Mcleish has a Masters degree in Fine Art (Painting) and has been a practicing artist for many years. He has exhibited both locally and internationally. He has taught drawing at a number of tertiary institutions. He co ordinated an artist run gallery called Temple Studio for over 10 years. More recently he has worked managing a highly regarded indigenous art gallery. The gallery closed at the end of 2014 and he now spends his time working in his studio on Phillip Island on a more permanent basis.
The nature of his art practice has shifted over time. His early work was focused on an exploration of cross cultural possibilities, enabled to a degree by a number of residencies in Asia. More recently his practice has shifted towards locating the emotional/psychological potential of representations of the natural environment.
In the past he has made artworks in a variety of mediums, for example: painting, printmaking, photography and installation works in a variety of materials. At present he is working primarily in water based mediums on paper.