Watercolour of Spring in the Dordogne

watercolour of trees - spring -Dordogne

‘Spring Time in the the Dordogne’ Watercolour. 38 x38 cm © Adam Cope

This Candlemas morning (“festa candelarum”, the festival of candles), there was the first ray of sunlight after weeks of heavy rain. The light is again high & strong. I’m yearning for spring & fresh air & sunlight.

This watercolour from March last year.  Hope that February won’t be rude or glacial!  It can be freezing & extreme in February here in the Dordogne. Half way through winter now!

In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the increase strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring. – http://projectbritain.com/year/candlemas.html


Poplar Trees in Spring time

oil painting of spring trees, bronze

‘Peupliers, Bronzage, Printemps’
Oil on Canvas
30 x 40cm (approx 12 x 16 inches).
© Adam Cope


this painting’s lay-in first stage WIP

I’m getting ready for a big exhibition at the La Maison des Vins de Bergerac. It’s a hige & beautiful space – up to sixty paintings!

This large oil from 2010 and spring 2011, finished off in the studio & now framed. Now sold.

Lime Grove, Chateau de Beduer

  watercolour 15″ x 11″ Early moring, brightearly summer sunshine, see the leaves glowing green-gold.

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pssttt! – don’t be scared of green!

watercolour of a lime grove at chateau de beduer

‘Lime Grove, Chateau de Beduer’ – watercolour 15″ x 11″

watercolour of a poplar grove by adam cope

‘Grove of Poplars’ watercolour, 15″ x11″

Homage to green – the green fuse , the living green, the vernal green , the green that oxygenates us & lets us breathe fresh, clean air. When I painted these green watercolours the air was so beautiful with fragent green sappy smells. 🙂

WIP : Le Cingle de Limeuil, Dordogne

‘Le Cingle de Limeuil, Dordogne’
ETAPE …. En Progres …

Oil on Canvas
65 x 54cm (approx 25,5 x 21,5 inches).
© The Artist.

Le cingle = the meander of the dordogne at Limeuil




Too much  like Cézanne? Ahh maitre Cézanne, you who have given me so much? It sometimes seems to me  that even the farmers plough their fields  as if by your hand,. Your vision has helped shape  the vision of many artists, including myself,  who followed on behind you. It was by looking at some your many ‘half-finished’ paintings – works in progress – that I partly leant to oil paint.


Cezanne - WIP

Work in progress by Cézanne


This is a commission 🙂

It’s great to be doing a large plein-air oil again 🙂 It will take several more sessions on site & several more back in the studio. Way bigger than usual, so good to be working ‘out of the habitual box’. Tables & studio easel outside, on the edge of a step slope. lol, the buzzards were just waiting for this… beware whilst stepping back 😉

Here it is at the lay-in phase. Because there was just so much more drawing than in a normal size, I did something that I don’t usually do. That is I didn’t lay-in the sky right from the beginning & key everything to it right from the outstart. I do however know what lighting conditions will be more or less in the final painting.

Work In Progress ….. WIP at the lay-in stage
130 x 80 cm ( approx 51 ” x 32″)
oil on canvas
© adam cope

Here is the compositional drawing:

And here is a zoom-in on the bright spring greens, so bright here in the south of France. Again at the lay-in stage:

I find myself remembering a bright spring green painting from May 2007 ( a few weeks on from now), a small scale plein-air alla prima :

bright spring yellows – Matisse on shock

‘Printemps, Dropt’
Medium Size Oil on Canvas
12 paysage format francais
© The Artist.
Incredible rebirth of the leaves, yellow gold in the bright white sunlight.
The thing is just how do you use colour ?
Here’s another painting of the same scene a few weeks earlier, just before the leaves opened, dating from 2007:

‘Berges du Dropt’
Oil on MDF Panel
30 x 40cm (approx 12 x 16 inches).
© The Artist.

“The essential thing is to spring forth, to express the bolt of lightning one senses upon contact with a thing. The function of the artist is not to translate an observation but to express the shock of the object on his nature; the shock, with the original reaction.” – Matisse


Poplar Grove, Dusk

oil painting by adam cope , poplars trees, dusk

‘Poplar Grove, Dusk ‘
Oil on MDF panel

33 x 41cm (approx 13 x 16 inches) – 6 figure format francais
© adam cope

These groves of trees are planted not far from the river Dropt. All straight & square, they are grown for cardboard boxes. I like openness & airiness of the groves. Not quiet field, not quiet wood. An ‘in-between space’. BTW, they have a bright orange fungus on their trunks , just like walnut trees in winter.



Oil on MDF panel
41 x 33 cm (approx 12,5 x 17 inches)
© Adam Cope


Oil on MDF panel
41 x 33 cm (approx 12,5 x 17 inches)
© Adam Cope

A session in the studio repainting this plein-air piece. Red & blue, no?

Ronces (fr) = brambles (en)

I like brambles a lot for their vigour & pioneering life-force. This was an over-grown patch by an abandoned house, rich & melodious in bird song.

Path at the End of Winter

path in winter - cornus - pianting

‘Chemin, Cornus – Fin de Hiver’

Medium Size Oil on Canvas
61 x 45 cm (approx 24 x 18 inches).
© The Artist

cornus = dogwood

This path at the end of winter, lined with oaks. Red dogwood suckers. Life surging back into the landscape.
painted this in one session, reduced me to tears… all prima large oil painting in plein-air, yeaa!
alla prima = first take