I promised to be back this week with another Artist Spotlight Series feature.  

I found the latest talent on Instagram and her style and palette immediately spoke to me.  I am thrilled to learn she lives in the same town I do. Small world.

I am even trying her favorite farm to table restaurant next week as my #summeroffreedom bucket list.

Enjoy getting to know

Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Connecticut and Charlotte, North Carolina

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson
“ME” in her studio. Photo by Jamey Price

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

The artist’s studio in Charlotte, NC. Photo by Jamey Price

What is your training?

My parents put me in private oil painting lessons when I was nine but my art career comes out of a near death experience (it’s a long story). I have a degree in journalism and art history from UConn. I also studied drawing and painting at The Corcoran College of Art + Design. It was a traditional, European style program where the focus was on mastering foundational studio skills. Self expression was not part of the plan! It was artist’s boot camp but I loved it.

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

What inspires you and your designs

More often than not, nature, water specifically. I’ve always been fascinated by it. Though I have lived in many places throughout the US, I always come back to the sea. For example, the series below is about listening to the sound of the ocean sighing at your back as you calmly pick up a rock… and place it on top of another rock. It’s about not thinking about anything else. It’s about focus through a simple act.

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Rock Pile #1, acrylic on canvas, 24×24 
Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Rock Pile #2, acrylic on canvas, 24×24 
Mary Elizabeth Peterson

 What is your favorite piece?

I don’t have a true favorite but sometimes I fall in love with a beautiful corner or passage in a painting and it ends up being a springboard for the next one. There are parts of my painting Undertoes that I find so enticing.

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Undertoes, acrylic on canvas, 4 ft x 6ft, Mary Elizabeth Peterson

How has the Charlotte area influenced your work?

I came from the Connecticut shoreline a year ago. I miss the beach but the forests and mountains are starting to talk to me. Stay tuned to see what happens!

What is your favorite restaurant in the Charlotte area?

I like Heritage in Waxhaw but I am happiest at a New England clam shack!

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What is your favorite cocktail?

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I’m obsessed. The drier, more citrus the better!

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How do you balance personal life and work?

I’ve learned that you have to be deliberate and put yourself in the position to be happy and successful. I have dedicated office and studio space in my home and I keep banker’s hours four days a week. Occasionally I paint on weekends. My husband and kids are big influences on my art and help out a lot with the business.

Dream trip?

Painting in Tuscany or New Zealand or Ireland … oh, I could go on and on! When I vacation, I like wide open spaces best.

Dream commission?

So many of my dreams have already come true, but, my ultimate fantasy would be to hang a painting in a museum with a van Gogh in it’s collection.

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The Sower, oil on canvas, Vincent van Gogh, 1888

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

Years ago I discovered Govino shatterproof wine glasses. Everybody loves them! Pair with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and let the good times roll.

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Who is your style icon?

Fashion-wise I like a classic “preppy” style with a pop of color or an unexpected accessory. Enough with the big peasant tops! Home-wise I love the juxtaposition of the traditional with contemporary art.

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The Dowser, oil on canvas by Julian Hatton

Your favorite up and coming artist?

Elizabeth Nagle and Jay Kelly are ones to watch!

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Blame it on the Rain, acrylic on canvas, 40×30, Elizabeth Nagle

Artist Spotlight Series: Mary Elizabeth Peterson

Untitled #412, wood and gesso, 7.25×4.25×2,  Jay Kelly

 What is your most treasured possession?

A repurposed frozen orange juice canister pencil cup I made my father when I was four. He had it on his desk during a 30+ year career. It was (and I was) precious to him. He was precious to me.

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What are you reading?

Every summer I read the same two books: The Art Spirit  

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and Gift From the Sea.

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The rest of the year I am reading historical fiction, E. O. Wilson, an artist biography or some moldy old book! I’m very interested in genealogy and I even published an article on my ancestors this year.

What are you listening to?

I’m always listening to music! I like it all: classical, folk, jazz, bluegrass, soul, R&B, rap, punk, blues, ska … I make different stations for myself on Apple Music.

What are your favorite blogs / publications?

I read Frank Bruni and Gorky’s Granddaughter. I also like Brene Brown. Her TED Talk is amazing!

Marc & Angel Hack Life  is a must and The Drive helps me keep my life on track. Of course, I love The English Room!

Check out ME’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. You can also purchase her works through Saatchi Art, Pottery Barn and Lillian August.

Two of her paintings will be featured in the set design of this summer’s blockbuster movie Bad Moms.

Here are a few favorites:

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