Barbara McCleary

Life Dates:
b. 1941
Artist Biography:
About the artist - Barbara McCleary has loved drawing since she was a child. She began taking drawing lessons at The Center for Creative Design in Detroit while a student in high school and continued during college. She furthered her artistic development at Michigan State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree. Barbara worked as a graphic illustrator in Ann Arbor and at Michigan State University’s Instructional Media Center, doing scientific illustrations for journal publications, scientific papers and preparing displays for the presentation of scientific data. Ms. McCleary then became manager of the IMC Graphics division and their campus graphics consultant. Painting is a relatively new venture for McCleary who began painting in 1996. Her excellent background in drawing, aided by workshops and international painting trips with renowned artists have worked together to bring her sensitive, imaginative work to local and national attention. Her invitation to join the prestigious and nationally recognized women painters group, Alla Prima International, attests to her having become an established talent. Barbara has studied painting in Europe, Mexico and various of the United States with painting greats such as Kevin Macpherson. Ann Templeton, Albert Handell and Richard Schmid. Having retired from Michigan State University in January of 2005, McCleary now paints full-time in her Okemos studio where she also gives limited private and semi-private instruction. She also does commissioned works by private arrangement. Artist's statement: As a student of science and nature, a photographer, traveler and avid gardener, my painting subjects principally involve land and waterscapes. The scenes that I paint, en plein air and in my studio, are primarily the varied and beautiful faces of my home state, Michigan. I also enjoy paintings stemming from my travels to others of the United States as well as Europe and Mexico. I work in oil because of its juicy richness, creamy texture, stunning colors and flexible character. My work offers an impressionist’s involvement with light and shadow with color sometimes pushed just beyond reality. The elements most evident in my paintings are quick, relaxed brush strokes with clear, fresh colors revealing the play of early morning or late afternoon light on natural settings. I like to think that my serene yet vibrant paintings bring my viewers along with me as I happen upon ordinary settings and discover their extraordinary beauty.