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About Me


When I was a child I wanted to be an artist, writer and veterinarian. (I ended up loosely following two out of the three career paths!)

From elementary school through high school I studied with a local print maker, Carol MacDonald, in summer camps and private classes. The classes involved print making, drawing and painting. My high school also had a good art program, which allowed me to explore several other media types.

I was surprised and delighted to get my first commission from a stranger who saw my work at the school’s senior art show.

I toured several art schools, but my father was battling cancer throughout my high school years and I ultimately elected to stay in Vermont and be closer to family. I went to the University of Vermont and majored in Studio Art, with a minor in sociology.

While I was in college I worked part time with animals; first in a doggie daycare, then in a kennel within an animal hospital. I soon was promoted to an assistant to the veterinarians and technicians. During this time I did several portrait commissions, as well as my first pet portrait.

I studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy at SACI (Studio Art Centers International). There was an abundance of art to see in Italy, which I explored in detail. I was especially inspired by Caravaggio. This was my little taste of art school!

For one summer in college I also studied with a renowned landscape painter, Frank Mason. I learned a lot from him about painting from life, and creating depth and a sense of atmosphere.

When I graduated from college I juggled my career in the veterinary field (eventually moving to a different animal hospital as a veterinary technician, and subsequently lead technician and human resources manager) and my art career.

I did many art fairs and gallery group shows, winning awards for several of my paintings. I also established a name for myself with painting pet portraits, of which I have now painted over 50 commissioned pieces. I have started incorporating more reflected light and color, which I attribute to figure painting classes taken with artist, Gail Salzman.

I currently live in Fletcher with my husband and two young children. The gorgeous Vermont landscape inspires me on a daily basis.

My other recent inspirations include the cows in a pasture adjacent to our property, the wildflowers and grasses, and freshly cut fruits and vegetables. (You can expect to see some series involving these subjects in the near future!)

Some of the work that you see is mixed media. Acrylic paint and fabric, paper, sand, or other materials. I also have a few paintings in oils. However, the majority of my paintings are in acrylic, and that is the medium that I continue to work in.

At age 40 my body is beginning to feel the effects of working with big dogs and leaning over exam tables. I have started taking steps to focus more on my art and easing out of the veterinary field. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made and look forward to more creating! Thank you so much for checking out my art!

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elizabeth cleary


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