Katharine Cox Smith, 84, a former painting and art education teacher and a Washington area resident for 34 years, died Monday at her home in Chevy Chase. She had Parkinson's disease.

In the 1920s, Mrs. Smith taught art education at the Shippenburg and Edinboro State colleges in Pennsylvania.She also supervised a pioneer art program in Westmoreland County, Pa., rural schools.

Before moving to this area in 1946 she taught painting for children at the High Art Museum in Atlanta, and oil painting at the University of Alabama.

She was a student of Hans Hofmann, the late German painter and teacher who was a leading exponent of abstract expressionism in this country.

Her work, mainly oils and dry-point copper etchings, was presented in exhibits and one-man shows at the High Art Museum in Atlanta, where she also had studied, and at galleries here and in Alabama.

Mrs. Smith was born in Rome, Ga. She graduated from the Parsons School of Fine and Applied Arts in New York City, earned bachelor's degree from Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn., and earned a master's degree in art education from the University of Chicago. She also studied at American University here.

Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Richard W. Smith of Chevy Chase, a son, Philip C., of Columbia, Md., and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a charity of one's choice.