Bright, bold colors, and distinct mark-making define the art of Eleanor Cox. While painting has become a lifestyle for Eleanor, it was through passion and dedication that she landed in the art world. “My mother wanted me to study music and I even had a scholarship to play the oboe. But I quickly transferred colleges to study art and graduated with a BFA in Art Education.” After college, Eleanor started out teaching and in her free time created abstract art. It was only after having children that she discovered watercolors. “It was quick and fast which went well with having children – I was hooked! I started teaching watercolor classes in Richmond and my career in watercolor took off.”
Inspiration takes many forms for Eleanor – between the great outdoors, gardening, and traveling through Europe, her subject matter is endless. It is apparent that Impressionism is a common thread in her work, as she aims to capture shifting light and fleeting moments through vibrant colors. “I don't do a lot of layers, I like to see the brilliant color from when you first lay down the watercolor and I have always enjoyed mark-making.” With any creative work, she says one should always strive to “make the mark that no one else can make, because it's yours.”
Between commissions and personal work, Eleanor also balances teaching watercolor classes. “I enjoy people that like to paint and they enjoy each other as well which is important. It’s fun to share, it really is.” Eleanor is grateful for the support of her local community and her husband Gene, who has been a partner in her artistic success. “He has taken the time to learn how to frame and help me, so that I never have to do any framing. It's amazing to have someone who helps you like that, I could not have done it without him.”
Retrospectively, Eleanor recalls the words of her father which she has applied to her artistic work and throughout her life. “’Always do your best.’ I try to do that in everything I do. As a woman you wear a lot of different hats throughout life. If you make a mistake, don't worry about it because you did the best you can.”
Eleanor Cox paints for the joy of painting, finding it a natural way to express her ideas, impressions, and reactions to nature, color, and mood. Using landscape, the garden, and still life, she captures her excitement of putting a brush to paper, making marks, creating edges, and using brilliant color. She enjoys sharing her skills in workshops and private classes.
Cox specializes in watercolors that feature color and light. Her work focuses on Virginia, but she has traveled abroad annually for 30 years to paint en plein air in England, Ireland, France, and Italy. Holding a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she has won many local and regional awards, including honors from the Southern Watercolor Society, the Baltimore Watercolor Society, the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, and the Virginia Watercolor Society, all organizations of which she is an artist member. Her work is in many private and corporate collections, including Forbes Magazine, Wells Fargo, Philip Morris Corporation, CSX, Capital One, First Union Bank, and James River Corporation.
Facebook: Eleanor Smith Cox