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‘I was born to be an artist’: How painting from an early age has helped Mary Louise Butterworth sell artwork across the globe

Art with feeling: Mary Louise Butterworth creates thought provoking paintings.

Making special moments last longer is a work of art for Mary Louise Butterworth.

With just a paintbrush to hand and a canvas by her side, Mary Louise creates artwork that speaks to the soul and stirs the emotions.

From a striking sunset over Aberdeen’s beach ballroom and dramatic night reflections along Union Street to mysterious city nightscapes and urban spaces, it’s evident that Mary Louise sees beauty in mystery and intrigue.

Beauty in darkness: The atmospheric winter sky lights up Aberdeen’s Union Street from the Castlegate.

“It’s such a treat when someone takes one of my paintings home and they feel something when they see it – I love that,” said Mary Louise who is based in Aberdeen.

“It feels really special if someone connects with your paintings, it’s a lovely experience when that happens.”

Art in her DNA

Pictured as a tot painting under the watchful eye of her dad, none other than the renowned Scottish landscape artist Howard Butterworth, it was clear that Mary Louise would follow in her daddy’s footsteps.

“My dad was a huge influence as he taught me how to paint,” said Mary Louise, who grew up in Glenmuick.

“There were always art materials everywhere in the house so as soon as I could pick up a brush, I was painting.

“I always wanted to be an artist, I think I was born to do.”

Born to paint: Mary Louise learns to paint under the watchful eye of her dad, the renowned Scottish landscape artist Howard Butterworth.

Art therapy

After struggling to find a course that focused on painting, Mary Louise instead opted to study philosophy and psychology at Edinburgh University before returning to Aberdeen to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

“I always really interested in art therapy and the therapeutic benefits of art so I went to study something that would tie in with my painting,” said Mary Louise.

For Mary Louise, painting is so much more than just creating a pretty picture that hangs on a wall.

Painting a rosy picture: Mary Louise says nature inspires her paintings.

“I paint a lot of different subjects but there’s always an emotional thing to them,” said Mary Louise.

“It’s about the feelings and spaces they create.

“It’s like when you feel that connection to nature, there’s something really stunningly amazing about it and you just want to capture that feeling.

“So I wanted to create these spaces for relaxation and contemplation as you feel better for it, it’s therapeutic.”

Magic in mystery: A cyclist makes their way home past His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen.

Worldwide collectors

Mary Louise’s love of painting shines through in her thought provoking pieces which now hang in homes from Aberdeen to Australia.

But what makes painting so special to Mary Louise is the way it can make people feel.

“People can put their own thoughts and feelings onto the painting,” said Mary Louise.

“How I paint is very emotional and I have my own reasons for painting but I’m really interested in what people see when they look at my paintings and the emotions they feel.”

In darkness there is light: A stranger heads towards the lights of education, salvation and damnation.

Landscapes and nature

Best known for her mesmerising Aberdeen nightscapes, during lockdown Mary Louise was also drawn to painting landscapes and nature.

“There’s this painting I did after lockdown when the snowdrops came out,” said Mary Louise.

“It was called “Awaken” because it was the first sign of hope that something good was going to happen and that nature will find a way.”

Stunning sunset: Mary Louise used paint to bring to life the last light over the Ythan Estuary.

Helping others

Using the power of painting to help others is also very close to Mary Louise’s heart after her mum Hilary passed away from cancer in 2012.

“That was quite a devastating thing that happened,” said Mary Louise.

“I would show her my paintings when they were done and I would always ask for her opinion so I couldn’t paint for a while.

“She was a huge part of the family business and she done a lot of charity work so I think a lot of the community work that I do comes from her.

“I’m trying to continue what she did and I will really try to do as much as I can.”

Roses are red: Mary Louise puts her heart and soul into her paintings.

Since her mum passed away, Mary Louise has helped to raise thousands of pounds to support others who are going through similar situations.

“My most cherished memory was the charity auction we organised as a tribute to my mum,” said Mary Louise.

“It raised £22,000 for the Friends of Anchor charity.

Awaken: Capturing the snowdrops after lockdown was a special moment for Mary Louise.

“I was absolutely blown away, it was such a cool moment.

“I always think that art can do so much good.

“It’s also therapeutic and it brings people together, it’s very powerful.”

Urban life in the heart of the city.

Community projects

Together with her charity work, Mary Louise also set up Elev8arts, in a bid to bring art to the people while connecting businesses, the community and charities to artists.

And to experience the otherwordly effect of Mary’s artwork at first-hand, a trip to the Butterworth Gallery in Ballogie is a must.

Capturing special moments: This stunning painting shows Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom in all it’s glory.

Run by her sister Sarah Harker, the gallery also features exquisite work by her father Howard.

Painting a picture of what the future might looks like, Mary is just keen to keep working from Kekun, the city art studio space she shares with her partner John Reid while continuing her charity work and creating dramatic pieces for anyone to buy.

The broken wall: Mary Louise worked with the renowned street artist Fintan Magee to create this double wall feature as part of the Nuart Aberdeen public arts initiative in 2017.

For more information about Mary Louise go to her website,  Facebook or Instagram pages.