Who is this Neal guy?

So you want to know who this Neal guy is and what lousy art school told him that he was an artist? Well the good news is that I have not ruined any art schoolís reputation as I have never attended one. The art you see is raw and untrained. If you are curious why it even exists here is a bit about me.

Like most children, I liked to draw. And like most children, my parents thought that I had a talent. But hey, these were my parents! So I didnít make much of it. Drawing for me was a way to express my interests. Without a doubt, my interests were airplanes and especially ships. Maritime disasters like that of the R.M.S. Titanic ( before it was discovered and then butchered in that James Cameron movie ) the R.M.S. Lusitania, Empress of Ireland, General Slocum, etc. fascinated me. Giant but
fragile ships with thousands of people at their mercy. I wanted to understand how they were built and how they worked. Then I would draw pictures, lots and lots of pictures ( and build numerous plastic model kits ). My father would tell me to draw him something other than a ship. Huh? what else is there? Oh yeah, airplanes! ( I donít think that was what he was going for ).

Off the coast of Wales, Christmas 1983
Onward through school I went, drawing pictures somewhat to the detriment of my education. Teachers became frustrated with me but there wasnít much that they could do. I didn't like public school and didn't work very hard unless the subject matter interested me ( like science and drafting ). In high school an educator tried to direct me into an art curriculum but it was pretty much ingrained in me by others that you couldnít make a living being an artist. Anyway, there was also a big wide world out there that I wanted to see. To me, working on a ship was the way to see that world. So I set my art talent aside as a recreational activity and went to school to be a Marine Engineer and work aboard merchant ships.
Working on a ship was everything that I had dreamed it would be. I traveled around the world on 3 ships as an apprentice engineer and met unique and interesting people who I learned much from. But once I finished my education in 1986 the US Maritime industry was in great decline. Because of this there were few jobs to be had at sea. So I settled for a position with a large car ferry operation. There, to pass the time, I started drawing cartoons of the employees and the comical escapades that they got into (there were many).
Inside a ship's boiler steam drum, 1983

Volunteering on the USS Olympia, 1988
My cartoons were very popular and again I started hearing about this talent that I had which should not be wasted. I listened, but still didnít think that there was any real quality to what I was doing. Most all of what I drew was from memory so the results were mere representations of the subjects. My people came out mostly as caricatures. One day I decided that perhaps I should get more disciplined and see what I could draw. I decided to work on people first by using models in advertisements. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to draw people from a photograph. Maybe there was something there after all.
Happier days with Jane in Europe, 1992
My world really changed when I met a woman who had a mutual interest in classical music and tolerated music from the 1920's and 30's. My wife Jane. I wasnít going to marry just anyone, and that, Jane was not. She was intelligent and articulate. Jane accentuated my talents and tempered my faults. The kindest and most genuine person I have ever met. She, more than anyone else motivated me to explore my art and in directions I never considered. Having been an art history major in college, she loved going to art museums ( places that I never had any real interest in visting ) but it was fun with her and she taught me a great deal. I started looking at the paintings and thinking that I too could do this. But color! wait a minute, that was something I had only attempted in the past and was not too happy with the result. So instead, I decided to get really serious with my pencil work and created the series of World War II aviation art. I showed the aviation art around and people wanted to buy them. Instead of selling the originals I had prints made. And with the wonder of the internet and Ebay started selling the prints to an audience of millions. Using my technical background I wrote my own code and created this website to see if there really was any interest in my other art. Sure enough, there was.
Hiking in New Hampshire, 1992
For Christmas of 2003 Jane gave me an easel in an attempt to have me try oils again. I went right to work. The paintings in my on-line gallery are the result ( they are in the order that they were painted, my first one, a Vermont landscape is not shown ) If it were not for Jane, there is no doubt that the only paintings that you would have seen from me would have been ships and planes. I wanted to show her that I was capable of much more. Then one day in March of 2005, tragedy struck us. My beloved wife Jane, mother of our children, was diagnosed with a serious form of leukemia. We fought it together, but Jane did not survive the treatments. What a terrible disease. I donít know how Jane was able to gather the strength to fight for the 5 months that she did. I don't know if I could have done the same.

Kayaking with my daughters, 2004

New paintings came fewer and far between as I focused all my efforts toward raising our 2 daughters. Now that they have matured into fine adults and are on their own I have additonal free time to pursue more painting. Hopefully you will take the opportunity to poke around my website and find an image that you like to look at and perhaps purchase. The biggest thrill to me is that somebody out there likes something that I rendered so much that they would display a print of it on their wall. Who would have guessed from my feeble scratchings of years ago.

Neal Painting, 2006

Neal, 2008

Neal, 2010

Neal, 2013

Neal, 2020

Neal, 2024