Elizabeth Cockey is a retired art therapist, author, and painting instructor. Currently she enjoys teaching painting and facilitating workshops to help people make paints from pigments found in nature. She splits her time between upstate New York and Texas with her husband and four Pekingese dogs.

Background and Education

Elizabeth earned her BA degrees in both art and psychology and her master’s in art therapy. Initially she served as the Executive Director for the Texas Museum Association and then as Communications Director for the Texas Historical Foundation. While in Texas, Elizabeth taught painting at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum and the Elisabet Ney Museum. She also helped with the completion of the book Historic Texas, which was published in conjunction with Texas Monthly Press.

Art Therapist

After relocating to Maryland, Elizabeth changed career paths and began working for a variety of hospitals and long-term care facilities as an art therapist. She also participated at the Johns Hopkins Kennedy-Krieger Center for disabled children, and at the Johns Hopkins’ Copper-Ridge center for Alzheimer’s disease.

She enjoyed a successful career helping individuals recover from stroke, dementia, and paralysis using art as the basis for treatment. During that time, she discovered how and why art was a successful approach in recovering the use of a paralyzed limb, thwarting depression, and improving the quality of life, despite the fact many of her clients were living in long-term facilities or in hospitals.   


In 2005, Elizabeth published her memoir Drawn from Memory, which brought her national recognition for her work helping stroke survivors recover the use of paralyzed limbs. She also co-authored and illustrated several other books with her husband, Barton: Upstate New York: Towns that we Love, Drawn to the Land: The Romance of Farming, and a novel, The Reincarnation of Piggy-Pie Pooh.

In 2017 Elizabeth and Barton co-authored Untold Stories of the Battenkill to benefit the Battenkill Conservancy. In 2021 and 2022 Elizabeth and historian Judy Flagg co-authored a best-selling book titled Historic Washington County: A Photographic Portrait. It is currently in its second edition. Her most recent endeavor was writing and publishing a fantasy trilogy about a frog king and a boy who help a lost space traveler find the way home. It will be released to the general public in the spring of 2024.

Art Director and Research Editor

In 2018 and 2019 Elizabeth helped research, photograph, and produce two museum exhibitions: “Mills on the Kill” and “Glory Days: The Age of Industry.” The exhibitions were shown at the Slate Valley Museum, The Georgi Museum, and the Salem Historic Courthouse. A museum exhibition catalog was also published as a resource document for the exhibition “Glory Days.”


Elizabeth is a motivational speaker and has traveled nationwide sharing her experiences with audiences about her life and work with disabled individuals. She has been a keynote speaker and a frequent featured speaker for Women’s Health Day in Salem, New York.