Tom Neel - Founder, Editor, Writer, Artist, Photographer
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Maryland not so far from the family farm in Neelsville, Tom was creatively inspired from infancy on. Drawing and painting, fine-scale model building, writing for the school paper and lead to sign painting, photography and a vast automotive career which included racing, customization and eventually sales management in California.
Feeling creatively stifled, it was time to reboot and he migrated to Virginia in the late 1980s where he would meet his wife to be Linda, owner at the time of Leesburg Gallery of Art. Tom, a self-taught painter began to sell his fine art there over 26 years ago. The creative duo would go onto join the management team of fine art publisher, The Greenwich Workshop in Connecticut for 4 years, before coming back to Virginia where Tom has been a full-time professional artist for over 20 years.
While Tom Neel does paint other places and other things, mostly in oil, some in acrylic, he is well known for his rich oil paintings which show his emotion and passion for the Piedmont region of Virginia. But to see a body of his work is to truly see wide artistic diversity and vision, as almost half of what he paints is commissioned by private and corporate collectors and offers a wide range of subject matter. Click here to view Tom's artwork.
What goes around can come around in a good way too for an artful life. Tom is still known as an accomplished fine scale modeler with examples of his work in worldwide collections including Ferrari. He is an avid photographer, writes his monthly column - The Artist's Perspective, for The Middleburg Eccentric newspaper and serves on the board of the Loudoun Education Foundation.
His dream though is Live An Artful Life. Never one to miss a chance to share his passion and help others find theirs is a strong inspirational and motivational way of life - an artful life.
Linda Neel - Founder, Associate Editor, Artist, Graphic Design
Born in Denver, Colorado, educated in IT management, Linda Neel actually grew up with two absolute loves - textiles and horses. Early on, her passion for textiles was a passionate hobby and horses a way of life. So much so, that her love of breeding and dressage would bring her to Virginia in 1984. Ready for the new spin on life, she also opened Leesburg Virginia's first art gallery, Leesburg Gallery of Art. The gallery became well known for its fine art, fine art reproductions, and distinctive museum quality framing.
In 1990, Linda and artist husband, Tom Neel, accepted a unique opportunity to join the management team of fine art publisher, The Greenwich Workshop, in Connecticut. For four years they represented some of the nation's top artists, before returning to Virginia. In that time, Linda had also chosen to leave her life of horses behind. Another new beginning.
Her unquenchable thirst for textiles became an unstoppable creative journey of workshops and experimentation, but finding her love of dye and silk, as a true medium, was the game changer. First, her colorful contemporary silk scarves became a hit with clients, while also exhibiting and acquiring awards at textile shows around the country. Linda's knowledge of textiles as an artistic medium is vast, which allowed her to achieve her ultimate goal of creating fine art. Linda's art and scarves can be viewed at her website, LindaNeel.com
Leaving her the last years of her IT career behind in 2008, another new beginning was opening Live An Artful Life Gallery in 2009 with her husband - artist Tom Neel. It was located about an hour west of Washington, D.C. ironically in Virginia's horse country, the gallery's specialty was fine art and fine artisan pieces made in American. Live An Artful Life has created friendships with both artists and customers that have deepened Linda's understanding and enjoyment for those seeking an artful lifestyle.
Linda Hendrickson - Artist, Art Teacher, and Wildlife Lover
Linda Hendrickson's degrees, a BFA from the University of Arizona and a ME from Idaho State University, have helped open the doors to many opportunities such as teaching art to Junior High students. She says, "Art has always been a way for me to express the joy I have in my surroundings. Always curious and ever exploring, I remember drawing or crafting in answer to "what to do" during Minnesota winters while growing up". For more than 20 years she was able to design projects in paper, wood, textiles--cross stitch, quilts, toys for craft book publishers. However, since taking a workshop more than a dozen years ago, her passion has been acrylic painting. She describes her style as "whimsical impressionism". Linda loves to paint pet portraits, animals of all sorts and "Topsy Turvy" landscapes. Often experimenting with mixed media, her works are colorful, full of texture and "happy accidents". See Linda's artwork at Studio4Linda, Instagram: @studio4linda FB: LindaHendricksonartist, Pinterest: Studio4Lind
Amy Hutto - Artist, Writer
Amy Hutto is a working artist, freelance writer, and former art educator of 23 years. Originally from Texas, she has lived in Colorado and now resides in New York. Amy enjoys spending long days in her studio, a family and friends-filled kitchen, and exploring the countryside with her newly retired husband. Of her art and writing, she says, “It is exciting to create something that never existed before, from a blank canvas and tubes of paint; to convey ideas, emotions, and feelings without having to speak; it makes me happy, and I want to share that with others. With writing, I’m painting a picture with words, words that I hope will inspire, educate, commiserate and like my art communicates the significance of "Living an Artful Life.” See Amy’s art at West End Gallery-Corning, NY; The Leigh Gallery-Chicago, IL; and Aspen and Evergreen Gallery-Estes Park, CO. She can also be found on her website at www.ahuttoartworks.com, On Instagram @ajhutto66, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/acrylicgirl
Elaine Weiner-Reed - Artist, Writer
Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) is an award-winning, internationally known Artist. Bilingual in French, Weiner-Reed currently resides in Maryland, where she has lived and worked for over 38 years as a professional artist and writer. Recently retired from a tandem 37-year career with the Government, she engages as a creative mentor and research associate with professionals at Johns Hopkins University Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, among others. Her mind and heart are always fully engaged, and her art and life has been and always will be steeped in meaning and filled with purpose, creativity, hope, gratitude, insight, intuition, and sincerity. Known for her Uncommon Vision and often referred to as an Abstract Expressionist Artist and painter of people, Weiner-Reed finds inspiration in life, nature, and everyday encounters and experiences. In addition to painting, sculpting, and mounting solo exhibitions, she is currently working on revising several children's books she drafted over 20 years ago.
Diane Helentjaris - Writer, Photographer
Diane Helentjaris is a freelance writer and photographer. Her love of the written word and visual image began early – she was the little girl with her nose constantly in a book as well as the one with the plastic Girl Scout camera. But she also loved science. Off to Michigan State for college from rural Ohio, she began her studies in Studio Art. Untrained, she grew frustrated with her lack of drawing technique, switched to Humanities and went on to become a clinical and public health physician. During her years as a physician, she continued with her photography, exhibiting both regionally and nationally. Observation skills, a genuine interest in people’s stories, and clear communication are critical to the practice of clinical medicine; good writing is the coin of the realm for public health administrators. Since leaving medicine, Diane has combined these in her freelance writing and photography. She is (of course) working on a book. Diane lives with her family in Leesburg, Virginia. To view Diane's artwork please go to her website DianeHelentjaris.zenfolio.com, FB DianeHelentjaris, Twitter @Helentjaris
Steve Loya - Art Teacher, Artist, Writer
Steve Loya is a true believer in the power of art and creativity and makes every effort to explore this in his own life. His work is motivated by a strong desire to communicate and express visually something beyond words or spoken language, however serious or playful his approach and subject matter may be. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibits, juried and group shows, galleries, and small businesses throughout the Northern Virginia region, DC, NV, PA, MD, NY as well as in Japan, Greece, and the UK. His work has also been featured and published in a handful of physical and online artist publications and books during the past decade. You can find more of Steve's work on his web page, at SteveLoya.com.
Matt Bednarsky - Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Writer
Singer/Songwriter Matt Bednarsky’s music blends pop/rock, folk, jazz, and blues and is characterized by poignant, thoughtful lyrics and soothing yet powerful vocals. The CT-born, NYC-carved, and Nashville-based musician has an expansive internet presence, with over 2.8 million cumulative views on YouTube, and has three full-length studio albums, “A Bigger Picture” (2014), “Two” (2015), and “Luminescence” (2017). He’s opened for British legend Joan Armatrading on multiple occasions, was named a 2015 Artist of the Year by Concerts In Your Home, and has played for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Kim Tapper - Associate Director/Life Coach, ACC, CPCC
With over 20 years as a teacher, director, choreographer, life coach, and mentor, Kim Tapper is credentialed as an ACC through the International Coach Federation, CPCC (Coach Training Institute), as a Life Strategies Coach (Spencer Institute), and holds a BA in Dance Movement Therapy from Goucher College.
As the co-Artistic Director of the Crossroads Dance Project, Kim choreographed over 20 musical theater productions which received multiple nominations from the Metro DC Dance awards.
Today, as Associate Director of "A Place To Be" in Middleburg, VA., Kim coaches individuals to reach their personal goals. She believes in the power of the arts as a strong coaching tool and specializes in working with people with medical challenges, family counseling, and women from ages 13-adult focusing on self-esteem issues and building confidence. At INOVA Loudoun Hospital's Oncology Department, Kim leads "Life Beyond Diagnosis" coaching workshops and has been a guest speaker and teacher for Life With Cancer.