Mary Hoffman

Mary  Hoffman


Since the age of three, Mary L. Hoffman has been drawing and painting and knew without a doubt that when she grew up she’d be a professional artist.

As her artistic skills developed over the years, Mary became best known for her portraiture art.  Portrait commissions helped finance her college studies at The Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio where she earned her BFA in 1989.

For the past 20 years, CEO’s, universities, and collectors from all over the world have commissioned Mary for her elegant oil paintings and charcoal portraiture. 

Some of her well-known portrait clients include the University of Dayton, actress and model Andie MacDowell, and NHL hockey legend Mark Messier.

Soon after graduating, Mary joined the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors and entered several of their juried Fine Art Shows and Exhibits; one of which earned her the “Best of Show” title as well as many “Third Place” and “Honorable Mention” ribbons.  Her final exhibit with The Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors was a large, week-long One-Woman Show which launched her artistic journey to the Southeast. 

Mary then taught Life Drawing, Portrait Painting and Basic Drawing classes a few times a year in Hilton Head Island, SC and continued her portrait business.  

The decision to open an original, homemade ice cream and coffee shop named “The Charleston Ice Cream Factory” brought Mary and her husband to Charleston, SC where Mary continued to teach art classes at The Gibbes Studio – the classroom affiliate to the Gibbes Museum of Art in downtown Charleston.

But it was in 2005 when new life breathed into her artistic abilities after she attended her first ‘Plein Air’ landscape painting workshop. Soon, her ‘Plein Air’ addiction began, and she quickly became a part of a small painting group known as “The Sullivan’s Island Plein Air Painters.”

Mary opened a new door when Mary began to explore prophetic painting, and she has created a limited edition Giclee series of “The Spirit of Courageous.” 

Today, Mary enjoys combining her love of the portrait and figure with painting Plein Air landscapes.  She travels to paint and attend workshops and ‘Plein Air’ paint-outs all over the Eastern United States.  

Mary currently resides with her husband and two children in Summerville, South Carolina.



Life.  That moment in time.  A visual experience captured through the brush strokes on a canvas, conjuring precious memories and taking the viewer to a wistful place; this is my hope - this is my art.

A story is told in the essence of everything.  Beauty is found in the essence.  The story can tell of tragedy or comedy or simply say how beautiful being “ordinary” is.  Although, I don’t believe in “ordinary.” I want to show the viewer that the things usually taken for granted are really worth a second look.  It is my hope that I bring attention to those qualities which surround us daily and offer a new way of seeing the ordinary.  There is nothing more beautiful, to me, than the human form, so when I paint the portrait and the figure as well as any painting I produce, I want to show the world the delight I see before me.

What inspires me almost every time is the way light effects the subject. Light alters and affects the color, the values or shadows and sets the mood of a painting.  A Landscape painting can depict pretty topography but what I hope to capture is how light effects the scene; when the shadows of the trees reach across the sunlit road, for instance.   During my Plein Air paint excursions, what is depicted on canvas is actually not a moment in time but a cumulative experience of the lighting and weather conditions throughout my entire painting day.  It is that moment over the course of time that I capture what I see: inspiration in the face of a traveling sun, threatening or cooperative weather conditions and elements of nature that can be friend or foe.

Brushwork is very important to me and I love the lush, loose brushwork that somehow illustrates the fine elements of a subject without painting every detail.  The viewer’s own eye and imagination finishes that work with a greater degree of finesse. 

Associated Videos

Associated Exhibitions

"What's In a Name?"
Our Season Opener featuring Mary Ann Cope & Mary Hoffman
September 27 - October 27, 2017
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Wind & Waves
A Special Nautical Themed Exhibition
May 4 - May 30, 2016
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