WIP : Lay-in for Plein-Air Large Oil Painting

‘Semillion – Labadie, Monbazillac’

Large Size Oil on Canvas
81 x 65 cm (approx 26 x 32 inches)
©adam cope

Lay-in for Plein-Air Large Oil Painting

The vigorous semillion still have their leaves on the south & south west facing slopes. They turn to a pure shinning yellow-gold (cadimum yellow pale) with no oranges nor reds. This year with the early frosts in october & then none since, there’s only a little of the yellow ochre, the dull crispy burnt dead scar tissue. Still, the second week of November is late in the season…the grapes are all in, except the occassional third vendange. All the red ‘cepages’ (vine types) have fallen, the golden muscadelle has gone, the cabernet sauvignon looks tired & the frost pockets and cold parcels have stripped off the rest of the leaves.
This lay-in was done quickly, painting into the sunset. I knew that I’d not finish in one plein-air session & thus some of time-pressure was off. What’s the point of being rushed & thus making paintings that look all rushed & frentic?

I’m hoping to get the plein-air part finished this evening. Which is why I deliberately left the sky unworked … sod’s law, actually I quiet like the overcast mid-tone grey. Still the weather will dictate to me this evening. Clear skies with cirrus clouds this morning. That’s beyond my control (thankfully).

Red Vines

‘Plantou #2’- detail
© The Artist.Sold

Lou Plantou – etude

‘Lou Plantou – étude’
Oil on Canvas paper
8 Figure (36 x 48 cm)
© The Artist

study = étude

yellow vines


2 Rangs de Malbec- finished state

‘2 Rangs de Malbec’ – FINISHED STATE
oil on canvas
36 x 48 cm (8F)

wip = work in progree

alla prima = first take, one session, finished in one go

pein-air = sur la motif, sur la vif, on location, on the spot , from observation in the field, sometimes called wrongly called ‘impressionism’ as the Impressionist are the bets known school of plein-air painters.

On finishing plein-air oil paintings

Truth is a funny matter in painting. For the most part, I start off from observation, and an idea of what I want to express. For a plein-air painter, finishing off in the studio is a delicate affair. How far away from one’s first impressions should one go? How many edits & cuts & rethinks? Often, what one really wanted to say gets lost in these changes of direction. Lost & left to one side. Alla Prima first-takes do have the advantage of freshness & simplicity. OK maybe they can never have the depth of a painting that has taken years to achieve. But where is ‘truth’ in a painting? If one arrives somewhere close to what one wanted to paint in the first place, then that’s going in the right direction. What I’m currently saying to myself is to watch out for the junction-point when a painting becomes another painting , so what one is in fact doing is painting another painting over the top of the first lay-down. Why not just paint two paintings, different but one leading on from the next? i.e . work in a series.

Last Autumn Leaves – vines in autumn

‘Last Autumn Leaves
oil on panel
6 figure (french format) 41 x 33 cm
© The Artist.
200 euros

Why do some pockets of vines hold onto their leaves longer than others? Here in the Cahors, the whte stone reflects the heat back up, also the south facing slope. Spoke to ‘la vinticultiste’ who reckoned it was because these particular vines have their roots well nourished by a rich water current, rich in nutrients.
Blue skies, sun shine through the vines, the last saturated glow of this autumn, one of the sunniest that I’ve known.

2 Rangs de Malbec – UNFINISHED STATE

‘2 Rangs de Malbec’ -UNFINISHED STATE
oil on canvas
36 x 48 cm (8F)
Unfinished state – I could say that about myself… ‘work in progress’; hummm.

my fauvist desires

Actually I did this one a week ago. But since then I’ve been too busy with other obligations & not had the time to consider finishing this plein-air oil. In the studio. Since then the leaves have fallen off & browned off to a raw sienna rich bronze. I post a photo of the red leaves as proof. Yes I have fauvist leanings towards to heightened colour. The leaves did exist. Often people don’t believe bright colours but often this is because they have not looked enough at nature.
Yes, there’s also the plein-airist dilema of how to make light into paint….hmmm, thoughts on the back boiler as I’m to busy to paint but I’LL be back!
Off to Cahors to paint this afternoon, in the land of the malbec vine.

’14 Rangs de Cabernet Franc’
Oil on Canvas
25 F (81 x 65 cm, 32 x 26 inches approx)
© The Artist.
’14 Rangs de Cabernet Franc’ – 14 rows of Cabernet Franc, being the name of the type of vine.
This cepage is not the wide spread in the Bergerac Appellation to my knowledge. I once chatted about cabernet franc to Dr.Barriat, the advisory oenologue for the appellation, when we were doing a promotional tour in Belgium together (wine & art), & he said that yes, it was more an ‘old world’ cepage, more like Bordeaux than New South Wales. I remember vendanging the cabernet franc in my uncle-in-law’s vineyards for several seasons. I like the way the grapes hang in this type of vine & how the sarments grow in a very dnse & fertile fashion.

alla prima plein-air painting

This is a one-take, alla prima plein-air piece. It’s a work in progress, as don’t yet know if it’s finished or not – or if it needs some fermenting in the studio. Let it rest a bit, methinks ……. fast slow fast slow slow off on off on, the deeper work happens at it’s own pace.

Le Rayon, Monbazillac – 1999

‘Le Rayon, Monbazillac – 1999’
40 x 27cm
© The Artist.

Another blast from the past, stripping out the frames (grr, non standard sizes but worth doing as there’s alot of them doing nothing in the storage racks, hélas, well free up the frames & move on hey-ho, hey-ho motivation = move on ).Another winey view of the vines, rain & sunshine this time, view from where I used to live for seven years… right in the epi-centre of the appellation. Nice.

Raincloud over Monbazillac

Raincloud over Monbazillac
33 x 24cm
© The Artist.
Stripping out old fames & replacing with new watercolours for next year’s shows. Here’s an oldie. Have I progressed since 1999? Well I feel more at ease with wet & spontaneous & alla prima watercolours, though I do like the rigour in this one.

St Aubin de Cadelech

‘St Aubin de Cadelech’
29 x 42cm (16 x 11,5 inches).
© The Artist.
Rows of Cabernet Franc on the heights of the Dropt valley. Sunset, long blue distances turning cobalt violet (series three winsor & newton substance that comes at a price).The silouhouette of Lauzun chateau faintly on the horizon (not that you can tell this from a blogger jpeg), the vine stocks captut mortum (again not that you can tell this from a jpeg – the colour in the shadows are nearly always crushed to black. I don’t use balck but adhre to a prismatic palette, with violet as my dark point).

The vines are going shaggy with the spell of bright days & frosty nights these last seven days or so. Their leaves turning brown crispy then falling off, whilst others give up their last grasp with a spectacular colour show of reds & golds. The neat rows of vines with ier summer haircuts all trim are going wild & spikey, like punk rockers, their hair all rebel. It is at this time that the wild trailing nature of the vine is loosen from it’s trellising & training & disciplining. In a month’s time, the annual task of pruning will begin & the cycle will start over again.