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Neal combines observation with memory and imagination to create images in which he attempts to transform the beauty of nature or the ordinary and everyday into a work of art that is rooted in tradition beauty with a contemporary vision. His inspiration can come from the quality of the light at a certain time of day, an extraordinary view or the underlying beauty of the commonplace. He finds great joy in discovering the relationship between the divine and nature and hopes the viewer can sense something bigger than the scene before them; something with a larger sense of purpose.
Neal became interested in marine art at an early age. He attended regattas up and down the east coast with his family. When he was younger he spent most of his vacations with his family at the shore. He worked in a boatyard where they built the Lightnings, Star Class and One Design boats. During this time he also did paintings of the sea and sailing boats. After high school he attended the Philadelphia College of Art (University of the Arts) as an illustration major. After graduating, he started his career as a freelance illustrator and did book covers, advertising and editorial illustration and many other projects and commissions.
Some of Neal's most recent exhibitions include: A Two Man show at the Chestnut Hill Gallery in Philadelphia and the American Society of Marine Artists 30th Anniversary traveling exhibition and the International Marine Art Exhibitions and Modern Marine Masters exhibitions at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic CT. Past exhibitions include: Sea Fever - An Exhibit of the American Society of Marine Artists a the Cold Spring Whaling Museum of Long Island, The Vero Beach Museum of Art (National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists), The Gallery on Merchants Square (Save the Bay Foundation Show), The Penobscot Marine Museum (The Art of Lobstering Show); Art of the Sea Gallery, (A Gathering of Marine Masters Show), The Society of Illustrators show in NY, The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, The University Art Gallery/Museum of Western Illinois University andThe Philadelphia College of Art and the Philadelphia Art Institute.
Neal's work has been featured in Artist Magazine, ASMA News, Marine Art Quarterly and American Artist magazines. He recently won the top prize in the Utrecht 60th Anniversary Art Competition of over 12,000 entries. He was also a finalist and won Honorable Mention in the Artists Magazine annual competition. He received awards at: The Maritime Gallery's International Marine Art Exhibition Yachting Award and Award of Excellence; the Penobscot Marine Museum, The Garden State Watercolor Society, The Art Directors Club of Philadelphia, Award of Excellence; The Artists Guild of the Delaware Valley, Gold and Silver medals plus others.
Neal has had numerous one man and group shows plus commissions, including major commissions for the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and The National Civil War Museum.