Ellen Koment Biography

Ellen Koment





Ellen Koment, encaustic painter, watercolorist, and teacher, was born in 1944 in Coney Island, New York. She attended the High School for Music and Art (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & the Arts) and earned her BFA in 1965 from Cooper Union Art School. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area not long after graduation, where she began exhibiting in San Francisco in 1966. Koment first discovered Taos, New Mexico during her Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in 1981. In 1983 she earned her MA in painting at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied under Elmer Bischoff and Joan Brown. Koment taught painting at the Santa Rosa Junior College, Western Oregon State College and the University of New Mexico.

Koment moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s where she discovered encaustic painting, which became her primary medium. She development new techniques with the medium and has taught many encaustic workshops. Koment wrote about painting: “I have painted all my life, with the figure as a resource, with the landscape as a resource, and simply with a love of color and form. Twenty years ago, a little wax crossed my path, and a new chapter opened as I began exploring the ancient art of encaustic. After all these years painting remains a mystery to me…it is filtered through every painting I have ever made, every bit of knowledge of color and design that I have, and yet it emerges as something unique and surprising, every time.”

Recognition of her work came in the form of a Gottlieb Foundation Grant, a Krause Residency in New York City, a Gottlieb Foundation Medical Emergency Grant, a Creative Work Grant from the University of New Mexico, and two Wurlitzer Foundation Residencies. She has had more than twenty-five solo exhibitions of her work and has participated in numerous group exhibitions nationally. Koment has been featured on the cover of Encaustic magazine.

Jack C. Leissring Fine Art recently published, Ellen Koment: The Internal as the External. This book, illustrating more than 225 paintings, demonstrates the breadth of her work.