painting 2020

Nicola Cooke is a professional contemporary artist and photographer  living and working in Dorset, UK.

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By Nicola Cooke, Sep 6 2014 03:50PM

A Tale to tell – secrets revealed

Tiny zigs-zags, twinkling sparks of gold and delicate silver- green filigree are just some of the tiny secret treasures of beauty in nature that are revealed to those who take the time to stop and look and wonder.

These little secrets; the tiny zig-zag patterns on sea-shore rocks made by grazing limpets, the gold twinkles in fossils, which are flecks of iron pyrite, and the delicate silver-green filigree is the beautiful lichen that is on our old apple tree, are not unlike the secrets that a painting has to tell.

Whenever I look at a painting, although I will regard it at a distance, I always come in for a closer look. When I am planning a painting I know what I want the subject to be and also the composition and look that I am aiming for. I use layers of paint sometimes quite thick to give an interesting texture, which I then over-lay with much thinner washes to create soft veils of colour conveying atmosphere and depth.

Much time is then spent drawing and mark making, sometimes these marks and lines are tiny and in many varying colours, they may not be instantly obvious, but they all add up to being an integral and important part of the overall painting.

With that, I invite you, when standing before one of my paintings, to take a step closer and if you do…you may find the painting has more tales to tell….

By Nicola Cooke, Apr 6 2014 06:35PM



Fluttering pink confetti. A spring celebration. I’m not talking weddings, but something else to which I would raise a glass to …trees. Or more specifically, blossom on trees…a fanfare proclaiming that spring is here, the weather is better and the days are longer – wonderful! To stand under the canopy of a huge old tree and to look upwards through the branches and leaves towards the sky fills me with awe.

To paint

I paint things that are important to me; things I have an emotional response to, or a love of. Because of this, as I often tell people, I am able to ‘put my heart and soul’ into what I do.

As a child I would reach up to touch the beautiful blossom of the flowering cherry trees in our garden – and sometimes climb the tree to get a better view!

Where we live at our house in Dorset, we are totally surrounded by huge trees; vast oaks, ashes, beech and lime trees are to name but a few. I have got to know the way each type of tree has its own unique growth habit; the way the branches reach out from the trunk, how the twigs grow in different directions and stretch out to the sky.

Feathered residents

My most recent paintings have been of trees, not only birch and larch trees, which for some years have been a favourite of mine; but also beeches, lilacs and more ornamental trees – such as cherry serrula.

The stunningly beautiful trees in the meadow and parkland by our house have also featured in my paintings, along with all their feathered residents.

I hope you enjoy looking at my paintings as much as I did creating them.

By Nicola Cooke, Mar 18 2014 08:27PM

Partying and Whispers


I do love clear, vibrant, bright colours, partying their way across paper and canvas – turning heads and stopping people in their tracks. I have a penchant for pure, unadulterated cobalt blue which gleams and shimmers a cool glow from the paper. Pink and orange (together, of course!), are favourites of mine. Many of my much-loved things are pink and orange, and when I say pink, I mean vibrant pink and brilliant orange. I have a beautiful huge Moroccan parasol that Justin and the boys gave me as a present, which is orange on top, pink underneath and is fringed with tinkling silver jingly dangles – I love it!


But partying aside, there is something that fascinates and lures my attention in some ways more. Whispers. Yes, whispers. Beautiful, pearly, subtle colours that quietly whisper to the viewer. Curious and interesting hues – silvery lichen greens, collar-dove grey, soft pale duck-egg blue, blackberry smoothie mauve (many of my colour inspirations come from foodie things!!) are just a few of the subtle colours that capture my imagination.

For me, when subtle colours are used, sometimes with the addition of a strong colour , or black, and built up in translucent layers, I find I may spend more time taking in and absorbing the painting than if they had been bright and bold.


I am passionate about colour and the way it is used, particularly in paintings.

I am a great advocate for experimental colour mixing and colour combinations. I love looking at the way artists use colour and how their colour palette works for their paintings.

I have discovered some artists, both through-out history and also of today, who have mesmerizingly brilliant colour palettes. Some of them incredibly famous – and others, quite excitingly, are not.

In my next blog entry I shall introduce the first one of my artist ‘colour heroes’.

By guest, Mar 5 2014 06:18PM

This is the first post in my new blog. I am currently working on my Spring collection of paintings. Loving the lighter evenings and the sunshine!


Welcome to my blog


Look here for news of my latest paintings and exhibitions.

Also places I have been painting.

If you are an artist, art collector or simply love art then follow my stories of fantastic inspirational painters both contemporary and throughout history, from all corners of the world.


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Emerald Rock (633x640) - Copy Ammonite (640x629) (640x629) Summer Sea Sparkle (638x640) - Copy Silver Shore (640x629) - Copy