To me, art is a way of expressing something in two dimensions that normally would be taken for granted by others in life. I love capturing the emotional essence of that moment in time. As I pursue my passion, I hope to capture those precious moments with the magic of a paintbrush or a stick of charcoal by utilizing light, contrast, value and color onto the paper or canvas. My ultimate goal is to take something ordinary and make it something magical and emotional to the viewer.
The ability to accomplish this task is never ending as I continue to seek improvement along my artistic journey. I strive to be the best that I can be with continued learning and experimenting with technique.
MaryAnn Cleary, a native Montanan and accomplished Chemical Engineer, has woven her love of fine art into every aspect of her life. As a well-seasoned global traveler, MaryAnn has lived throughout the American West, overseas on assignment in Suzhou, China, and has finally found her heart in a rustic log home in Cambridge, MN where she enjoys a lazy view of the riverside. MaryAnn has always balanced her loves of both art and science, finding inspiration and relief in the study of fine art. With a backbone built on the basics of drawing and color, MaryAnn adores on-site plein air painting because it helps fund her wanderlust. She has also been known to paint a pretty thing or two from around the house, sometimes a bouquet of flowers, sometimes herself.
MaryAnn was born and raised in Butte, Montana. There she grew to love the outdoors and the big skies of Montana. She attended college at Montana Tech and graduated with a degree in Chemistry, even though her passion was art. After graduation, Maryann married and raised two children, James and Julie. She continued to develop her art passion by painting whenever she could and attending workshops and classes. During this time, she also moved to many areas across the Rocky Mountain region - Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.
While living in Arizona, MaryAnn took several art classes at the Mesa Community College where she refined her drawing and painting skills from the excellent teachers on staff there, who believed that an artist must have basic drawing skills above all else. There she took many life drawing and portrait painting classes as well as other art classes. Historical artists that are some of her favorite influences are: Nicholai Fechin, John Singer Sergeant, Georgia O'Keefe to name a few.
With a relocation assignment by her employer in 2002, MaryAnn found herself working from her home as an engineer in Cambridge, Minnesota. Later that same employer, assigned her to a work assignment in China for two years. In November of 2007, she returned to her home in Minnesota.
Upon returning from China, she decided to fulfill her life long dream of being an "artist". Continuing to reside in Minnesota, she now is a full time artist with a small studio on the lower level of her log home that faces the Rum River (also known as the Spirit River, thus the name Spirit River Studio). She continues to enjoy the outdoors with canoeing along the river in front of her home and hiking and camping whenever possible. She enjoys painting on site as a plein air painter or painting a still life set up in her studio from objects she has collected as well as working from studies or personal photographs.