Maison Troglodyte, Dordogne – Proportions & Sizes of Canvases

‘Maison Troglodyte dans la Vallée de La Couze’
65 x 54 cm (25,5 x 21,3 inches approx)
Medium Size Oil on Canvas
© adam cope

‘Maison Troglodyte dans la Vallée de La Couze’


This is the same place that I described in the post : Watercolour of an Owl Hut built into a Cliff in Dordogne

A photo from my underexposing Cannon 400 D EOS. The sheer quantity of bright spring sunlight should have made the camera shoot off the scale. Instead the greys look really quite dark & not the near whites that I had to squint at to see as there was so much sunlight bouncing off the cliff. This was before I started :

And this photo was after packing up, just before leaving the site. The light had gone, the owls where hooting & it was spooky.


Sizes of Canvases in my Oil Painting Practice

This is a medium size oil on canvas. It’s a french format, a 15 Figure. Normally I use a 12 Figure for medium size oils, as it’s large but still just about achieveable in one plein-air session, without too panic, without the feeling of being rushed to finish that painting a large sized oil such as a 25 Figure (81 x 65 cm; 32 x 25,5 inches). Especially for subject so difficult as cliff faces, with the speed at which the light changes across the nooks & crannies; the sheer amount of startling & intricate details, which don’t fit easily into a standard ‘model’ of ‘how to paint’ such as an apple for instance.

French formats over & above the International formats

I like very much French formats over & above the International formats. The proportions are pleasing & seem to have more harmony & generousity than elsewhere. I read in Mayer’s Artists Handbook that they were based on Golden Section, but as I’m no good at maths, I let that one by. My eye seems to move easily around their graceful proportions. It might just be what one get used to but they please me. The figure is more square, the landscape more elegantly thinner than the standard 3X4 or 5×7. Then there’s the marine & the panorama as well. I like the figure very much. I bought this batch of 15 F by mistake, thinking that they were 12F, my standard large-medium. My wife, stalwart supporter & source of feedback, was delighted as she thinks that my large oils are my strong point. No postcard-sized minatures here. 30 x 40 cm is small for me (12 x 16 inches).