"Being creative is one of those cool things.  No need to be perfect at what brings us joy."

Artist Mary Caraway brings her love for nature, teaching and faith into her paintings and spreads the joy wherever she goes.

Mary Caraway attended LSU for Graphic Design and Fine Art.  She was also on the Women's Soccer Team and received several awards in juried art shows and graphic design competitions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  She currently teaches out of a studio space in Fort Collins, Colorado.  She also teaches at several schools, private and group lessons, art shows,

commissioned artwork, and her work is featured at The Elizabeth Hotel, Fox and Clover, Real Deal, The Rainbow Restaurant and more.

Tell us about your experience in graphic design - what inspired you?  What made you decide to start your own business?

The software training and experience is key. It's easy to go out on your own as a designer. If you are reliable and professional you can make it happen.

Transitioning from the corporate world to teaching art - how did this process fit into your life? 


Our children! My husband Ray and I always wanted to raise our kids, like our parents did with us.  So I quit graphic design and played with my boys for many, many amazing years. That's when I really grew up and my character was shaped.  When they were pre-teens, doors opened up for me to teach in local schools.   love being around kids and learned that I love to teach art!  Eventually my confidence grew, and I started leading women’s classes. 

Do you see art as a form of therapy? What are the benefits does one receive by doing art on a regular basis?

There are things we do in life simply because it brings joy into our lives.  Like hiking, running, reading, cooking, singing, etc.  Being creative is one of those cool things. No need to be perfect at what brings us joy.

How does art help with life struggles?


More than 10 years ago, we had a baby girl, Maria.  She passed away in our arms. I am thankful to God for the good friends He had set up in our lives to love us through that loss. I started painting again not long after her death.  It brought me peace and joy at a time I needed it most.


What is the greatest reward you receive by teaching art?

Helping others discover the joy of being brave, creative and making new and sometimes very different friends. It's very cool when they start painting at home on their own too.

What do you say to someone who says “I’m not good at art”?
It's the journey not the destination  - I cant sing, but I still enjoy singing!


Your company name is Wood Pile Art - how did you start painting on wood instead of traditional canvas?


Years ago I began to notice other artists painting on ply wood in coffee shops. Its very affordable and gives a cool texture to the painting. I'm in love with it.


You have a laid back, rustic, country style - what inspires you in your work?

I am so thankful to live up in the foothills near Horsetooth Rock in Fort Collins. Everything around us inspires me, including God.  I feel His joy when I paint.


Do you have a mantra?


Be joyful in hope.  Patient in affliction.  Faithful in prayer.

 - Romans 12:12

What's your favorite recipe?

My go-to is a celery smoothie.  I just love making them!  Here's the recipe:




3 stalks celery

1 banana

1/2 apple, cut into big pieces

1" fresh ginger

1/2 C. spinach

1 C. water or coconut water

1/2 C. frozen strawberries

1/2 C. frozen raspberries

optional: 1/2 C. yogurt, scoop of protein powder


Blend until smooth.  Add a couple ice cubes, if needed for desired consistency

For more information about Mary's art, visit her Facebook page at Mary Caraway, or email her at