Valerie Cohen

Valerie Cohen

Water Media

Valerie Patricia Cohen was born in 1946, in Pasadena, California, daughter of the distinguished mountaineers Ruth and John Mendenhall.  She completed B.A. and M.A. degrees in English Literature at UCLA and UC Riverside. She has worked as backcountry cook, ski patrolman, teacher, typesetter, graphic designer, author, and environmental and social justice activist.  She was Yosemite National Park’s first female law enforcement ranger, and later filled the same position in Grand Teton National Park. 

She began painting in the mid-1980s, studying first with her friend and longtime mentor, Milford Zornes (1908-2008).  Her watercolors are juried into, and receive awards in, national and international exhibitions.  She has illustrated twelve books, including Tree Lines and Granite and Grace: Seeking the Heart of Yosemite (University of Nevada Press,  2017, 2019).