January 27th, 2013

Leah McCloskey

Leah McCloskey in her studio in Salem, NY

Leah and I have known each other for a very long time. Although I did not know her when she was a model, I certainly knew her well when she was a model agent. Tall, gorgeous, and talented, Leah is simply amazing. And disarmingly nice. With her “hey, gang, let’s put on a show’ approach to life, she is also a lot of fun.

Just when I thought I had her pegged, Leah followed her calling to be an artist, left the world of modeling, and got a studio upstate. Now she splits her time between Salem, NY, where she shares her life with a chef (who is into sustainable agriculture, we love that), and NYC where she’s Director of the Exhibition Outreach Program at the Art Students League.

The rural bit doesn’t surprise me since Leah grew up in a pre-revolutionary farm house in Pennsylvania with masses of siblings (7!), 12 dogs, 4 cats, horses, goats, and yes, chickens.

Also not a surprise, animals are primarily the subjects in her work. Her chicken paintings (of the chickens she raises) are my favorites, especially the mixed media ones on newspaper.  Leah does pet portraits on commission and I may have her paint a few members of my own personal animal kingdom (3 dogs and our horses, past and present).

We caught up at her recent solo show and thankfully, Leah agreed to be a KiC profile!

Leah McCloskey paintings

What inspires you? Life, art, food, colors; I love to take drives and really look at the view out the window, (it’s even better when I am not driving! Ha!). Conversations with complete strangers, slowing myself down to really see where I am and what is going on around me. Talented people who have been able to cross the great divide between creating art and having it sell, inspire me the most.

Favorite book? It started with Grimm’s fairy tales as a child and recently, I loved the Stieg Larsen books.  There is nothing like a book to take you to another place in time and that you can’t put down– I hadn’t read anything that had kept me from sleeping in a longtime. I got one sent from London because it was released there before it was released in the US.

Movie? “A Face in the Crowd” if you haven’t seen it it’s a must. A 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan, and the screenplay is by Budd Schulberg. Coming from a business that was all about making stars, it just rang true, still does.

Music? I am all over the place with music.  I listen to classical, especially Baroque, when I paint and I can’t forget to mention Tom Waits, he’s a genius. My secret pastime is tuning into the country station when I am driving around, songs about International Harvesters and Pontoons seem easier to handle.

Style Essentials: Black, black and black with a GREAT Bag and Hermes scarf. Men’s shirts, and flats.

Cannot live without: A men’s white shirt, my readers, and Dan who is the love of my life.

Next Destination: I haven’t wanted to travel on a plane for the past decade; I have been very happy just traveling back and forth from NYC, gardening, painting, seeing family and basically going places that I can drive to like Maine, and PA.  I am getting the bug again, especially since I got an email from an old friend who has opened a bed and breakfast in Malta called 37GOZO. I think I need to go!


what's new


Bianca leather sandals


Floral lace tights


Wool coat with Logo buttons


Nanette shearling-trimmed leather ankle boots


Wool coat with logo buttons


Mid-heel pump with horsebit


Belted jacket coat


Lennox Hiker


New Standard skinny jeans


Heavy cotton poplin trench coat


Sleeveless organza dress


Belted raincoat

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  • Love Leah! I am lucky enough to have a Pet Portrait that she did of our dogs and it is incredible, something I really treasure…

    CMDJanuary 28th, 2013  9:51 AM

  • LOVE this!!! Where is the exhibition?
    Thank You!

    lisa fineJanuary 28th, 2013  10:29 AM

  • I like the chicken “portraits” and the landscapes on the web site. Very nice!

    AprilJanuary 28th, 2013  11:41 AM

  • The exhibition was, and Leah is, full of talent and charm! We love our chic Cassandra chicken who is clucking away happily in Oyster Bay! Thank you Preston!

    PaulaJanuary 28th, 2013  12:02 PM

  • We met Leah at a farmers’ market where we’re vendors, had already met Dan, who has used our lamb.

    We love Leah’s art, and currently have two of her chickens along with over 300 of our own silly hens. One of Leah’s is a somewhat realistic Rhode Island Red rooster; the other a fanciful blue one, had to have a blue one, coveted a blue one.

    Leah’s are the best. I hope a piggy of hers will also be in our future.

    Mary @ Elihu FarmJanuary 28th, 2013  12:46 PM

  • Wow, this was really inspiring! It’s never too late to follow your calling. She seems to live quite the charmed life. Perhaps I’ll dust off my canvases this weekend and get painting! Thanks for profiling her!

    CeceJanuary 28th, 2013  1:44 PM

  • I have known Leah for over 50 years..She never ceases to amaze me.We share some if the same personalty attributes, & love being around her.It’s like we are sister & brother!! I grew up on a farm as well. I now live in a more urban setting, but when I wake up & eat breakfast in the morning, I look at the 2 chicken pictures she painted for me (which are awsome!!) hanging in my kitchen.. I like how they bring back memories of the farm. I’d also like to Thank You for profiling her. Jon M.

    JON MACKJanuary 29th, 2013  10:03 AM

  • Love the art work and 37Goza, gorgeous!

    AnitaJanuary 29th, 2013  3:55 PM

  • Great profile! Preston, do you do profiles of people who have passed on? Leah’s great movie pick brought the great Patricia Neal vividly to mind. Quite a human being.

    JamesJune 28th, 2013  10:08 PM


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