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Noel E. Cole
Land Reef

watercolor, gouache, alcohol inks on Yupo paper
20″ x 26″

Noel Cole Art

Deepti Menon, Filmmaker & Animator

Deepti Menon
Filmmaker & Animator

Artist Statement
“My students and I titled this piece Land Reef because at first glance, someone claimed that it looked botanical, like a reef in the ocean.  Another disagreed, because of the brown leaf, and what looks like evidence of man and his tread marks, therefore it must pertain to land.  

I have been teaching high school art for 34 years.  I created Land Reef when I discovered Yupo Paper and demonstrated its unique properties to my students.  I applied and lifted paint, stamped, and used various other printing techniques.  I used several types of paint media: watercolor, tempera, alcohol inks.  I also used metallic powders and Copic markers.

I enjoyed working on this until I became stuck.  I knew it needed something else, so I left it alone and put it away for a while.  That was two years ago. I live and teach in a rural area where campus art classes would require a four hour round trip, so access to professional advice looked rather dim until I discovered your Crit Quickies!”

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Video Transcript

“The first thing I noticed about this piece is how wonderfully you combine textures and shapes to create an incredibly dynamic image. I love how some forms are strictly geometric while others have more of an organic shape to them, making me wonder what this piece is really about.

There are some areas where this very deep blue rectangle form kind of slashes across the page, and other parts with the same form has kind of an organic leaf like figure within it. This contrast make me think of nature versus the built world, or organic versus man made, which is really interesting.

I’d be careful when layering colors, because I’m seeing that the richness of some of the colors you have gets lost when they’re being combined, and forming sort of a brownish overtone. I also find that my eye immediately falls upon the center of the image because of how dominant and dynamic that area is, and I skip across places like the edges because of their lack of the same components.

So I’d love to see you break apart this concentrated mass in the center and adjust the composition so that the viewer’s eye travels across the page more.”

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5 responses on "Noel E. Cole"

  1. The colors in this piece are really wonderful; so successful. This is a really wonderful example of how a piece can be mostly one color but that color is made stronger by the diversity you include into your palette. See how that really earthy red stands out among the green, despite it being such a subtle color! It reminds me a lot of what Edmund Dulac does, especially in this piece. Nice work!

  2. I feel as if I’m looking at a bouquet that has so much depth and fractal pathways that I could get lost inside and never find my way out again!

    It reminds me of some of the bouquet paintings by Janet Fish. Her work is more representational than yours, but there’s a similar sense of ubiquity in detailed rendering that is very entrancing.

    Although I am the kind of person that believes you can never have too much patterning, if I were you, I’d be careful not to let patterns fight each other into muddiness. I see that becoming a danger on some of the areas of the shells and towards the tip of the brown leaf (fern?). Nevertheless, you have such a beautiful image and harmonious color palette!

  3. I love the fact that despite the many contrasting shapes and colors, this piece seems to have a cohesive mood. When seeing bits and pieces throughout the video, I noticed the dominant green/blue color in this piece almost makes it look like you’re looking at it through a fish tank (which is pretty cool!). Seems like that idea could be tied in with use of shells and other organic shapes as references for this painting.

  4. This piece is so rich and full of depth, it’s clear to me the vast number of layers of different marks you’ve put on top of each other. There’s also a great variety of different levels of transparency and opacity, the way various sections of the piece move back and forth is really visually compelling. I think if you want to continue creating pieces like this, it would be great to enhance your technique (which is already so exciting!) with some visual research: find images that are related to the shapes and textures you’re creating. While I think there are obviously many nature references, I also see some architectural elements as well, some of the curly shapes even remind me of Illuminated manuscripts, like the Book of Kells. That visual research can be so valuable, I highly recommend it!

  5. The variety of marks and textures in this painting are fantastic. The sea shell-looking shapes on the right side of the composition are perhaps too heavily rendered and steal a lot of my attention, but for the most part I love your approach to this piece – I find it really interesting that you’re approaching it in a way that is both abstract as well as representational. It would be exciting to see that pushed further, to really feel out where that balance is, and how far you can lean in one direction or the other in the same image!

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