in the river bends & the way the bottom bank of the river is ‘lost’. I did this consciously & deliberately to exaggerate the swelling … during this time my wife was pregnant. Art historians occasionally remark on how the personal & private (I like to keep it private though I do always seem to be making an exhibition of myself) lives of artists effect on their paintings, such as Constable & the death of his wife in his ‘Hadleigh Castle’ for instance.

‘Treamolat, Étude’ Huile sur Toile 33 x 41 cm. 2003. © adam cope

Elvis & Gang

‘Elvis & Gang’
36 x 48 cm (8F).
Oil on Canvas.
© The Artist.

Say you’re a codfish! – Peter Pan



Mr Jingling & Friends

‘Mr Jingling & Friends’
33 x 41 cm.
Oil on Panel
.© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. –Pericles


Doubt if it was actually Pericles but i do like it. Internet quotes aren’t too reliable.

We all woven into the web of each other’s lives. My little family … we ride together. Mr Jiggling bring us much joy.