John Cole
John Cole

In 1949 Cole began to paint in oil. His drawings and paintings were submitted to the Royal Academy of Drawing in London through a British-funded scholarship program in art. One year later, he was awarded a scholarship from the Royal Academy, but was unable to attend when his family emigrated to New York.  The Cole family arrived in New York in 1951 and John attended high school in Oceanside, Long Island.
Cole began taking painting lessons with Robert Cariolla, a gradutate of Pratt Institute, New York, in 1954.  By the next year, Cole was studying in the evening at Pratt Institute and ran a painting business during the day, until 1958 when he entered the United States Navy for four years.
From 1962 - 1967, Cole traveled and worked in Florida, Southern California and visited the Pacific Northwest. In 1968, Cole moved his first wife and three children to Longview, Washington and then moved to Chehalis. 
In 1973, Cole increased abstraction and cubism in his work. His first exhibition was at the Chehalis Library Museum in 1974 and received second prize. He taught basic oil and creative painting at Chehalis Recreation Department while working for Puget Power.
Continuing to work for Puget Power, Cole moved to Bellingham in 1975 and married his second wife, Lucille McCarty.
In 1978, Cole's work began to be shown in various regional galleries.  In 2003, Whatcom Museum of History and Art presented a retrospective exhibition of Cole's paintings. A year later, Cole was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease. dementia with Lewy Bodies, however, continued to paint.  Cole was included in a group exhibition at MoNA, All in the Painted View in 2006. 
Cole passed away in Bellingham on November 6, 2007.


Museum of Northwest Art


The Museum of Northwest Art connects people with the art, diverse cultures and environments of the Northwest. 



MoNA collects and exhibits contemporary art from across the Northwest, including Alaska, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.