Ellen Cornett


I was born in 1950 in Montgomery County, Maryland and graduated from Albert Einstein High School. Though I had studied art throughout high school, I initially choose political science as a college major. It didn't take long for me to return to art, with a focus on printmaking, earning a BA in Studio Art from University of Maryland in College Park.

For more than 25 years, I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator producing advertising material, fine art catalogues, product packaging and corporate identity packages for clients across the country.


I started drawing and painting seriously in 2000, and in 2002 I began teaching drawing and painting at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in Washington, DC. Inspired by a workshop I took with Wolf Kahn and viewing an exhibit of work by Paula Rego, I decided to focus on storytelling in pastel. I was invited to present my first solo show in DC in 2008. 


I won the inaugural Brentwood Arts Exchange Project America’s Next Top Master Artist in 2014, which included three rounds of elimination by a panel of judges as well as popular vote. Since 2017 I have been a full-time working artist, presenting work in numerous exhibits both regionally and nationally.


In 2019, the Hirshhorn Museum invited me to participate in the interactive exhibition Rirkrit Tiravanija: (Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green) where I, along with 14 other artists, created wall murals depicting protest, rebellion, and repression. In 2021 I received an Individual Artist award from the Maryland State Arts Council for my work.


I maintain a studio in Cheverly, MD.

my . artist run website