After graduating from college and working briefly in graphic arts, Denise Cole worked for several years in the field of social work with special needs children in adoption. Turning her focus back to the arts, she began her career in painting in the 1990s. Combining her training in classical oils with influences from the Impressionists she tackled both watercolor and oil painting with intensity and purpose, creating a distinctive style which pervades all her art.
In the past fifteen years Denise’s award winning paintings have been featured extensively in juried shows and galleries. And in 2006 she was given the honor of being the poster artist for the Edmonds Arts Festival. Denise has served on the board of the Northwest Watercolor Society and has been a respected juror, speaker and instructor. Teaching watercolor classes for over 12 years, Denise also has taught several courses in art career development for Edmonds Community College and other arts organizations.
In 2001 Denise opened Aria Studio Gallery in Edmonds where she painted and taught for four years along with her studio partner. During this time, she developed a plan to open a second gallery which would feature the work of the wonderful artists she had come to know over the years of painting and showing together.
In December of 2006 Denise opened Cole Gallery & Artists' Supplies, now simply called Cole Gallery, with a vision for bringing not only great art to the community, but also a top quality discount artist supply store with a workshop space as well. The art supplies are now available at another one of her ventures, ARTspot in Edmonds, which she opened with Tracy Felix.
Denise now represents artists from all over the country, but the gallery still specializes in regional art. She sates:
"Opening this gallery has been one of the toughest and most rewarding journeys in my life. I am so thankful to all of my artists, collectors, and friends of the gallery for making this possible. I believe our gallery has really connected art collectors to the artist and has given people the hope and encouragement needed to try their hand at art through our workshops and classes. Great art sings to the soul, and my soul sings everyday I walk into work.
Painting is my passion. It is in my soul and mind, it is what God created me to do. I portray life in a variety of subject matter from portraits and still lifes, to landscapes and marine paintings. My hope is to tell stories which engage the viewer in a special moment in time, to paint poetry. I hope to pass this on to all of my students as well and help them find their creative voice within. I believe anyone can learn to paint and bring that sense of joy into their lives."