Richard Cole was born in Edmonton, AB in 1968. After graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1991, where he studied oil painting, he started a business as a decorative finisher and mural artist. He became involved with design, working with interior designers and architects. Cole was considered the most sought after decorative painter in Canada by Western Living Magazine.
In 1995 Cole moved to the west coast and worked in the film industry as a scenic painter and kept a studio in the back of the artist run center Access. In 1998 Cole was hired as the studio technician for the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. During this time, he also worked as a background painter for the animation industry and taught figurative drawing for the Vancouver School Board.
Cole has concentrated his practice in the realm of figurative realism. It was a vacation along the Oregon coast that turned Richard into what is decidedly a Northwest coast landscape painter. Now living in Fort Langley, BC, with its proximity to North shore forests and the world famous Pacific Rim National Park, Cole is never at a loss for subject matter. His paintings of these verdant cedar forests and wild coastal shores demonstrate his talent with the brush. His paintings are drenched with atmosphere that is rendered through the delicate use of colour and light. His use of perspective commands the viewer to see what it is about the scene that caught his eye in the first place.
Recently Cole has also begun to develop a body of work focused on the Canadian prairies. His treatment of the meeting of sky and land is recognizably his own. Softness of palate meets vastness of sky with the resultant tension manifesting into a thick atmosphere. It is almost as if we, along with the painter, are waiting for the prairie storm to break.
Cole has published two children’s books, The Boy Who Paints and The Girl Who Writes, with writer K. Jane Watt.
"I am inspired by the wonders of the changing landscape, And I try to paint the intangible -- the ever-changing light in the sky, the smell of the weather before a storm, or the movement of the air around you." -Richard Cole