Elyse Campus Cohen, a California-based artist who professionally goes simply by the name of Elyse, has gained an international reputation for her luminous watercolors, particularly her close-up, textured, dappled images of flowers.
Born in New York in 1940, Elyse began her art studies at the Brooklyn Museum when she was eight and continued her art education in New York City at the Parsons School of Design and the New School of Social Research. In 1961, newly wed and living in Greenwich Village, she entered the workforce designing textiles. Later she focused on the design and manufacture of stained glass lighting fixtures and windows, drawing inspiration from Tiffany and Art Nouveau glass for pieces made in a New York factory she owned and operated for fifteen years.
Elyse remained active as an oil painter, but when she moved to Florida in the early 1970s she turned her focus to watercolor. She notes, “there’s not comparison in the challenge or in the color and luminosity I can get with watercolor.even though watercolor is a much harder medium in which to work. People have no idea how difficult it is. The paper is totally unforgiving.” The next challenge was Acrylics on Canvas……and is loving it !
In 1987, she and her family moved to California. There the abundance of flowers and luxuriant verdure inspired her to produce the many large floral studies for which she is best known. City and Town scenes, reflecting her avid travel in search, are also frequent subjects. In 1998, the native New Yorker was commissioned to interpret in watercolor an original photograph taken by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of the Lower Manhattan skyline. (The painting now hangs in New York’s City Hall.) Recently, she has returned to painting in oils, even as she continues to work in watercolors.
Making use of her business talents, Elyse promoted her work independently for over a decade. She has participated in gallery exhibitions around the world and her works are in numerous corporate as well as private collections and museums. Many of her watercolors have also been published as limited edition giclee prints other publishers. Licensing her images on products has been a source of great joy.
In all Elyse’s works, light plays a defining role. In her street and park scenes, strong cleansing sunlight produces an intricate counterpoint of shadow. Her floral works show the delicate interplay of direct light, translucent illumination and shadow. Conveying an undertone of spirituality in nature’s beauty. She used to do plein air paintings but now works from photographs she has taken.
Although she has gained a loyal international following, she says that her only artistic triumph is that of the “mastery of my craft through hard work, sacrifice and pure devotion” and feels she does not do anything that God has not all ready done.”I simply copy”.