early paintings


Thanks to Rebecca Lyndon-Stanford for sending the following photographs of two of Jon's paintings from around 1985-6.

Rebecca writes

'Tim lent them to me in 1986 so i guess they’d have been painted not long before that. I’ve had and treasured them ever since, they are a part of me. I think they are oil, certainly the bigger one, but it could be acrylic. Tim told me at the time that the two artists were signalling a specific message with their hands (!!)'

One of the artists is definitely Jon and the other is probably Calvin(?) - both paintings are from the Bristol Art College days - any other comments/info gratefully received.



Thanks to everyone that were able to make it to the Kino Teatr last Saturday to remember Jon

This event marked the ten year anniversary since local Hastings artist Jonny Cole died January 2007, in Cambodia. A gathering to remember and celebrate Jon's life, his work as a painter and the inspiration that has become his legacy to many people through his paintings and of course quite simply for the person he was.

In 1994 Jon wrote

'Painting has become my way in life. I have concentrated on this more than anything else'

Jonathan Cole's paintings are about belief. He believed in painting.

These paintings make little attempt to inspire with subliminal imagery but are concerned with language, the surface language of paint. He presents us with an image of Mohammed Ali or a tree or an image inspired from the Bible or a seemingly process driven abstraction, however in effect we are presented with a blank canvas, a space in or on which to act - to create. Here is a tree, here is a relic of Christianity that has shaped our culture ... here is nothing, nothing more than a painting. The paintings are flat and upfront, in your face with an emphasis on surface, however, the obsessive nature of the imagery and of the marks, coupled with the very pared down-ness of the paintings, intrigues, creating vast spaces that you can get lost in. Contradiction is very much a part of all the paintings, they take you somewhere and then just when you think you understand, they challenge this understanding. As Jonathan wrote “Painting for me is somewhere between a bird and a fly”. When confronted by imagery we have a readymade package of answers to avoid dealing with them, however the honesty of these paintings, their lack of irony and cynicism, compels us to question ... he felt the paintings of religious subjects (that reappear throughout his work) to be an attempt to recover the humility of belief - to acknowledge the privacy of faith.

Jonathan believed passionately in painting and this is the overriding feeling one gets when confronted by this modest selection of his paintings.

Surely now is the time for a much more comprehensive look at the large body of work he created.

Ron Skibbard 2017

Ron Skibbard wrote a review of Jonathan Cole’s exhibition ‘The Baptist and the Sea’ at the Riviera Gallery in 1994.

The Production notes produced by Tim Cole for the films shown at Kino Teatr during the event

JDWC 14th January 2017

Jon by Tim

The forthcoming event in January 2017, In St Leonards-On-Sea marks the ten year anniversary since Jonny died January 2007, in Cambodia. This is a gathering to remember and celebrate Jon's life, his work as a painter and the inspiration that has become his legacy to many people through his paintings and of course quite simply for the person he was.

The event is to be held on Saturday 14th January at the Kino Teatr, St Leonards-on-Sea, a multi use gallery, theatre and restaurant venue. There will be a launch and showing of the JDWC website, a documented reference point of Jon's life and work. There will be a film of Jon whilst working at the old Claremont studio and other unseen footage as well as a few of the short films that Jon made.

Beyond all, this is great opportunity to view and discuss many of Jon's paintings shown on his website and those selected to be hung in the gallery. This is the focus of this event. Do come down, meet up with others, and share stories and thoughts etc. The excellent Kino restaurant and bar is available for bookings on the night and will be organising a special menu, so do check that out and book ahead.

Remembering JDWC

Save the date

We are holding an event to mark the 10th anniversary of Jon's untimely death. Details above on Tim Cole's lovely composition. Save the date and hope to see you there.

Outline Pictures

Tim Corrigan (Outline Pictures) completed two short films 'Snow' and 'The Last Home' both of which feature Jon.

SNOW (2015, 40 min) was shown at the Kino Teatr in St Leonards in December 2015

The LAST HOME (2014, 28 min) was first shown in a slightly different form and titled 'Don't think too much' at DIASTR an event and exhibition held at Phoenix Brighton from the 27th November - 12th December 2010


Jon's much loved dog, Ben was a good age but in bad health when Jon visited Cambodia in 2006. Caroline nursed him until his death just a few weeks after Jon's funeral

Jon took all of these pictures with his phone

Beech JDWC

At Hastings Cemetary