Nana Cook


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            Throughout her life, Nana Cook continues to be a living breathing embodiment of creativity.  As a child, Nana enjoyed ballet, music, and art. At age 11, she moved to Salt Spring Island where she joined drama & operatic groups, along with becoming the youngest member of Salt Spring Arts Council.

            As a teen Nana learned make-up artistry and Middle Eastern Dance, eventually moving to Vancouver in her early 30’s to work as a make-up artist, as well as perform & teach Middle Eastern Dance. 

            In 1989, Cook built a log house on Vancouver Island, here she co-authored the book, G.B. and the Strange Canadian Painter Lady.  It wasn’t until 1997 that she began teaching herself to paint. 


            Cook prefers painting in acrylics, “They allow me to be spontaneous and are quick to forgive”.  Many of her early paintings were architectural, influenced by scenes from Arizona and New Mexico.  Cook frequented the American Southwest throughout her life, travelling by foot, car, Harley, horse, and kayak.


            By 2003 Nana was invited to show her Southwest paintings at a contemporary visual art exhibit of Chinese and Canadian women in Shanghai, China.  Two years later, she and the same group of artists held another exhibition, this time in Nanaimo, BC.

            Cook became the Theatre Royal’s first Artist in Residence in the historic town of Barkerville in 2013.  The paintings she created during her time there highlight locals and buildings from this town.  Proceeds from her exhibition the following year were donated to Barkerville’s Theatre Royal and Barkerville Heritage Trust.

            Nana has been living on Vancouver Island for much of the last 20 years, and since 2006 has well surpassed her goal set at the time: to create 150 paintings of arbutus trees.  By showcasing such a unique and beautiful Vancouver Island tree, she hopes to bring appreciation and awareness to a part of the coastal environment that is sometimes overlooked.


            Nana Cook's painting process is integrated with the intent of engaging through her imagination, all the five senses as she paints. This level of vision contributes to how her audience may connect on a deeper level with her work.