• thomas neel scenic view
  • butterfly in clouds
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Tom Neel

Make Your Point, Your Focal Point

Make sure your painting has a focal point!

I could make this particular blog post very short or very long, but I’m going to keep it to the point!  Art is simply a form of creative expression.

Creativity - Decisions and Adjustments

Decisions, decisions!


Art begins with a vision, but it’s a whole bunch of tiny decisions that make it a reality. If you paint paintings, or dance or sculpt or write, or even act, the completed work is always the process and results of hundreds of small decisions, movements or words. It is their collective being which creates a whole. In a sense, one small change in any one of those decisions is the creation of a new piece of art.

When Frustration Calls


Every artist will find times of frustration. It goes with our world as much as the bliss of being lost in creation. Those times when time itself seems to stand still and we awake from the process of being engrossed in that which we love, and yet the hands on the clock did move, a lot.

There’s Only One Reason To Raise Your Prices

Selling art isn't for the reckless.

Because you can! Not because you should. Your market dictates your prices, not you. So what do I mean by - because you can? It means because you can and your art will still sell. Not just because you feel like it. You may feel like buying a new car too, and maybe you can technically obtain it through financing. But that doesn’t mean you should, or that you can really afford it, does it?

What Do You Do With Your Ideas?

What do you do with creative ideas that pop into your head?

Ideas are precious and they can also be fleeting. They can come at any moment, and be gone in the next. They can offer the most wonderful opportunity or become an opportunity wasted or lost. An idealess artist becomes at best a renderer, not a true creator, so not grabbing and tightly holding an idea can be paralyzing.

Learn To Listen To Your Clients

Listening leads to success

After a career of painting for others, there are just so many lessons I could offer in the service of offering commissions. None though, is as important as listening. When you step into your studio to paint, the simple truth is that while you may have been wonderfully inspired, it is truthfully only you that you are listening to. You are the driving force of creation. You are calling the shots and you have to live with the results.

Plant Your Seeds

plant your seeds to relationships

A person, no actually more than one person has told me, it must be great to paint paintings for a living. I usually end up saying, yes, I’m blessed to paint paintings, but I have to actually sell them for a living. Blessed is the understatement here, because for some reason my ability to paint paintings is actually fairly equally proportioned with my ability to sell them.

Thank You Creativity

Creative leaf photo

This will be one of the easiest blog posts ever. I’m am so very thankful for good health, thankful for my wife Linda and my family. I’m thankful for faith and wonderful relationships. But trust me, I am very, very thankful for my creative abilities.

Let The Things You Make, Make You!

An artist making art

One of the things I love most about being an artist is that the very nature of the word means I make things. Artists make art. We make music, we make dance, we make drama and we make stories. Many beginners or even emerging artists may not truly think of themselves this way, as a maker of not only things, but thought provoking things of originality and ingenuity, and human spirit.

Trying another Medium

Art mediums to try

No matter how you found your way to creativity or as likely, how it found its way to you, you have found your creative voice. You are speaking your language, but have you thought much about being multi lingual? Have you allowed yourself to experiment?

The Currency of Meeting People

The currency of meeting people

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a currency with the faces of every living person on each bill, and just by having that bill you could meet that person? Meeting people is one of the greatest forms of wealth, period. It’s one of the reasons why a person like Oprah, as an example, is to me really so wealthy beyond their dreams and bank account.

Creative Time Of Day

Creative time of day

Many artists find that there is a time of day when they are hyper sensitive to ideas and a free flowing mind. For me it’s the morning, just as I’m waking, but still lying in bed. My wife would tell you that I’m an idea guy, always coming up with new things. But first thing in the morning for some reason is the best time of all.

You Make Things

Hands that create things

It is not as easy to look inside your mind as it is to look at your hands. The two have a great connection though. Look at them, your hands, front and back. Look at every finger and thumb, at every line and callus. Look at your hands that make things by way of skillful touch, grasp and feel.

What Do You Write On Your Artwork?

Copyright info on the back of a painting

So, your artwork is completed, and it’s time to sign it, what else should you write on your artwork? Well first, let’s talk about why you should even sign your artwork! Art is not only a creative thing, it’s a original creative property. You own the rights to this creation and certainly there is no better way in beginning your proof than signing it or making your mark.

Wellness Through Creativity

Low stress help promote wellness

We all care about health, particularly our health, and some certainly more than others. I have been fortunate to be healthy, but my parents weren’t so lucky. My father had a gene related ailment and both he and my mother were smokers. In the end their wellness failed them. Hidden message here - don’t smoke.

Purging Your Studio

Tom Neel's Studio

We artists can be like little squirrels trying to hide nuts for the winter. We put things here, we puts things there, we basically put stuff everywhere! It is as if we grow stuff in the way of odd stretcher bars, left over frames, photos, notes and sketches. Between the tools of the trade and the keeping of keeping on, we can be overrun by our own creative selves.

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