Portraits: Paintings

Although some artists work from a live subject, Cole preferred taking many roles of film to use as reference throughout the painting. Photo sessions—usually taking place in the subject’s home or office—made it unnecessary for individuals to sit in the same pose for several hours or sessions as Cole worked on the portrait. These sessions also gave Cole an opportunity to learn more about the individuals in their own environment.

To help her subjects relax in front of the camera, Cole would often ask questions about their work and their interests as she would “snap” photos, for only after they seemed at ease would Cole actually load her camera with film. Nevertheless, these sessions generated hundreds of photos that would become resource materials for her portraits.

Using photos individually and collectively, Cole created preliminary sketches depicting sample poses, expressions and, if appropriate, relationships among those in the portrait to present to the client for review. Upon approval, Cole would begin, taking 4–7 months to complete a portrait in oil, depending on the size and complexity of the work.

Below are samples of portraits Cole has created in oil. To view a work in greater detail, click on the work’s  image.