During Covid, I took a walk with camera in hand through the historic Olde Towne Portsmouth neighborhood. I was captivated by the array of beautiful porches that seemed to invite the viewer to stay and visit. This particular porch caught my eye, with the vibrantly red metalwork of the furniture and the deep shadow patterns that were cast on the white siding of the house. I chose to crop the image to emphasize the almost abstract quality seen now in the painting.
Every artist finds within themselves a need to create. It is not a choice. It is something that grabs, shakes, and will not let go. For me, that need to create forms itself best around life experiences. I paint life which stirs my soul, whether farm life which has recently rooted in me, the loving people which are part of my life, memories of people that helped who I am, the landscape that takes my breath away, or the way the light shines through the jar with plant cutting. These warm the spirit in me and call me to create.
Though MaryLou Shuff Andrews spent her first 18 years in Illinois, she has been blessed to have rooted friendships in a number of states, from Wisconsin to Texas to the East Coast. Early in her life, she demonstrated a love for art and people, which has carved her life’s history. The combination of these two gifts from God led her into education and art. After college graduation, she taught elementary education until 1993 when she was asked to fill a newly opened art position. Within a year and with her husband’s encouragement, she began to seriously create art.
Her mentor, Eldon Faries, provided her with a strong understanding of watercolor and art principles, pushing her artistic growth but also encouraging her to participate in exhibitions and continuous education. She has continued to study from nationally and internationally known painters: Judi Betts, Gerald Brommer, Mary Todd Beam, Shirley Sterling, Mike Bailey, John Salmimin, Kathleen Conover, and Ryan Fox, among others.
MaryLou’s paintings have been accepted and received ribbons in local, state, national, and international exhibitions. Her work is in private and business collections across the U.S.
She is the co-president of the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorist (CBW), a signature member of Watercolor Art Society-Houston, a signature member of the Virginia Watercolor Society, Southside Artists Association, Suffolk Art League, Perquimans Art League, the National Watercolor Society, and American Watercolor Society. She also is the co-chair for the Virginia Watercolor Society’s 2021 Exhibition and Workshop. She continues to instill the love for art in young people, teaching with KEYS (Kingdom Education for Young Scholars), an umbrella school supporting homeschooling families.
MaryLou holds three degrees: B.S., Bob Jones University (1969); and M.Ed., Clemson University (1973); and Ed.S. in Art Education, Georgia State University. She is a retired art teacher with 45 years of experience, was recognized as Teacher of the Year in two school districts, served as Fulton County Mentor for district art teachers, was a National Board Certified Teacher from 2001 through 2021; and is a new resident to Virginia since April 2017.
When not painting, MaryLou enjoys her husband of 50+ years, their two children and their spouses, and their nine grandchildren, who also love art!