Roses at Beduer

‘Ronsard Roses at Beduer’
30 x 40cm (approx 12 x 16 inches).
© adam cope

Painted at Chateau de Beduer as a demonstation whilst teaching at Chateaux Painting Holidays, France . This old fashion rose is named after the French Renaissance poet Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose

A Cassandre

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu ceste vesprée
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.

Las ! voyez comme en peu d’espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautez laissé cheoir !
Ô vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !

Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme à ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté.

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)


Plum Blossom

‘Pruniers 4’
Oil on MDF panel
30 x 40cm (approx 12 x 16 inches).
© The Artist.
300 €uros via PayPal – see sidebar for details

Plum Blossom

The recent sunny weather broke yesterday evening with a grey rainfront edging in from the Atlantic.These two plum trees were the last in the orchard to bloom; all the rest are now in leaf. These two face west, towards the Atlantic, from whence two fearful storms have come these last ten years, ‘La Grande Tempete, 27 Dec 1999’ et ‘Tempete Klaus, 24 Jan 2009’. Many of the trees on the west side have been storm damaged. Gaps in the orchard. These two, however, still resist. Two survivors. Two black, ripped-up, old prune trees. The white blossom of youth makes a great contrast that gives me hope.

Black trunks, white blossom.

Watercolour of Tea Roses

‘Tea Roses – Chateau de Beduer’
28 x 38cm (15 x 11 inches).
© The Artist.
The above painting was a demonstration piece ‘how to paint flowers loosely’ done for the benefit of students on my Watercolour Painting Holidays.
Even if you just simply experience for the first time the act of painting flowers… It’s  is an absolute delight, then some very essential learning has been achieved…

student of painting at Chateaux Painting Holidays, France


Quater imperial. 28 X 38 cm. Arches Rough 300 gms
© The Artist.


There’s a fete going on the vines. Last week before the sauvignon is vendanged.

Botanical design, not botanical drawing.

Sunflowers III

‘Sunflowers III’
24 x 32 cm.
Watercolour. Lana 220GMS
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

Sunflowers – the Last of The Stragglers

‘Last of The Stragglers’
50 x 41 cm
watercolour. Arches 180 GMS.
© The Artist.
I’ve been watching a field of late flowering sunflowers. Normally all the sunflowers are harvested by the end of July, and then afterwards, sometimes there might be a random second flowering of the self-sown seeds scatttered here or there. I call this type of sunflower a ‘straggler’. These stragglers are more like a rudbeckia than the comtempory agricultural sunflower (which may well have cause Vincent a problem or two if he were to try & fit ‘Twelve Sunflowers in a Vase’ such in the National Gallery, London…). They have a much smaller head of seeds, their petals are more beserk & wind blown and best of all are their long, star-fish like sepals. Yes the sepals of these stragglers are really something. What’s more, they do not have one large flower head but several smaller ones, gourmands that grow on sub-branches from the central stem.
Anyway, this year, with the cold rainy July & August, the sunflowers have been rotten. My farmer-friend had to plough a whole field back in the beginning of June, because of the wet spring, which brought on massive attack of slugs who ate the seeds.

I rounded up these stragglers on a late, wet day in september, the brave last trumpets of summer. How could I not have a soft spot for them, me who went to live in the land of the sunflowers?

32 x 24 cm

‘Sol en Victus’
Oil on Canvas
100 cm x 60 cm
Copyright – Tous Droits Reservés
Vincent Van Gogh
Destroyed by Fire in World War II, Japan
It’s a kind of painting that rather changes in character, and takes on a richness the longer you look at it (are you paying attention , you who bounce out of this site in less than ten seconds?).
Besides, you know, Gauguin likes them extraordinarily. He said to me among other things, ” that…it’s… the flower. You know that the peony is is Jeannin’s, the hollyhock belongs to Quost, but the sunflower is somewhat mine. – Van Gogh, Letter to Theo, Arles, Jan 23 1889
‘Van Gogh painting Sunflowers’

Vincent again … still bright sunflowers

I’m painting sunflowers again, after a lapse of ten years. I do love them, their bright glad happy faces. Heraldic of the South & of rustic, peasant culture (actually, here in the Dordogne, in a chateau, there’s a Renaissance ‘meditation’ painted cabinet, which has a startling sixteenth century image of a classical god with a sunflower as a head. So there was a time when sunflowers did indeed have another signification than the current post-Van Gogh icongraphy).

So, of course, it’s Vincent again.

I’m happy with that, as I feel OK with his influence.

But who really owns subject matter?

I remember ten years ago, I was living in a house which was surrounded on three sides by vast fields of sunflowers. I was painting for a show in The Richmond Hill Gallery, London. I’d come from an intensely urban, inner city life in Bristol, groovy, comtemporary & hip. Northern European. Not Southern. I was adapting to my new life in SW France. At the time, I part of me felt it was naff to paint flowers. Clichés. Painted so many times as to provoke blindness. That Blindness call ART or just another picture. Done to death in the amateur painting circles.

Vincent writes above about the sunflowers are ‘his’. And of course they are. To paint sunflowers is to be compared with Vincent. And that’s OK.

Funnily enough at the same time, across the fields of sunflowers, there lived another English painter. Peter Morrell, a retired Lecturer of Painting from St Martins School of Art, London. He had many years of disciplined painting under his belt & influenced me somewhat at the time. I was then painting alot of still-lives. Flowers. Fruits. Market day succulence. Mostly peaches & apricots & plums & pears. After a few visits to my studio, he then started to paint peaches & apricots & plums & pears as well (previously he had made something of a reputation amongst fellow artists in London for his black bananas, as they’d blacken before he’d finished painting them).

One day he came into my studio & said “You know Adam, nobody owns a subject matter.” And of course he was right. Something when painted often enough by many painters becomes a genre. It develops a ‘cannon’, interpretations, variations on a theme. And lesser painters will always be compared to greater painters. And the first to do it is not necessarily the painter to get the credit either. Nor is the painter who is associated with a certain subject matter necessarily the painter who does it the best.

Fear of influence? Phlagarism? Pastiche?

Ten years on, and I’m painting sunflowers again (see next posting: Sunflowers – The Last of The Stragglers).

Adam Cope

Adam Cope

Adam Cope

post script 2013 :


‘a perfect beauty’
25 x32 cm
© adam cope 2012


‘Daffodils, Vernal Equinox’
25 x 30 cm. Oil on Panel. SOLD

I’ve been watching these daffs from over the top of the computer, outside my studio window, & frequently wondering just when I can finally get outside (& play – not unlike how I felt at school too). This year, I didn’t miss to do so. Vernal equinox, green fuse.
BTW, the daff is Narcissus ‘Binkie’.

Norman Adams( ex Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools)

Whilst tracing genealogies, I’m happy to mention my painting tutor at Newcastle University Art School, Norman Adams( ex Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools), who loved daffs too. He was a great English artist. Here’s one of his watercolours.

Toutus Albus #2

Toutus Albus #2

25 x 24 cm. Oil on Board.

White on white. Beautiful spring. Brilliant light. not actually a 30 x 40 oil….

Toutus Albus #1

Toutus Albus #1

Oil on Board. Framed. 1998.

sold .. commssion another ? commissions of this subject undertook

©adam cope

totus albas is a variety of daffodils