In the (Outdoor) Studio with…
Mary Ann Miller, Jacksonville Branch


Sketching the World’s Beauty

Artist working outdoors
Mary Ann Miller sketches in her Scotland “studio.”

By Lucy Arnold, Art Editor

Mary Ann Miller is an art educator, artist, book illustrator, and author. She taught art in Jacksonville, Florida, for 26 years before retiring in 2006. She has published several books based on over 25 years of traveling and sketching in Europe. Miller currently teaches private sketching classes, bookbinding, and painting with special needs adults.

During the pandemic, her “Café Sketchers” class switched to meeting outdoors in parks for plein air painting and picnicking. Miller also used the unexpected pandemic time to participate in creative Facebook groups, online classes, and group art projects via Zoom.

Painted tea bags
Painting on teabags was an activity inspired by artist Ruby Silvious.

“Everything I see seems to spark my creativity,” she says. “I have more ideas than time for them.”

Miller’s inspiration, curiosity, and experimentation have led her to paint on scarves and teabags, create 3-D watercolors in shadowboxes, learn bookbinding, and try her hand at making art books out of almost anything. She even split open a found plastic Jim Beam bottle and made it into a book of bourbons for her grandson.

Her advice to artists is, “Open your eyes and look. See the beauty in the world around you. Live each wonderful day and be grateful. Above all, don’t stress — have fun with your art.”

watercolor painting of Greece
Above, “Greece”; below, “Tuscany,” 8×5 watercolors by Mary Ann Miller

watercolor of Tuscany