Mary Lou Peters



Mary Lou Peters
P.O. Box 855
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
(231) 627-8069
(231) 818-6365 (cell)



Wandering the streets of Grand Rapids during this citywide festival of art is a true wonder; I was constantly thinking about how these artists could dream up these new approaches to their subjects.  It’s such a profound experience to bask in this abundance of creativity. The first time I went, several years ago, I vowed I’d never miss it. Next ArtPrize Grand Rapids will be in September 2020. Do yourself a favor and be there.


I was invited to teach seven watercolor classes for MParks tour groups staying at the Grand Hotel. What fun that was! Huge crystal chandeliers lighted the spacious meeting room, and red fabric tablecloths covered the tables. Whatever I needed was provided with promptness and a big smile. I felt like royalty! Truly a Grand experience and I’ve already been invited back to teach for these tour groups next year.


I’ve just finished two separate week-long sessions teaching watercolors at Road Scholar programs in Tustin, Michigan. What a super experience that was! A typical day for students was Tai Chi before breakfast, followed by photography class. After lunch they came to me for 3 hours before yoga class. After dinner we had an evening program—a speaker, music group, talent show, photography show, and art show by students. It was just like being at camp for adults: nature hikes, field trips, a pontoon boat ride, games, lots of fun conversation with new friends, and plenty of time for sketching and painting. A wonderful week—and I got to do it twice! In fact, I had so much fun that I’ve decided to lead a group here in August 20-22, 2019. Check the CLASSES section further down in this newsletter for details. I’ll keep you posted with updates via future newsletters, my website, and Facebook posts.


My “Pink Bucket of Zinnias” was painted on site at the Cheboygan Farmers’ Market back in September. I had my choice of many gorgeous flowers, but this hot pink bucket of beauties was the one that caught my eye.

“Secret Garden” is a great spot in the Grand Hotel’s garden. New this spring, it started out with a river of hyacinths surrounded by tulips. As the season progressed the garden was rebuilt, and this is the stage at which I captured it. It’s now under construction again. Check back next year to see what magic the gardeners have performed in this spot.




I will soon be sending out orders for Christmas. Please get your order to me early to avoid shipping delays.

Many of my favorite Christmas card designs are available from previous years. They would be perfect for you to send out as your own holiday cards.

I’ve had such a good time painting outside all summer, but now that the weather has turned cold I’ve moved inside. My plein air group based in Cross Village has morphed into an Urban Sketchers group. We’ve painted together in Petoskey twice and then headed to the Pellston Airport for a sketching/painting session: planes, wildlife mounts, and northern Michigan ambience. It’s an open group; please contact me if you’d be interested in joining us.


I will be on my annual winter trip to Sanibel Island during January and February where I’ll be teaching classes and enjoying painting outside in the warm weather. I won’t be able to fill orders while I’m away from my home studio, so please let me know if you’d like to order artwork well before I leave.



On Tuesday, November 13, 7-9 p.m. at my home studio, 7178 W. US 23, Cheboygan MI we will be painting Indian Corn. All skill levels welcome, all materials provided. Cost is $35. Please register with with me: Mary Lou Peters, (231) 627-8069 or (231) 818-6365. Or email me at


All classes on Sanibel Island will be held at the BIG Arts Center. To register please call (239) 395-0900.

January 11, 1:30-4:00 p.m. : Introduction to Watercolor Painting, $45 members, $56 non-members (We will paint a sailboat, your choice of colors)

January 7, 14, 21, 28, and Feb. 4, 1:00-4:00 p.m. : Watercolor Painting for All Levels,  $145 members, $181 non-members (Students will paint their own choice of subjects)

January 15 & 16, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. : Watercolor Nature Journaling, $149 members, $186 non-members (Class will be held in a classroom and on the grounds of BIG Arts)


On Thursdays from 1:00-4:00 during the month of April (4, 11, 18, and 25) in 2019 I will teach a Watercolor Techniques class for all skill levels at my home studio between Mackinaw City and Cheboygan. Classes will follow a format of a demonstration of a technique with time for student practice, then you will work with my guidance on paintings of your choice from your own photographs. Beginners will learn a sequence of skills. All students will receive help as needed with plenty of time for painting. Cost is $140 for the series of four classes. To register, please email me at or call me at 231-818-6365.


MACKINAC ISLAND classes will be scheduled by March. Keep checking my newsletters, website, and Facebook for the most recent updates. Mackinac Arts Council is the sponsor and host of those classes. Their website  is usually updated for the new season by April—by then it will be filled with new classes for the upcoming season.


Already scheduled for 2019, it’s my annual trek to my hometown of East Tawas, Michigan. I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Watercolor class on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at the Tawas Bay Art Gallery at 302 Newman Street. All supplies will be furnished for a cost of $35. You will paint an 8x10 sailboat suitable for matting and framing and jazz it up with colors of your choice. Beginners are my specialty, but experienced painters will be challenged as well. Call the gallery at (989) 362-5613 to register.


NATURE JOURNALING: A WATERCOLOR/WRITING RETREAT at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan (just south of Cadillac) for August 20-22, 2019. It’s a beautiful conference center in the middle of 153 acres of wooded hills on Center Lake so there is lakeshore, a fire pit, picnic tables, kayaks, nature trails, and plenty of places to gather outside for instruction in the sun or shade, then we’ll separate for some alone time to write and paint in this beautiful natural space. The cooks at this retreat center are phenomenal, and they can accommodate all special diets. Meals and snacks are abundant. Rooms are comfortable and very clean. The whole inside is air conditioned and there is wifi throughout the buildings and a TV in the main lobby, although you might not even want to look at it. Leave the outside world behind for three days and connect with your thoughts as you take your journal in hand and reflect on nature and find the creativity within you through writing, drawing, and painting. Cost is $595 for 3 days and 2 nights, with supply kits available to purchase. Call or email me for more information and to register (231-818-6365, Enrollment for this retreat will be 15-20 participants. See for photos and more information about this lovely retreat center in the heart of the lower peninsula of Michigan.


I love meeting friends old and new on Facebook as we connect over artwork. I post almost every day: sometimes it’s a new painting, sometimes it’s an old favorite of mine, and often it’s a page from my sketchbook. FB follower Kay Gugala likes these best. She wrote in a comment: “I love it when you share your sketchbook. You do such a great job of capturing your memories this way.  Better than a camera.”  Thanks, Kay! Come join the fun on Facebook--you can find me at “Watercolor Paintings by Mary Lou Peters

My books make a nice gift for loved ones and friends on your holiday list. Each page has a watercolor illustration from an original painting of mine, along with a Bible verse, meditation, and prayer. These can be purchased from my website.


Many of the 43 Road Scholar students I’ve taught in the last few weeks were learning watercolor painting as beginners. It all came back to me that this is rather scary and intimidating whenever we try something new. We put ourselves out there for others to see, we are quick to judge ourselves, and sometimes we don’t live up to our own high expectations. One of our evening programs at the conference center was a music group, The Inland Strings, that played a song by Guy Clark—“Always Trust Your Cape.” (Think Superhero) The refrain repeats this profound statement: “He did not know he could not fly----so he did. He’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. So spread your arms and hold your breath, and always trust your cape.” Last week that became a mantra of my own. Lately I find myself living that way; I always trust my cape and know that somehow things will work out.