Three Acrylic Plein-Air Paintings

donjon, chateau de beduer, plein air acrylic

‘Donjon, Chateau de Beduer’ Acrylic. 65 x50 cm

msty day Beduer, acrylic painting

‘Misty Day in the Park of Chateu de Beduer’ – Demonstration painting on a painting course at Beduer with Adam Cope . Acrylic 40 x50 cm.

And this acrylic of a house in sunshine, not a demonstration painting:


‘House in the Lot & Garonne’ Acrylic. 50 x40 cm. Adam Cope

Chateaux Painting Holidays Newsletter 2011

A warm Bonjour to everyone from us at CHATEAUX PAINTING HOLIDAYS 🙂
I hope you are not surprised to get this newsletter! Maybe it will give something to smile about once or twice a year. It contains a few tips to help your own personal painting practice as well as news of us. You email will never be shared with a third party so it’s spam-free.


There was a good spread of different types of painters, from all over the world, a charming mix of people, who got on well & enjoyed holidaying together. A great bunch of returning painters from Ireland made us all laugh & smile with their grace & wit 🙂

On a painting holiday, you should expect to have:

– a good holiday (good food, good wine, good company, good accommodation, good welcome, good price).
– a good venue (inspiring, beautiful, calm, unique, interesting, somewhere more than a converted barn where you have to clamber in & out of mini-buses to go painting).
– good painting (your practical needs are seen to see ie equipment, atelier, materials, subject matter, clearly defined learning goals to each learning exercise & more subtly, a tutor who doesn’t get in the way of your painting 😉
– good learning (bring your open ‘beginner’s mind’ as well as choose a good art tutor!)

As you all know, I only give gold stars for learning & not for ‘good paintings’. Here’s two 2011 gold stars from amongst many. Please don’t feel disappointed if I don’t mention you here. I can’t mention everybody, except to say that there were no memorial failures & that everyone worked surprising hard (this surprise me every year). Everybody got a gold star. Remember yours because is not flippant.

One gold star goes to this absolute beginner for truly embracing the ‘foliage challenge’. Remember for an absolute beginner, even holding a brush in one’s hand feels strange. We all have felt & will continue to feel the fear & hesitancy which is characteristic of the untrained hand.

“This was our first painting holiday and we did not know how it would turn out. The group were wonderful and there was a very pleasant chemistry among all the participants. The number of persons who had attended previous years and were there for their third or fourth time speaks for itself. Adam, I would also like to thank you for the keen interest you took in our tuition. The Chateau and grounds are wonderful and thank you Sue for looking after us.”

And another gold star to this beginner to alla-prima (one session only) landscape painting in oil. This was a hard won battle, risking tears & moving into the humbling ‘not-knowing’ at the heart of every learning leap. It’s colorist, done on the spot but without giving up her notion of what a good painting should look like. We all have ideas of how we would like to paint & this leads us to the delicate & complex problem that copying what you see isn’t making art.”Art is not what you see but what you make others see” – Degas

Both paintings have a breath of sunlight & joy, which I enjoy very much.


To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make the soul grow. So do it.  ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good. ~ Cennini, circa 1400 ad.

Practice makes perfect…it’s obvious that the more you do something, the better you get at doing it. The steps along the way are gradual & incremental. They should add up to make a solid base for your painting. But… there’s the common problem of why don’t we find the time to paint? How does one find time to paint in a busy life? How can we arrange our lives so there’s time for our painting practice?

Part of the answer to this wide-spread problem is enjoyment. I find once I get started again, the enjoyment soon comes. A good practice should be enjoyable, despite of the challenges. I will tell you a secret : the best way to paint is to enjoy it. Make it something you look forward to. You are treating yourself to especial time of creativity & enquiry. Enjoy touching your materials, the feel of paint spreading out into water, the slide of a graphite pencil over the fibres of the page.

Good work is enjoyed work  – Ruskin

Personally I find that painting ‘en plein-air’ feeds my soul. There is nothing better than being out there. I enjoy these pleasurable sensations, such as light, colour, being outside, looking at a beautiful corner of the world…


Sometimes however one’s practice might be in a slump or a down-turn. Maybe then is the time for an inspirational boost! Input from an other source. A short but intense period of practice. Maybe a change of scene? A change of habit? Try something new? Go to another landscape? Or return to that special place where you were once happy? Expose yourself to another teacher? Or go back to a teacher with whom one had good contact? Deepen the learning which was touched on? Consolidate those discoveries which were not fully integrated into one’s natural way of painting?

Sometimes… in a beautiful place, in the sunshine, on holiday, with no distractions, no worries, with good company & good teaching, it all just seems to flow. Then the practice becomes easy. It is our aim to provide this for you at Beduer.


The chefs are cooking up more delights & winning even more medals for their charcuterie!

Le Château de Beduer is everything you would expect from ‘la france douce’, a certain ‘douceur de vivre’ , a generousity & an ‘insouciance’. Calm, quiet & beautiful, with the patina & confidence of age old history.

2011 was an exceptionally sunny year. Month after month of blue skies. Incredible amount of sun soaked sunlight… one the many things that makes the South West of France a painter’s paradise.

One of my personal favourite times of the day at Beduer are the early mornings, between 7,30 and 9,30, when the light casts long,low shadows and enters the lime grove with a gold-green splendour. The hills shimmering in the early morning mists … “blue horse of morning”…. “Tous les matins du monde” … with freshness of the new day, hope for what the day will bring.



‘Lime Orchard at Beduer, Early Morning’
watercolour 28 x 38 cm (approx 15 x 11 inches)

Plein-air, colour, light, deep nature, local distinctiveness, south west france in oils & watercolor. A love of gesture drawing, especially of children, musicians & market places…. Read on Adam’s blog or more frequenting posting on Face Book (Adam Cope).

I still aspire to learning more about painting…. Tip: Letting go of being an expert enables you to keep learning. Also, be ready to learn from others. I recently met one of the world’s greatest watercolorists,Jean-Louis Morelle, at an opening night of his wonderful paintings. In the space of ten minutes of listening to him, & looking at his paintings, I learnt more than several years of looking at art on the internet…

I exhibited during July in the somewhat surreal, strange but authentic medieval town of Marcilhac-sur-Célé. I’m a member of an association of artists who have a gallery in the abbey, run by the incredible, somewhat unbelievable Peter Reusellemann. Peter loves print-making & has a print-making studio. In 1996, I was invited to be an artist in residence involving stone lithography. The exchange of ideas, mutual support & feedback was great. The conversations good; the inspiration great. Friendship & comrade are a precious & enriching part of being an artist. Every artist needs these, even professionals. Ii’s good to work alone in a solitary manner but it’s also good to receive feedback & clarification from others. To practice together. A good painting workshops should provide you with this.

If you wish to see some other artists of this association :
Gillian Golding , a print-maker, regular of the UK Royal Academy’s summer show, truly unique humorist and cats & dogs lover.
Darwin’s Garden (archival ink printed on archival matt paper) Size 73cm x 57cm

– Beatrice Mollaret , a photographer whose very beautiful images of South West France are used by National Geographic, etc.

I also exhibited in Sarlat, Bergerac and yet another UNESCO site, the abbey of St Avit de Séniuer, where we run an artist-association Gallery.



Sue says bonjour to everyone. She will be there for 2012. She overcame her reticence to be photographed & mentioned on the web site About us
Without Sue, it would be impossible… A painting holiday requires attention to detail as well as a smile & a laugh.

 A painting holiday which glides effortlessly forward like a swan always means that somebody is doing masses of work out of sight to help things run smoothly!  – Katherine Tyrrell.


Life’s a beach… and it’s all beach holidays for us 🙂 Happy days. Val is quickly developing a real passion for drawing as well. It’s a great honor to observe the unfolding of a creative pursuit in its very early phase.


TROUBLE-FREE TRAVEL FOR ALKYDS, OIL PAINTS & ACRYLICS : We offer the possibility of renting at cost-price a complete set of student quality paints : alkyds or oils or acrylics. So you can simply fly with no luggage worries! Just bring your own brushes & canvas boards or canvas paper. We supply everything else. We teach you to paint in a way so that your paintings are dry enough easily travel home with you. We pack them professionally for you.

I thought this would be a good idea, as most painting holidays don’t do much to provide for the alkyds, acrylics & oils…. the opaque mediums which are heavy to travel with (slipped discs) & are not easy to bring onto an airplane (see my materials list for helpful info on this).


PRICEs FOR 2012 : 900 euros per painter – 50 euros prix de fidelity = 850 euros, making us one of the cheapest painting holidays in france, especially as we are 8 days, 7 nights and not the usual 7 days, 6 nights. We haven’t put our prices up since 2009.

NEW : GROUP BOOKINGS , why not bring all your art group?!
For four or more painters, a 50 euro reduction per painter.
For a group of six, seventh painter at half price.


This airport is about one hour from Beduer. We pick up & drop off on the fridays at 60 euros per per journey, which is divisible amo,gst the number of passengers.
The times of the friday flights friendly with our course start time of sat 16 hr.

We pick up & drop off on the friday flights.




I’ve been toying with the idea of organizing a ‘winter-sun’ painting holiday, some time around march at the end of winter, somewhere sunny like Morocco. I’ve been recommended a old Rihiad near the desert with great painting possibilities… ruins, red sand, oasis, swimming pools… Please help me by indicating whether you might be interested int this as an idea, whether I should go ahead & organize it? I would appreciate any feedback, even negative . Thanks 🙂

Wishing you a happy, healthy and creative 2012 from all of us at Chateaux Painting Holidays
Paint well.
Best Wishes from Adam, Marie-Line & Sue

‘Gateway, Chateau de Beduer – contrajour’
30 x 40cm (approx 11 x 15 inches).
© The Artist
‘Gateway, Chateau de Beduer – sunlit from behind’
30 x 40cm (approx 11 x 15 inches).
© The Artist.Same gate, different lighting. Not just a cloudy vs. sunny day but the light in front of you as opposed to the light coming from behind. Good exercise!

These two watercolours were demonstrations from Chateaux Painting Holidays, France 2010 & 2011. I talk about demonstrations & art teaching here. Therees also some Youtube short demos to see there too. Enjoy 🙂

Great two weeks of painting holidays at Chateau de Beduer, sw France

great venue

“Many, many thanks to you and to Sue and Marie-Line for setting up and running such an enjoyable holiday. We both had a great time. Both groups were fun if not a little different. With your help and enthusiasm I felt the painting was a great success and I am sure that we made some progress. Beduer really is a magical place.” Chris, UK. June 2009.

great painting

great learning


“I had such a good time on your course , I wasn’t sure how I would feel about doing art again, since I had decided to abandon it for the most part. Still, I had not anticipated the power of persuasion that the location, good people(the back-up team), but most of all your very intuitive methods of tuition had on me. I do really appreciate too all the tremendous hard work and enthusiasm you and the mighty Sue(what a mum!),must have put into this project to make it run so smoothly.” Nerina, Ireland. June 2009

great enquiring & listening


finally Sue our faithful assistant (hospitality, help with food & wine & informal teaching) accepted to be photographed!

“Thank you both so much, Adam & Suzanne, for a wonderful week. Your energy & commitment to ensuring we all had a superb time was tremendous. I have joined a little art group here & was asked what I learnet from France – & I think it was to look & to see – thank you Adam for that & also for the experience of seeing the prehistoric cave of Pech Merle. How wonderful. ” Joan, Australia. June 2009.

great food & wine

great fun & great people !

“We had a truly five star holiday; thank you all for making it so. I loved both weeks worth of other guests and they were so different.” Joy, UK. June 2009

more to come in part two

Happy to report that bookings are already good for next year 🙂

Eager Students of the Art

From a recent week Chateaux Painting Holiday, France

Less Eager, Sue Cope the assistant 😉

Chris Sharland

Chris Sharland


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)


major website update 2008

I’ve been going boggled-eyed from spending days & days on the computer recently, doing a major website update. I hope you’ll find it worth a visit. Even if you’re not game for a painting course in rural France, the four-page section concerning the painting course itself is worth reading by students of painting as it does have some ‘content-rich’ reflections about the nature of learning to paint. Enjoy 🙂


up date 2013 – yes , still boogled eyed (if only I knew how much…) still updating website, still doing the google dance, still worried about attaining student uptake

‘Concert at Beduer’
Graphite pencil
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.

During the second week of the Chateaux Painting Holidays that I lead about a week ago, there was a classical concert in the chateau itself. It was a Bach evening; a celloist who played some of the solo cello pieces with beautiful sonority. And a violonist of talent, Monsiuer Oliver PONS, who interpreted the “Ciaccona” from the D flat violin Partita no.2 beautifully… & slowly. I like to listen to these pieces whilst painting anyway, & so I feel I know them fairly well. They put my brain in the right state of mind to create. The violin partita is a wild & fantastic piece I feel, a veritable firework display of the imagination.

Drawing from the balcony of Chateau de Beduer , up in the ‘gods’, the setting was ripe & conducive for a flight of imagination….

The most amazing eighteenth century Venetian Candlerabra in wrought iron weighing over a ton

the seventeenth century fireplace, fit for a lord with it’s motif, almost like something from Batman’s house…

The antique painted bems high up in the gods….

Painting Courses in France

I’m back from teaching two painting courses at the chateau de beduer.

All went well. We have over thirty percent student return-rate (as we’ve been running since 1998, it’s always nice to see familar faces & old friends), which counts for us. Nice to be able to say that we are recommended by Time Out London as well as France magazine.

Some photos from the Lot, France

Here are some photographs of the event. First, in this post, some of the setting & then in another, I’ll post some photos of the students hard at work (yes, students do tend to work hard & put in long hours!).

The Lion Gates, Entrance to Chateau de Beduer, Lot , France. This photo shows the medieval part of the chateau, dating from the Hundred Years War.

Two guardians of the seventeenth century wing.

Beautiful early morning valley mists from the specular terraces.

Lots of colourful painting opprtunities

The chateau is located in ‘le Parc Naturel des Causses de Quercy’, so nature is protected & agriculture isn’t intensive, monocultural & out-sized.

The shady lime trees in the park

happy days in a beautiful place 🙂 Lucky me, beauty is good for happines.

Painting Holiday Student Testimonial

An ex-student has recently written a testimonial about her experience on one of the Chateau Painting Holidays France which I run twice a year. You can read it here on her blog :


some photos of painting holiday students:

Steven Brookfield : ” The most important knowledge teachers need to do good work is a knowledge of how students are experiencing learning and perceiving their teacher’s actions.”

George Saville : “The vanity of teaching often tempteth a man to forget he is a blockhead.”