Interview with Leslie Cole on Art and Presence


We at Camas Friends always love showcasing the talent and creativity of our members. This week, we interviewed Leslie Cole about a painting she did focusing on our ongoing theme of presence. The painting (above) is proudly hanging in our office. Here is what Leslie had to say about her piece:

I began this painting thinking about the older women I met every summer visiting my grandmother in New Hampshire. I loved their strength and sense of self. The actual woman in the painting, however, is a poet, and I had a magazine photo of her because I loved her look. To me, she, as well as my grandmother’s friends, all have a sense of presence – aware of their true selves and alive to the world and people around them.

The Leonard Cohen quote (“Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything that is where the light gets in.” From his song “Anthem”) had been in my heart a lot at the time I was doing that painting. I felt the woman in the painting had to have had difficult times and times of failure, but that vulnerability allows spirit and her soul to shine through her.

I painted as a child and on through high school and part of college. I gave it up as life with jobs, family etc. took over my time and energy. I started painting again after retirement, around 2005, when I discovered some great classes at Clark College. I continue to attend those classes and have shown paintings with the Southwest Washington Watercolor Society and the Battleground Art Alliance.


Again, we thank Leslie for sharing both her art and words with us! If you have any artwork, poetry, or thoughts on presence you’d like to share with us, please let us know at