Artist Q&A: Experience the intimate world of Darlene Cole

'The Intimates' On display at Bau-Xi Gallery Toronto, December 3-18, 2016

The Intimates (window sill), 54 x 40 in. oil on canvas, 2016


We recently sat down with artist Darlene Cole for a conversation about her upcoming exhibition, 'The Intimates'.


How do you approach creating a new series?

 a) A new playlist!

 b) I find that working on a small scale in the beginning gets me to the gritty raw bits of what I want to say and feel... I immediately know if it has the push and pull that I want.

 c) I draw from what is around me, human to human, relationships, pathways, landscapes, visits to antique shops in Old Ontario, my artist retreat, etc.

For 'The Intimates' I bought a new Moleskine sketchbook and some yummy chalk that feels like I'm on a boat when I work with it. It is a green/grey a wild lake colour. I've been drawing (rather habitual) while standing at an old table that came from a historical building in Belleville, Ontario. The table is painted in an 'as found' glossy blue/grey colour that I can see the shadow of my hand in as I draw. Although I'm a bit of a nighthawk, I draw only during the day under natural light. It is an intimate experience with the music, daylight, the soft chalk on cream paper on the old table.


Image from the Artist's studio


How do you know when you've chosen the perfect 'theme' for the show?

I keep bits of green masking tape on my walls in the studio...words or phrases that often have dual meanings. I might hear words in songs as I'm working, or often they just come to me at odd times...unloading the dishwasher or drying my hair. My work is truly on my mind all the fine webbing that joins one thought to another as I move from space to space. The title for the show has to feel right in my space as I walk around this old house. It has to feel right with the ceiling height, the light filtering is like part of the plot somehow or a hint of the has to 'fit' into my world...and make your cheeks blush a bit when you think of it.

What element of your work do you visualize first?

The feeling...the atmosphere of the painting.

How long will you work on paintings for 'The Intimates'? 

I never know the answer to this question...but with 'The Intimates', the small scale paintings may continue perhaps for a museum show... 

Which elements of your familiar imagery will turn up in this show?

The white rabbit, the dress, the boat, the fawn, the horse, the curtain, roses and peonies...

Do you have any surprises for us?

Palm trees, perhaps a violin, some leopard print and a honey container from WWII...



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