painting of the dordogne river in winter – UNFINISHED STATE

UNFINISHED STATE WIP work inprogress
‘Ilots, Pontours, Dordogne – 2’
Medium Size Oil on Canvas
70 x 33 cm
©Adam Cope

Actual Size Detail – to give you an idea of how the paint is applied

Palette of muted winter browns in weak sunlight. Bright ultramarine reflections of the sky on still waters. Running rapids broken bluish greys & browny umbers. Ominous deep shadows revealing the black underside of the river. Deep violet angerous depths, quiet capable of killing anyone who has the misfortune to falling in. Local legend has it that a dragon lives in the cliffs at St. Front, the next cliff downstream. I can believe it. Here the river crosses a flat bed of rock but with treacherous chasms of up to three meters deep. Dangerous places. The little islands – ‘îlots’ – are perfect bird sanctuaries.I’m still having difficulties with the top left corner & so reserve the right to work some more, when I can see what is needed. Any suggestions? What do you think?

Painting fast flowing water isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to look at it with the eye of a fisherman, studying the underworld beneath the surface. Other times with the eye of a draughtsman, holding on for dear life to the quarter tones. The long low shadows establish the surface plane, which should be more or less flat. Except in this case, where my eyes were bobbing up & down as the water reared up white crested over the rapids….


Look at this quarter tone cut out via photoshop to see how tone has to be exact.