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John Cole:
“The Enduring Northwest Landscape”

Whatcom Museum
Bellingham WA Jun 8-Oct 5, 2003

John Cole - Madronas
John Cole, Madronas (2002), oil on linen, collection of Millie Linsington
[Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, Jun 8-Oct 5, 2003]

The Enduring Northwest Landscape is a retrospective of John Cole’s work and life that includes more than 55 paintings dating from 1969. In 30 years of painting the Pacific Northwest landscape, and particularly since his early retirement at 50, Cole’s work has reached a mature level with confident strokes that are vivid and alive.

Cole paints and draws outdoors whenever possible. His models are the rivers, trees, lakes and the region itself. Capturing an artistic moment when it actually happens becomes important on his painting journeys. Later, in the studio, he refines the outdoor work.

His work has strong composition. The perspectives are simple and contain elements of abstraction. He uses broad brushwork, a thick viscosity of paint, and a palette similar to the French Impressionists. He is an outright colourist. His pieces are intuitively orchestrated according to layers of colour recipes that harmonize on the canvas, creating the mood and spirit of the scene. In this exhibit, the landscapes were painted in different regions of the Northwest, including Alaska, Vancouver Island, Chilcotin, B.C., the Deschutes and Umpqua Rivers in Oregon, the Okanagon in Eastern Washington; and Whatcom and Skagit Counties outside his Bellingham home.

The Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle is hosting Cole’s tenth solo exhibition and has produced a full colour catalogue. The exhibit features a series of events with the artist, including a slide lecture and a painting workshop. Contact the Whatcom Museum at (360)738-7409 for dates and times.

© Allyn Cantor

 Sat, Jun 7, 2003