Vignobles, Dordogne 1

golden vines - watercolour

‘Vignobles, Dordogne 1’
28 x 38 cm (approx 11 x 15 inches).
© The Artist. sold
This autumn is particularly sunny. Blues skies, the leaves have stayed on the vines longer than usual. A winey golden glow, a haze hangs over the hills. This painting from a few weeks ago, now the leaves have mostly fallen from the vines.

Vine Paintings from France

'Côtes de Duras' oil painting of vines


‘Côtes de Duras’
Oil on MDF panel
30 x 40cm (approx 12 x 16 inches).
© The Artist.
Golden days in the autumn vines, the leaves singing in the wind. Plein air. Don’t forget to smile at the landscape when you leave, not always as evident as when you arrive.

It was windy and the leaves were shaking.

This is the 500th post on this blog (489 published, 11 drafts not yet published).

postcriptum 2013 – been editting down the blog, so this is one will no longer  number 500

Many thanks for your following. Your comments are an encouragement to me 🙂

Just blogging away… Just keep on keeping on… Just painting away 🙂

What else would I do with my hours? Hmmm, well… I really must finish off & publish my ‘How to Paint’ book.


Recently finished this re-working of a large oil which I had had my doubts about. It is now fully realised, or at least arrived at a stage where I can abandon it & move on… It hung about in storage since 2003 till I could make my mind up about it. Here is the finished painting:


la vallee de begerac depuis monbazillac - oil painting by adam cope


‘La Vallée de Bergerac depuis Monbazillac’
Oil on Canvas
81 x 65 cm (approx 32 x 28 inches)
© Adam Cope

Another large oil of the same view dating from the same period :

contemporay painting of vines by adam cope

‘Dionysus’s Patch’

Oil. 85 x 80 cm © SOLD

Gnarled Old Vine Stocks

‘Les Cornes du Diable’ – Cahors A.O.C.
50 x 31 cm
© adam cope
Fields of gnarled old wine stocks. Archaic. Tormented.
These vine stocks (‘céps’) are pruned (‘La Taille’) in the mediterrean manner, much lower to the ground than the Atlantic manner, which is the widesest spread (‘Taille Guyot’)… This way of pruning is called ‘La Taille Gobelet’. I always felt they looked demonic, like the horns of some, crazed, demented Devil.
Strong early spring sunlight. The white isn’t snow but white chalk. In the Cahors Apellation the vines sometimes grow out almost pure rock.

‘Vignoble dans le Quercy Blanc’
30 x 40 cm
Oil on Panel
© adam cope

Magazine Article & The End of Winter!

‘Lou Plantou’ Oil. 2004 61 x 50 cm ©adam cope sold
France’s leading wine magazine Terre de Vinspublished a nice article about me, a painter who paints vineyards

Souvent les gens jugent un tableau à première vue, mais come le vin, l’œuvre si elle est réussie doit permettre d’aller chercher un second goût. La phase de conception est très important car ce sont ces arrières saveurs, ces seconds arômes qu’il va falloir faire remonter  – Adam Cope, Magazine ‘Terre de Vins’ Jan/Fev2009 – lire l’article

Other news is that the wild geese have been migrating back to SW France during the last week. Flying overhead, often around evening time, their wings cutting throught the air,making a slicing whooshing sound, that makes the heart leap with joy! This is a sure sign of the end of winter. YIPEE!


If you know SW France , then you’ll love the photo-blog of my friend Boguy : IMAGES EN PERIGORD

Painting of ‘The True Vine’

‘The True Vine’
Medium Size Oil on Canvas
61 x 46 cm (approx 24 x 18 inches).
© adam cope


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and
every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring
forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide
in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and
I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can
do nothing.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is
withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they
are burned.”

John 15.1-6

Taille Slyvos
Taille de la Vigne

‘Semillion, Labadie, Monbazillac’
Large Size Oil on Canvas
81 x 65 cm (approx 26 x 32 inches)
©adam cope
Here’s the finished state. Here’s the link to its Work In Progress : Lay-in for Plein-Air Large Oil Painting.I went out the next day for a second plein-air session with a mental note ‘yellow & grey and not yellow & pink’. As you can read in the WIP blog entry …. “actually I quiet like the overcast mid-tone grey. Still the weather will dictate to me this evening”. What the note meant was to hold fast to the prior, premeditated decision – made calmly in the studio looking at the WIP – to go for a yellow & grey major colour harmony and not yellow & pink. As a sunset progresses, it generally gets pinker & pinker. If I wanted to keep to grey overcast skies as the major, with only some bands of pink as the minor, I would have to ‘fix’ or ‘stop’ in my mind’s eye the sunset at a relatively early point of its progress.

A tip for Plein-Air Painting

A tip to help this difficult plein-air trick is to consciously divide one’s painting time between sky & land. But then, the danger is that they won’t correspond correctly…. A 4pm landscape on a 6pm sky! Sometimes you have to tinker with plein-air paintings back in the studio to correct this issue.

What do you think? Does sky & land correspond correctly in my above painting?

Here’s the painting with a grey frame so as to keep true to the yellow/grey colour theme.

‘Le Cabanon’
Finished state 2008 – 2009
Large Size Oil on canvas
72 x 54cm (approx 28,5 x 21 inches).
© The Artist.
For those who aren’t familar with wine growing, the blue amongst the vines are posts. The paint is thick & impasto on this medium-sized oil. Here’s the study from a few posts ago :

Le Cabanon’
30 x 40 cm
oil on panel
©the artist

This large sized studio painting arrived at completion, after a necessary dormant phase with it’s back against the studio wall for six months or so. Out of sight, out of mind. Slow paintings, with many revisions. Not alla-prima. Not fast painting. My fresh eyes decided that the cabanon needed a complement, a companion, that it was too bare & too solitary. So I added these two popular trees. They are actually up there on the hill but not so close to the cabanon, being further away arond the corner & out of eye sight. I moved them. I added them. I ‘recomposed’ the landscape.It felt a bit naughty… as if I were not telling the ‘truth’.

Unfinished state – poor photo (bad painting as well;-)

I don’t find it that difficult to substract elements whilst painting alla-prima en plein-air. Most people do this from the start of their career, editing out telegraph poles & street furniture etc. I frequently & consciously add pictural elements such as heightening the colours as needed or putting in an accent brush-stroke here or there as the painting demands. But actually moving the physical, real elements of a landscape around, such as placing a house here where it wasn’t , lifting up & planting a tree here where it wasn’t… recomposing the landscape to make the painting work. Pretty God-like, no?

Richard Schmid has this to say about recomposition :

Q. I have heard someone quote you as saying that you never add anything to a painting that is not in your subject, nor subtract anything. I find it difficult to believe you do not use individual expression in your work. Is that quote really true?
A. No. What I did say was this: When I am painting strictly to learn, I try to capture exactly what I see, neither adding nor subtracting things or changing colors, values, drawing, etc.

But—and this is a big BUT–when I paint to create a work of art (self-expression), ANYTHING goes. I am the creator and I am in charge. I often manipulate my subject freely to produce the image I want.

I also said that Nature is perfect and does not need changing. There can be no doubt about that. However, nature itself is constantly being changed by its own natural forces, and since I am a part of nature I can choose to paint it the way I wish to. Nature couldn’t care less, it will remain perfect.

The bottom line for me is that my result must look absolutely authentic. I want my viewer to accept my picture as real.



Vines near Boisse

‘Vines near Boisse, Dordogne, France’
Medium Size Oil – Canvas.
51 x 41 cm (20 x 16 inches).
© adam cope

alla prima

This was done in one session, no corrections.. had to paint very quickly as it was my turn to pick the children up

good clouds in this medium size oil painting of vines…

The south west of France is dotted with land-mark hills, on top of which are nearly always either a chateau or a town, or maybe sometimes a windmill. This hill near Issigeac has two windmills, now without their sails.
I’ve painted this hill many times over the last ten years. Here’s an early medium size oil, when the corn is yellowed up & ready for harvest. When I painted the above this week, the farmer was harrowing in preparation to plant his winter barley & the last leaves hanging on the vines, the oaks turning bronze. Already !
‘Boisse, Dordogne’
Medium Size Oil on Canvas
73 x 53 cm


Two Parcels of Vines, Three Cherry Trees

‘Two Parcels of Vines, Three Cherry Trees’

oil on panel
30 x 40cm (approx 16 x 12 inches).
© adam cope