In 1946 she married her childhood friend John, who was in the Merchant Navy. When he retired from the sea, they briefly ran a pub. Their son John was born in 1950, and the following year they left to live in Southern Rhodesia. One day she picked up some paints, belonging to her son, and started a picture. She carried on doing so, using various materials, painting on scraps of wood, fire screens and a breadboard. An early painting is Bowling Ladies.
In 1963, the Cooks returned to England to live in Cornwall, where she began to paint seriously. They moved to Plymouth, a port city, where they ran a busy theatrical boarding house in the summer months. They enjoyed going to local bars and watching flamboyant drag acts. She concentrated on painting in the winter months, recreating her personal views of Plymouth in oils on wooden panels. An antique dealer friend persuaded her to let him try and sell a few, and, to her surprise, they sold quickly.
In 1995, she was made an OBE. Her contribution to The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, The Royal Couple featured in the Golden Jubilee Exhibition, May 2002, at Art London, Chelsea.
In 2006, Portal Gallery held a comprehensive exhibition of Cook’s work to celebrate her 80th birthday. A retrospective exhibition of her work was curated by Peter Doroshenko at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2007.
Cook admired the work of the English visionary artist Stanley Spencer, his influence evident in her compositions and bold bulky figures. Another influence was Edward Burra, who painted sleazy cafes, nightclubs, gay bars, sailors and prostitutes, although, unlike Burra, she does not paint the sinister aspects of scenes. She was described by Victoria Wood as "Rubens with jokes". She was known as a "funny artist"
Gallagher Has His Beady Eye on the Naysayers; Emerging from the Ashes of Oasis, Beady Eye Had Their Fair Share of Doubters. Andy Welch Catches Up with Liam Gallagher
Apr 08, 2011; IT WOULDN'T be unfair to say, when Liam Gallagher and his fellow ex-Oasis bandmates announced their intention to carry on without...
Eye on the Prize; Emerging from the Ashes of Oasis, Beady Eye Had Their Fair Share of Doubters. Andy Welch Catches Up with the Most Notorious Singer from Manchester's Music Scene, a Justifiably Smug Liam Gallagher
Apr 10, 2011; Byline: Andy Welch [bar] t wouldn't be unfair to say, when Liam Gallagher and his fellow ex-Oasis bandmates announced their...