Albas, point de vue surplombant Le Lot

‘Albas 1’

‘Albas 2’
‘ Albas 3’
28 x 38 cm. Quarter ‘imperial’ sheet Arches rough 300 gms.
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

Looking down over a meander in a river

Sunny evening point from a rock outcrop overlooking a meander in the river Lot, the next large east-west river southwards from the river Dordogne.

Painting demands a certain type of concentration. And plein-air painting still yet another type of concentration. The french word ‘éveil’ comes to mind, which translated means awakening or wakefulness or alertness. Painting does require alot of concentration… and wakefulness. Yet at the highest state ( I hope I’ve not yet reached it, as I adhere to the principal of the necessity of ‘over-reaching’, of always pushing further for quality) of éveil, it feels more like dreaming, than being totally awake. When I talk to other watercolourists, they too report a feeling of ‘it all sort of coming together’ in a state of ‘éveil’. It’s only after the painting session that I realise just how tired I get after painting & day dreaming!

The Hudson River School of Painting

I was out surfing “The Hudson River School of Painting” & stumbled across these jpegs, which I can’t yet attribute, so whoops, copyright. I post them here not because the red idian with the umbrella on the rocky outcrop was probably off on a day dream éveil but because they are wonderful images of meanders.

Is it a cheesy cliché to paint THE VIEW?

Always a nagging feeling inside me, that hasn’t gone away, that it’s too cliché… but , on the other hand…. neither has my desire to paint these amazing views & meanders. They move me deeply.

far from the world of plein-air watercolours but belonging in spirit with the red indians & the Hudson River painters, is my old cheese ‘Le Cingle de Tremolat’

Dordogne à Lalinde

38 x 28 cm. Aquarelle.© The Artist. available

The Dordogne at Lalinde

I love this river. To spend a day besides her, listening to the water & the birds, smelling the mud & the water calms my tired & overcooked mind.
I went out with a painting buddy of mine, whose company I feel good in when painting alongside each other. He listened to my theatrical conversation about my new ideas, the things I want to paint. etc. I’d had long enough to think about this during the two weeks of exhibiting & welcoming masses & masses of people . Very tiring.
I don’t think the above is a particularly good painting… nor do I think that the previous posting is a bulls-eye ‘bang on the nail’ watercolour either… but there is something humbling as well as regenerative about painting in the plein air. It kind of brings the concentration back to the world in a way that the theoretrical, the conceptual, the photographic, the verbal, the wordy just can’t. It’s good to be reminded of this if nothing else. My friend endured me & painted in silence… and did a much better painting than me.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

I teach another workshop next week. These gear-shifts keep one on one’s feet!

La Canal de Lalinde

I’ve been working down by the canal again , so I post some images from 2001 when I painted there as well.

‘La Canal de Lalinde’ 2001
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

‘La Canal de Lalinde’ 2001
Oil – large size
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

28 x 38 cm. ( 15″ x 11″) . Watercolour.
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).
amazing canal lock. 13 meters drop.
Full of muddy water
slow moving water
bridge behind the lock
a lot of construction
nice place to paint

Dordogne at Badefols

‘La Dordogne à Badefols’
Quater sheet Arches (28 x 38cm ; 15 x 11inches)
© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

250 € / 100 £ UK / 200 US dollars.
Click here to buy this painting.

This was a demonstration painting done for the June painting workshop here in the Dordogne.

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
– Chinese Proverb

Alot of painting tutors shy away from demonstrations. Certainly there are good reasons why they aren’t always the best teaching technique to use. There’s the risk of the teacher showing off & pulling virtusio slick-tricks. Also they risk encouraging imitation in the students and inhibiting the evolution of a natural style of painting. Yes all these are real risks. And then there’s the problem of a lack of a long enough concentration span in the students themselves. Yes, yes, yes, all this is true.

But what I feel to be the greater truth is that … to see someone actually paint is worth a thousand words or a million bulletin points on a blog. The relation between theory & practice. Remember a painting is made with the hands, and to see just how hands with more experience play with the painting, deal the work-flow as it unfolds. This is the magic & the learning of a good demonstration.

It’s always a bit bizarre to present a finished ‘demo’ painting, as the learning is the real product. Last week there was a talented photographer on the course who photographed the demo. I hope to get copies of his photos & post them here (or use them in my upcoming how-to-paint book).

Demos fit in well into a week long course but maybe might be a bit boring for night classes.

More abouts demos & teaching at what makes a good painting workshop tutor?

I wrote some more about the good energy of a painting demo at:

‘Dordogne Marchande, Lalinde’ photograph by Adam Cope

I used to have a good digital camera & used to photograph ‘en plein air’ whilst painting. Here’s a snap I took whilst painting ‘Reedbeds at Lalinde’ (see a few post previously). It was a Minolta Dimage A1, which I had a for a brief couple of years, before the internal processor stop processing. Last week, after a six month wait, I was finally reimbursed for this manufacturor default.

Anyway, I’m now reimbursed for the totality of the buying price (no ‘jouaissance’ however). Sony Minolta have stopped making cameras (I’ve always had a minolta) & now am looking for a new camera. I need lots of photos for my ‘learning to paint’ book that I’ve been working on during these last five years. Watch this space.

‘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

Bergerac Waterfront #3 (finished state)

44 x 56 cm (17″ x 22″approx) Oil on Panel.© The Artist.
450 €

Well, this is about as far as I can take this one (I think…when a painting is knocking about in the studio, I sometimes see many more other things that might possibly be done). It’s what I call a ‘large small’ painting, not quiet a medium size but certainly not a post-card size minature. When working on plein-air paintings in the studio, there’s always the risk of losing the ‘freshness’ that can be found in ‘being there’ on the spot, the experience of the event, in that unique & particular moment in time.
I’ve felt extra close to the river Dordogne this past week, as we’ve had old friends & god-children down to stay on holiday. We all went for a really long lovely (no better word) canoe trip on the Dordogne. I post below something more like the the ‘canoe’s -eye view’. A truly beautiful river. These memories live in the mind’s eye, and guide the hand to see better the essential in the scene before one. The Dordogne at Bergerac is large & wide, dark & strong, sometimes mirror-like or sometimes, like in the above painting, all cut-up, stormy & more like the sea than a wee river. Begerac is the town where we were married, where my wife &, now, my two children were born. A really good town. A good place to paint.– even in the rain!

‘Reedbeds at Lalinde’ 72 x 36 cm.

44 x 56 cm (17 ” x 22″approx). Oil on Panel.© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

Same painting as previous post, second time on location. In the rain, with exciting silver lighting effects. Probably in need of a session in the studio to tie it together. The water was broken up, with no reflection, which is OK as I perceive the Dordogne to have a black, dark aspect to it. Beautiful river! (difficult to paint).
Here’s a detail of the architecture. It’s an old grain warehouse. The quai that you see was an important place of trade on the river, with wine , wood and grain being exported down river. Not much of that now, only the tourist boats, fisher men, car parking, adoleescents & the occassional lovers.

44 x 56 cm (17 ” x 22″approx) Oil on Panel.© The Artist.
Click on image to enlarge (& see without the blur).

Quai Salvetat vu de La Pelouse. Tableau en état de progres.
Great storms & torrential rains here in the Dordogne for the last few days. I painted this the morning before the storm, with passing clouds & intermittent sunlight, hence the bluish cast to the light.