ELEANOR COTT

March 21, 1928 - November 5, 2010

For Eleanor Cott, art was neither an occupation nor a hobby.  It was her way of looking at life.  It was the way she looked at nature, the way she heard sounds, the way she felt when she touched an object.  She couldn’t remember when art was not a reality even though her parents did not openly express themselves in that way------perhaps because those were the depression years, and their life was work from rising to retiring.   Her only sister was already in school when she was born, so she spent her preschool years entertaining herself.  The basic requirements, which were always in short supply, were paper, crayons, or other drawing materials.  For her the sky was always blue, the grass was always green,  and she colored inside the lines.  This was her discipline for more than half her life.


Eleanor attended a one-room school for the first four years of her education.  She lived a mile from school, and her classmates, so she experienced a limited social life.  She managed to inject her art work into any assignment when possible.  She then moved to Martin Street School for two years, and was still the odd woman out because the bus dropped her off and picked her up while her classmates went to play after school.


In seventh grade, Eleanor moved up to the high school, and her life changed dramatically.  She took violin lessons, and played in the orchestra.  She was in the church choir and actively participated in the church’s social life.  She did the clip art, freehand, for the church newspaper for three years.  She also took art classes, and mechanical drawing.
Her art teacher encouraged her to enter the Scholastic Art Contest, with the first prize being an art scholarship.  She won the New York State Gold Scholastic Key for her painting, which was then entered in a national competition.  However, winning the scholarship was not meant to be.  Going to college to study art was out of the question, so two weeks after graduation, she entered the work force as a draftsman.  She joined a local art group, and completed a course in Commercial Art, studying in the evening.  Then she completed a course in Interior Decorating.  This was followed by a leave of absence from work to study silversmithing to further her interest in jewelry making, which had up to that point, centered around making copper-enameled jewelry and selling it at a gift shop in Olean.


After her silver-smithing adventure, Eleanor returned to her previous work, which provided ample funds to do my art work and other hobbies.  When her husband retired, they traveled extensively.  She was able to amass a large portfolio of pictures to paint as time permitted.  Their travels ended abruptly, when, after returning from Greece, her husband died.
Art again became her refuge to help cope with the loneliness.  To broaden her perspectives, Eleanor began going to workshops conducted by well-known instructors such as Terry Madden, Tom Lynch, Don Getz, Lian Quan Zhen, Harry Thompson, and Tom O’Grady.


Eleanor tried to leave the precise representation of subject matter to the camera.  She disciplined herself to create more expressive and thoughtful art.  She wanted to help the viewers to see and feel what she felt while painting.  Even if the viewers did not achieve this, it was her hope that that would have their own fulfilling impressions from her art.