A native of Syracuse, New York Mary Ellen McLaughlin studied Fine Art at Munson-Williams-Proctor in Utica, New York and Fine Art and Graphic Arts and Design at the School of Visual Arts, Manhattan. She worked as a graphic artist in New York and a free-lance graphic artist in Central New York. 

A 20+-year moratorium of her study and pursuit of art was ended when she moved to Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Peter Rowe.  With more personal time, she has renewed her long-retired interest in painting and drawing. 

She derives her inspiration from the architecture of the Savannah Historic District, the familiar objects that surround her throughout her home, and the array of plants and flowers found in her Wilmington Island garden.