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 Barbara Joan Cocker  (1923 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/Massachusetts      Known for: Seascape, marine painting, interior design

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Biography from ArtRooms Gallery:
Barbara Joan Cocker (b. Whitinsville, Mass., October 16th, 1923-d. May 13, 2009)

The daughter of Frank B. Cassidy and Mary L. (Anderson) Cassidy, she was raised in Uxbridge, Mass.  She attended Becker Junior College in Worcester, Mass. graduating in 1943. Barbara continued her education at Mount Saint Mary College in Hooksett, New Hampshire, followed by a year of studies at Clark University in Worcester in 1945.

After college she worked as a medical secretary until her marriage in 1948 to John T. Cocker of Framingham, Mass.  Together they raised two sons, David and Neil.  The family moved to New Jersey in 1950, and to Rumson in 1962.  In 1965, Barbara attended the New York School of Interior Design and later ran her own business as an interior designer.  Between 1975 and 1999 she also taught courses in interior design locally.  In the mid-1960's, Barbara took a few adult education courses in artistic painting.  She had been taught at an early age to paint by her mother, an accomplished artist in her own right.  Practicing her painting style in her spare time, she often painted the scenery at the beaches in Sea Bright, across the Shrewsbury River from her home in Rumson.  After viewing some of her seascapes, one of her former art teachers offered her her own show at the Old Mill Gallery in Tinton Falls.  That show nearly sold out and was the beginning of a long, distinctive career as a marine artist.

Barbara Cocker's paintings are included in many private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad.  Most famous for her renditions of the interplay between beaches and waves, clouds and skies, her preferred medium was always acrylics on canvas.  She created the kind of artwork people fell in love with, some buyers collecting more than a dozen paintings.  The appeal of Barbara Cocker's work was best described in her own words, "I think of sea paintings as memory paintings ... the sea is something we love to remember."

Mrs. Cocker enjoyed traveling and visiting new places.  With her quick, broad smile, and warm, cheerful way, she made friends wherever she went.  She often returned from her trips with the news that she'd bought some brushes, paint and canvases while on vacation, and had painted and already sold several paintings before returning home.  Barbara enjoyed many summers running her "Paintings of the Sea" gallery on the waterfront in Nantucket, and was a consummate saleswoman and gallery operator.  She also loved and collected poetry, and occasionally wrote her own, penning an original poem, "Prayer for Nantucket" which was much loved by Nantucketers.

Barbara J. Cocker, passed away on May 13, 2009 .

(Asbury Park Press)

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