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Artist Profile: Betsy Payne Cook

Betsy Payne Cook, an artist who paints exclusively in pastels, and a teacher who’s taught students of all ages, says, “To those who enjoyed painting once, then gave it up and never went back, it’s never too late.

“So many people tell me they loved to paint, but they haven’t done it in decades,” she relays. “I get that. I didn’t have the art life myself during the years I was raising kids and teaching full-time. But the enthusiasm you feel when you start doing it again, it’s really something.”

Take Me Away • Pastel • 9″ x 12″

Cook, who was raised in Albany, holds a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s in special education from The College of Saint Rose. That busy part of her middle life—where she raised her family and worked full-time, was spent teaching for the Barnstable Public School System; after she moved from a small village in Wales, UK back to the United States.

She and her husband Steve Cook, who owns Cotuit Bay Design with assistance from his multi-tasking wife, have lived on Cape Cod since 1998.

Cook lights up when asked to name her favorite spots on the Cape for plein-air painting. “There are so many,” she says. “I really enjoy painting right here in Cotuit—the Ropes Beach area, or Cotuit overall, the lovely little village and all the historical buildings. Then there’s South Cape Beach, with all the beautiful pathways that go through the State Park. And I love heading over to Osterville, and Gray’s Beach in Yarmouth. I tend to be an Upper Cape painter, but I do travel all over.”

She enjoys the plein-air group she’s part of through the Cape Cod Art Center, which often takes her to Dennis or Wellfleet. “We paint for a couple of hours, and then there’s a half…



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