I’ve been invited to exhibit in the 4eme Festivale de Flore Faune en Périgord.
Details & dates to follow in next post. Here’s what I’m putting in, boxed up along with the bilingual explanation notes. 

Quatre Carte-Postales de Mon Co-Locataire, l’Hibou (fr) = Fur Post Cards of my Room Mate, the Owl. (en)



hibou I

hibou 2
hibou 3
hibou 4

TITRE: Quatre Carte-Postales de mon Co-Locataire, l’Hibou

MEDIA : Véritable sepia (encre des seyches)

DIMENSIONS : quatre carte postales – 10 x 15 cm, encadré dans un seule cadre (environ 40 x 60 cm???)

DATE : 1997

NOTE EXPLICATIF : En 1997, j’ai eu l’opportunité d’être concierge d’un domaine très isolé au milieu de la nature, quelque part dans le Sud Ouest de ‘La France Profonde’. Je pensais que j’étais tout seul comme un naufragé sur une île déserte mais non. Les nuits étaient encore plus bruyantes que les jours! Les grincements, grattements, couinements… l’environnement était vivant avec les bruits d’une faune sauvage. Mais au moment où j’ai commencé à m’habituer aux loirs, souris, capricornes et scarabés… cette nuit là, j’ai entendu un bruit encore plus surprenant. Un soufflement lourd et chaud, tout prés de moi… Il fallait que je trouve la source de ce soufflement & la confronter si nécessaire. Pas de confrontation nécessaire. Là, tout prés, de l’autre côté de la vitre de la fenêtre où j’avais installé mon attirail de dessin, il y avait un hibou, tout jeune & tout petit. C’était incroyable, il restait figé pendant que je le dessinais ‘sur le vif’ (voir HIBOU 1). Cet hiver, pendant les nuits noires comme de l’encre, je l’ai entendu à chaque pas que je faisais. Quelles études et quels parcours (voir HIBOU 2) pour ce jeune hibou avant qu’il puisse prendre son envol? Certaines nuits j’entendais ses plumes qui coupaient l’air & bien entendu, sa chanson mystèrieuse (Voir HIBOU 3). Quleques années plus tard, lors d’un promenade en forêt, j’ai rencontré un autre être, avec un regard qui m’a figé autant que je l’ai figé… (Voir HIBOU 4).


In 1997, I had the opportunity to be the guardian of an estate, which was very isolated in the countryside, somewhere in the South West of ‘La France Profonde.’ I thought that I was all alone, shipwrecked on a desert isllad but no… The nights were even more noisey than the days! The knorings, scratchings, squeakings… the enviroment was alive with the sounds of a savage wildlife. But the moment that I started to get used to the field mice, door mice, deathwatch & stag beetles…. then that night, I heard a noise even more surprising. A heavy, hot breathing, close by me… I had to find the source of this breathing & confront it, if necessary. No confrontation was necessary. There, very close by, on the other side of the window pane where I had set up my drawing kit, was a tiny, small owl. Incredibly, it remained fixed to the spot whilst I drew it from life ( see HIBOU 1). That winter, during the nights black as ink, I heard her with every step I took. What studies & what trails (see HIBOU 2) for this young owl before she could take flight? (see HIBOU 2). On some nights, I heard its feathers cutting the air & of course, her mysterious song (see HIBOU 3). Some years later, whilst walking in a forest, I met another being, which had a look which frooze meas much as I frooze it…. (see HIBOU 4).

First Posting of Two Posts

part two, second post  – Leonardo dea Vinci’s drawings of rocks

‘Postcard from Marcilhac sur Célé’ 1996
15 x 10 cm
Stone Lithography
© The Artist.
Edition sold out.

My Personal Experience of an Artist’ s Residency

In 1996, I won an artist-in-residency to make limited editions of stone lithographs at a print-making studio.  Basically, this association has it’s aims to promote stone lithography & encourage artistic talent. So it chose six artists and invited them for a month long stay & make editions of stone lithography. It was a great experience. A residency (or a painting workshop) should make you work in a different & fresh way. Open one’s ‘artist-self’ up to learning. Re- envigorating. Creating in a new context, with the pleasure of meeting new people. I certainly meet some wonderful people …  great technicians too 🙂

‘Journey of an Egg through the Célé Valley in 31 Days’ 1996

I did some  printmaking at Bristol Printmakers Workshop. Printmaking is my second medium after painting. It was my second subject for my BA hons in 1987. I later taught it for two years at Adult Ed…. though it has now been nine years since I last had a ‘printmaking campaign’. I can feel it calling again. Besides my computer, I have an old copper plate that I care for very much.

 ‘Célé Valley’
13 x18 cm
artists proof
© The Artist.
‘Marcilhac sur Célé’ 1996
32 x 25 cm
Ink, papier Moulin Larroque
© The Artist.
email for price etc.

Marcilhac sur Célé for an artists residency

Marcilhac sur Célé is a wild crazy type of place at the bottom of a three metre limestone cliff. Limestone rock & chaos. It was winter time. It was crazy. Wild landscape. Prehistoric. Staring at rocks & cliffs… same type of problem that I was grappling with last week in the painting Grand Roc, Les Eyzies, Dordogne. Without making any claims to be a geologist, except to say that drawing & painting rocks & cliffs faces makes you stare at them for hours on end… sometimes I imagine maybe sheep sheperds & prehistoric shamans did this also. Certainly fascinating to chat to speleologues & palentologists about earth formations.

‘Les Anglais, Brenques’ 1996
Ink, papier Moulin Larroque
© The Artist.

how to draw rocks & cliffs?

But the question for me as  an artist is how to draw rocks & cliffs? How to paint them? How to printmake images from them?
They have a kind of shock, a resonance, a dsibelief in me….
It was strange to be drawing stone & then, afterwards working on the same family of stone (calcium carbonate, if I remember the chemistry correctly) in the printmaking process. The stone ‘plates’ are very beautiful things in themselves.
‘Croix de Renard, falaise en Quercy’ 1996
© The Artist.

The chalk in the Célé Valley (lot) is more stratfied & ‘crazed’ than the Vézère Valley (Les Eyzies is in the Dordogne), where it seems more compact, older(?). The Céle has more ‘blow holes’ or ‘trous du soufflure’ where air was trapped in the sedimentation process but the Vézère has more erosion from the river over the ages. Both are incredible places.I wanted these drawings to be as precise as possibile so you could use them as rock-climbing maps. Only find & keep those ‘anchor’ points!! Hold on to them as this isn’t an easy subject. Doesn’t conform to clasical landscape painting. Has many suprises….and are easily dismissed by those who do not know what cliff faces really look like.

‘Falaise, Célé Valley, Lot’
28 x 38 cm
ink, papier Moulin Larroque
© The Artist.
Cliff face, Célé Valley, Lot’
ink & gouache, papier Moulin Larroque
© The Artist.


In the next posting, I’ll photograph the other editions & drawings, there’s a whole stack of them

‘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