only connect

photot of phone cans & wiring


“only connect”   – e. m. forester

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
— EM Forster , Howard’s End  Chapter 22. 1910.

putting the right plug in the right hole

putting the right colour into the right junction

putting the right can into the right can

Do you like the cartoon above that i made? I  cobbled it together from a photograph I took way back long ago, when I was rewiring the phone. It was the first time that I’d ever unscrewed a phone box, as I wanted to move it… the complexity of it freaked me out! Handy thing to have a memo of something before it’s untangled & undone… putting things back together sometimes is way more difficult than taking them apart. The photo hung around for years. It always makes me laugh 🙂

poor quality internet

Nowadays in 2013, phone landlines are dying out in rural france. They’re expensive. We no longer receive horrible, slow, very expensive dial up internet connection via the phone lines. Phone lines are a spider’s  cobweb that crawl over the landscape of France & hang out of every building like some gutted extra-terrestrial. I’m sure the wires wriggle about by themselves & get in an unsightly tangle. France Telecom aka Orange  now only use grey & white wires inside the PTT cabling. Internet phones via wi-max are occassionally available chez-nous. They aren’t reliable in our neck of the woods.We don’t have an internet satellite dish & sadly still rely on dodgy, slow expensive last mile wimax. Bôf…. One of my neighbours used to put up the telephone lines in north Yorkshire all his life & has a wry regard on the tangle of tilting stilts & broken  poles that you can see in our commune.


Arnold Odermatt. Utility pole, Switzerland , 1960s

However, you will note that the principle that one wishes for remains the same: Connect can A to can B.

Connect via social media & art blogs

Connect can A to can B?


Connect some cans together & get a tangle?

Maybe, probably

Connect can A to a few other cans?

shhush, nobody wants to hear you in internet isolation…

Putting the right can into the right gathering of right cans?

This means finding the people who want to hear you & that you want to connect with.

My 15 years of internet experience has proven to me that can A can not always get to can B… without some amount of tangle 😉

Connect via Advertising & Art

Forester’s injunction to connect applies very well to art & advertising. The advertiser wishes to connect & attract your attention towards the product, the point of conversion, to buy, to adhere. Is this really any different from what the artist does? Certainly when art is overly confined to a fixed conversion , a set message as can happen in religious art or public art, it seems to me, IMO, to be not so very different from advertising. My Liberal hopes of a free mind engaged in a  free enquiry & open ended questioning… offering a space different from advertising… well, this is another debate for another post.

The point is this : only connect. People come all sorts of sizes , with all sorts of tastes & opinions. One size doesn’t fit all.  And luckily so too, as diversity is a sign of free enquiry & creativity. I no longer expect all my paintings to please all people all of the time. You can’t please everybody.  So now I’m freer simply not care too much other people’s opinions. Well, not absolutely everyone’s … as, for me as creator & seller of paintings & painting holidays, some people’s opinions are more important to me than others. There’s also the people whom I respect & hope to learn from, such as painters & teachers with more experience than me.   Of course, I struggle to keep an open mind. To listen & try to understand.  Exchanges over the years with other artists of all levels & all opinions has helped me & inspired me… as well as occassionaly depressed & bored me – being pinned against a wall whilst invigilating of my own exhibitions & being told what to paint, how to exhibit & who to try & sell to… well, thanks for the advice, lol…;-)

Connect via the Mass Mind?

It only takes one person connecting with one other person…

I am reminded by the wisdom of one of favourite quotes about communication :

There is no such thing as a Mass Mind. The Mass Audience is made up of individuals, and good advertising is written always from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.        – Fairfax Cone, of Foote Cone & Belding, quoted in John O’Toole, The Trouble with Advertising . . ., 1981, New York: Chelsea House, p. 48.

When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone… indeed.

Anyway, I’m currently speaking to myself all alone here, unconnected, so all the above is not relevant at this point in time.


Fiber Optic Network Cable


Wishing you all a great 2010. Hope you all create well this year, work hard & make real a few of your dreams.Sorry about the belated wishes. I’ve been very occupied off-line recently.

It’s been wonderful getting to know some fellow art bloggers & fellow art lovers over these last three years. Thanks for your comments & dialogue.

Quelques Hommages…

I take the pleasure of sharing with you a few images made in 2009 of ‘mes chers confréres et consœurs des bloggeurs d’art’. Please understand that this is only a personal selection & is very far from being complete, as we all know a lot of gems & jewels are forgotten, neglected & lost in the blogosphere.

Maurice Denis (1870-1943)
Hommage à Cézanne
Huile sur toile
H. 1,8 ; L. 2,4 m
© ADAGP, Paris – photo RMN, Hervé Lewandowski

Giving homage to a fellow artist is a lovely French tradition, where the achievements & talent of an artist is celebrated by another artist. Sometimes by simply just painting a painting for that artist. Good old Maurice Denis 🙂

So here goes (in no particular order) :

Casey Klahn
The Colorist
Blue & Gray River
10″ x 14.5″
Casey Klahn 

Hommage à Casey ‘fauve’ Klahn

Don’t miss the wisdom in Casey’s writings, sound advice & above all, the beauty in his images.

Vitali Komarov


‘Sunlit Tree’
Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm, $US 200

Hommage à Vitali Komarov

Vitali seems to have gone ‘off-blog’ as a lot of exceptionally good & talented mid-career professional artists seem to do (lack of comments? lack of sales? lack of web visits? wrong idea about what art blogging is about? who knows?) … but what ever you do, do check out website.

Loriann Signori
Lorainn Signori’s A Painting A Day

‘Uncompleted Dreams’

Hommage à Loriann Signori

I have never thought of myself as an activist or environmentalist, simply as an artist who loves the outdoors. This has changed since that one day when the bulldozers and big machines arrived in “my field.

I was deeply touched to read this, as it made feel less alone. As I write the trees along the banks of ‘my’ local little river are being cut down.


Hommage à Dawdlr


“dawdlr is a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: what are you doing, you know, more generally?

answers on a postcard please to:

dawdlr, 77 beak street, london, W1F 9DB

next update may 21st, 2010″


Both strange as only “the truth” can be as well as side-splitting arty, post-modernist web-based laughter.


Fàbio Cembranelli


Two Roses…/ Duas Rosas….

Roses 88, Watercolor, 22 x 15 inches, sold.

Rosas 88, Aquarela, 56 x 38 cm, vendida.

Hommage à Fàbio
This brazilan watercolourist is just going exponential. His art is getting stronger & stronger. Beautiful watercolours…that I confess spark a twinge of jealousy in me as he works incredibly hard, restricts himself to a limited repertoire of subjects, isn’t scared of digging deep into the same subject… & has reaped the benefits of a strict regime of ‘a painting a day’. He also has that lightest of touch & finesse de précision that great watercolours require – WOW!

Cathy Gatland
a sketch in time


Talking of Walks
Sketchbook, wc & pen

Hommage à Cathy Gatland

I love checking-in to read Cathy’s posts & to enjoy her very enjoyable images. Her writing is as clear & as generous as her drawing skills. Her blog is a rich mix of place (jo’burg, SA), family, gardens (ahh, those SA gardens!) & her blogging & art journey. And what’s more she sketches – YIPPEE! Cathy has embraced art blogging with verve, daring & intelligence. What progress! Sorry Cathy if this hommage seems a little bit teacherly ‘(we painted together in France a few years back ) but really, mes sinceres hommages.

Images en Périgord


banner collage (split into two two parts)
photo boguy

Hommage à Boguy

Ohh la la! Quels images! Quel phographie!
Boguy’s photos do justice to Périgord, SW France, the same part of the world where find both findselves. I refind our landscape through his photos but as if anew & from a slightly different viewpoint. He has a vision & it’s that vision that raises his photos to ‘art status’ IMO. His photos makes me pack my kit in the car & get out painting ASAP.On the technical level, my personal favourites are where he focuses on colour plus place. He’s something of a ‘fauve’ with a delicious use of heightened colour. To prove the point, here’s one of his non-place based photos, so that you can just enjoy the beauty of his artistry without having to know Périgord (aka Dordogne).

Frousfrous d’Iris
photo boguy


Blah – I hate April Fools Day!

Galina Nikolova has kindly awarded me the PASSION FOR PAINTING AWARD. Galina is a Bulgarian painter whose sizzling works fly off the webpage. I would have gladly awarded her in return but I think it’s not allowed to hand awards back…

It’s a pretty logo isn’t it? A paint brush whose strokes are like flames or petals. Nice work Kim Ratigan. As the logo is her work, I’ve left her tag on this meme. But since itsn’t her who has awarded me, I’ve changed the wording to ‘awarded by artists’ … IMO, the wording ‘awarded by artists’ is honour enough. In fact, just being an artist is honour enough.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everybody who has commented on my blog. Sometimes, it feels pretty isolated being an artist. Your encouragement & comaradie means a lot to me. Thanks.

And so it’s with great pleasure that I award the seven art bloggers below. I enjoy following their blogs & watching their art journey unfold. I often find myself wondering what their next painting will be. Vive la passion!

Here are the rules of the PASSION FOR PAINTING AWARD:

– List 7 things your love.
– Put a link to the one who picked you.
– Choose 7 others to pass the award to.
– Notify them of the award.

Here are the 7 things I love:

my two young children, Valentin & Eleanor
my wife Marie-Line
my mother & painting holiday assistant, Suzanne
the little corners of wild nature that still exist in the countryside
sunlight, even when cloudy
colour, even when grey

(I hope our cat Khepri isn’t reading this … imagine being upstaged by colour!)

Here are the 7 artists:

Vitali Komarov
Casey Klahn
René Plein-Air
Duane Keiser
Adebanji Alade
Carol Carter
Cathy Gatland

This is the 301st posting.



The New York Times has an interesting article about ‘slow blogging’. Basically, it’s Slow Movement meets blogging.

Haste, Scorned: Blogging at a Snail’s Pace


A Slow Blog Manifesto, written in 2006 by Todd Sieling, a technology consultant from Vancouver, British Columbia, laid out the movement’s tenets. “Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy,” he wrote. “It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly.” (Nor, because of a lack of traffic, is Mr. Sieling writing this blog at all these days.) Ms. Ganley, who recently left her job as a writing instructor at Middlebury College, compares slow blogging to meditation. It’s “being quiet for a moment before you write,” she said, “and not having what you write be the first thing that comes out of your head.”


“It is an investigation into the Internet’s attention span,” Mr. Davies said by telephone.

Even Mr. Sieling, the writer of the Slow Blog Manifesto, gave up his personal blog because he felt no one was reading it. “I called it the Robinson Crusoe feeling of blogging,” he said by e-mail, “and I think it’s common.”


I discovered this via BookGirl who asked the question about how slow blogging effects arts/artist’s blogs.


BOOKGIRL : I wonder how arts/artists’ blogs fit into the discussion? Most of them, I find, are less about analysis (e.g., political blogs) and more about sharing and inspiration, and that may set them apart.


ADAM COPE : I’ve been thinking about this for the last three or so years.When I did finally take the plunge & start ‘a painting a day’ blog it was a painting a week, with the proviso: ‘FAST…SLOW…FAST.
Creativity is pretty mercurial but a blog can help discipline output by the simple fact of having a deadline. Some types of creations respond well to this. Others don’t. No matter what speed.

I greatly enjoyed this blog dawlr

It’s a good twist to the ‘postcards meets blogging’ intrigue. Slow & fine & intelligent, beyond the DAILY POTBOILER.BLOGSPOT.COM syndrome, which risks places quantity above quality & repetition above innovation. Well, that’s just my opinion, so don’t worry about it. It’s not meant to insult anyone, just clarify my own practice & expectations. Do wish that I could do some more painting than this rather slow output however 😉



Chit-chat asides, the weather has been rainy & grey this last month so not much scope for plein-air painting. Winter time here in the Dordogne can be really beautiful. Here’s one from last Feburary. Just to remind me that it can be done.

‘Landorre, Quercy Blanc’
Oil on canvas
50 x 61cm (19,7 x 24inches).
© adam cope
800 €

A very stoney place. Drystone wall to the right, a ruined drystone barn to the left and a huge mound of stones in the middle, possibly a tumbled down collapsed old sheperd’s hut (‘borie’).

A path through the high grass. Wild scrub oak & acer, furry with lichen.

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But where shall we go? And what shall we do?

Paint well Adam & enjoy yourselves Blog Readers