photography courtesy of COE STEINWARTTree In The Park  copy

An East Cobb resident since 1980 and watercolor artist for as long as she can remember, Coë Steinwart finds unlimited color and subject matter waiting to be painted wherever she looks. She’s no starving artist; she’s one of our community’s true treasures.

Even without realizing it, you’ve likely seen her work, either in one of her books or when Steinwart sets up her easel in Marietta Square. Widely known for her illustrations in the bestselling “Elf on the Shelf” and fanfare that followed, Steinwart’s talents are much wider than that.

They say art is subjective, so I’ll admit my bias now: her colorful canvases first awed me at a young age when my mother started attending her art classes. Students at Cobb County Schools continue to experience that feeling of awe when Steinwart visits for Art Days.

“It’s a terrific program to expose these children to somebody who’s actually working in art,” Steinwart said. “It’s so worthwhile because there are so many kids and how do you know who is going to be an artist someday?”

For her, the answer was easy.

“I never knew what I would do at the end of the road, but I knew it would be something in art,” she said.

She didn’t tell me about the accolades I found online, like when she represented the state of Georgia with a hand-painted ornament on the 2008 White House Christmas tree. Instead, she’s focused on her next piece.

“The best painting you’ve ever done is the one you’re working on right now, and you hope to heck it turns out right.

The end result is what really counts,” the 82-year-old said of painting, adding, “I’m glad I’ve hung around long enough to get that all figured out.” coesteinwart.com