Artist of the Month

Jacqueline Cohen with her painting “Hibiscus.” Photo by D. Weinenger.

Jacqueline Cohen with her painting “Hibiscus.” Photo by D. Weinenger.

Jacqueline Cohen

I hope that I do not appear too presumptuous to retain my final column for myself. With this in mind, I would like to thank all the gifted artists I have interviewed, with whom I have gained friendships and learned so much.

Four words have been instrumental to any success I might have achieved. “You can’t do that.” You can’t do that, would provoke Herb and Muriel Lang’s stubborn middle child, whose life began on the south side of Chicago, to dig in her heels and say, “Yes, I can be a Cubs fan, and I am going to marry Ernie Banks.”

Well, perhaps not all my aspirations became realizations, but these words often triggered bullheaded reactions. Not too surprising, it is in my family’s DNA. My sisters, Cindy and Marcy and I, are second-generation born Americans; grandkids to Lithuanian immigrants who escaped perils in the old country to forge a better life in America pre WW I. They, and our parents, survived the Depression, gangsters and WW II to become respected community members. Each demanded that we excel academically and professionally. Happily, they also embraced museums, theater, music, dance and art.

When we moved to Munster, Indiana, “You can’t do that” became instrumental in transforming my upstairs bedroom into an art studio. Art classes and movies like Lust for Life fueled my creative passion. So too, my pride in representing my high school at the Ball State Workshop for Young Artists, painting classes at the renowned Chicago Art Institute, art show honors, and twice, school art club president.

At Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, I was determined to choose a creative career that would make a difference. While my major was in constant flux, artist, writer, photojournalist, radio and TV, I eventually graduated with degrees in Art Education and Special Education.

However in 1980, after teaching adult art classes, art at South Putnam High School near Indianapolis, and taking post-graduate classes, I left the frozen Midwest for sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Setting art aside for writing, I became a Senior Publication Specialist for Motorola and General Dynamics in Scottsdale for 25 years. Ecstatically during this time, several of my projects received prestigious Telly, Communications and film festival awards. Even so, the highlight of my life came in 1986 when I married my best friend, David Cohen, a Honeywell procurement expert, and in 1990 when our amazing son Andrew was born.

In 2009, David and I retired to SaddleBrooke where I picked up my paintbrush and camera and joined the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild. Whereas my subjects often change, my goal remains to create quality art that distinctly stirs the senses and emotions. I love when people say my work touches them, or prompts a story. And with that, my story has come to an end.

I sincerely thank my family, friends and patrons who support my work and encourage me. Finally, I wish you all a very healthy and happy New Year, and thank you for your continual support of the Guild.