Elaine Hamilton-O‘Neal was born near Catonsville, Maryland in 1920 and studied at the Maryland Institute. In 1949 she continued her education at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City where she studied under Diego Rivera. Hamilton married William O’Neal in 1942, a scientist in early aerospace engineering, and although the couple rarely lived together they were mutually supportive of each other’s careers.
Elaine Hamilton-O‘Neal has exhibited her murals and abstract paintings internationally on numerous occasions and showed twice at the Venice Biennale. Hamilton also had a passion for high mountain climbing and ascended the K2, also known as the Savage Mountain due to the high fatality rate of its climbers.