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LIVE AN ARTFUL LIFE ARCHIVE was founded by artists and past gallery owners Tom and Linda Neel as a digital source for inspiration, education, motivation, and wellness content for artists, artisans and art enthusiasts. While that website has been retired, its articles from guest contributors are archived below.
Looking for more Live An Artful Life content? Tom Neel's articles and blog posts have been integrated into other sections of this website.

Characters Tell Their Own Stories

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Creatives live creatively. Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed draws parallels between her art and other facets of her life. She notes that the lives of creative people tend to reflect their style and originality in many ways – from how they entertain or cook a meal, to how they teach their children, put together a work outfit, manage a project, or decorate their homes. In this article, Elaine connects her painting to her writing – specifically now that she has begun her latest adventure – novel-writing. Read more to discover what Elaine means when she says that her characters sometimes take control to tell their own stories in their own unique way – whether on paper or on canvas!

You Are What You Eat

| Matt Bednarsky

I once heard an interview with living legend slide guitarist Derek Trucks (seriously, he’s relatively young, but this cat’s guitar work will ripple out for years to come) where he spoke about how careful he is with what he listens to. He wanted to take in particular music through his ear canals, music that would have a beneficial effect on him. He has a vision for the music he makes, and wants to contribute to, and not subtract from or taint, that vision via the art he absorbs.

Wanted: Committed Artist To Develop Serious Mindset, Part 4

| Amy Hutto

Participating in the Artist Community, Shows, and Competitions

In my previous three articles emphasis has been on the basic principles of becoming a professional artist through focused development of artistic vision, organizational business practices, creating an online presence, and choosing appropriate sales platforms to meet your goals. All of these critical aspects of being a professional artist are ongoing and will evolve with you as you navigate the ever-changing art world. One of the best ways I’ve found to stay up on current trends and to avoid the potential of becoming isolated in my practice is to participate in artist communities; from the local grass-roots organizations to long-established national associations, as well as art shows, exhibits, and competitions.

Breathing “Live” Into Art

| Matt Bednarsky

Art is at an interesting stage these days.

While creative expression continues to flourish, we have unparalleled, on-demand access to nearly any work we want. Watch on Netflix a timeless film at 2 PM on a Thursday. Browse the revered paintings of the 19th century through a few clicks of a mousepad. Stream pioneering jazz followed by today’s pop hits followed by 70s disco all on a device that fits in your pocket.

The Pros and Cons of "Likes"

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

As independent professional artists, we often have to wear many hats that might or might not suit our personalities or backgrounds. Marketing, sales, public speaking, website maintenance, etc. In this article, Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed discusses some hazards she has experienced and observed in the domain of marketing on social media platforms. She confides that she is still learning and trying to determine the right balance of marketing online as it suits her own philosophy and goals. She cautions us to stay alert to the pitfalls so as not to lose our way or our artistic voice. She questions: How much is too much of a potentially good thing? How real is this virtual world? Keep reading to learn more…

Breaking Down Genres

| Matt Bednarsky

For whatever reason, the human brain likes boxes. We love to be able to categorize things for the sake of comparison and contrast, to simplify our understanding of the vast diversity of what’s out there.

Cooperative Art Galleries: Collaboration and Camaraderie

| Diane Helentjaris

For the overly civilized, things get a tad desolate at the midpoint of the hour-long drive between Winchester and Leesburg. Don’t get me wrong. The drive includes some of Virginia’s most gorgeous and history-imbued scenery. Near Berryville, giant sycamores zigzag in a vale, tracing the path of a narrow creek.

The Artist's Perspective - Challenge

| Thomas Neel

A couple of months ago, I offered what I hoped to be a few simple things to inspire and stimulate you in the way of a fun little creative challenge. My plan was to back it up the next month with part 2, but unfortunately, I’m writing so much these days that after I wrote what turn out to be last month’s story on Positive and Negative Space, I overlooked part 2 of my challenge.

Wanted: Committed Artist To Develop Serious Mindset, Part 3

| Amy Hutto

Getting Your Art “Out There”

In the previous two articles on establishing yourself as a professional artist, I’ve covered some of the initial basics you’ll need to take care of and now it’s time to shift the focus to the nitty-gritty. You’ve got a stock of art, your business name, tax id, and are working on a regular schedule, and of course, you’ve got good quality photos of your art.

When in Doubt, Start

| Matt Bednarsky

I recently had a conversation with a young fellow who became particularly intrigued when I told him I’m a Singer/Songwriter. He is relatively recently removed from college, and in a job he tolerates that pays the bills, but ultimately, his joy would be to write for a living.

Treasure From Trash - The World of Upcycling Artists

| Diane Helentjaris

Leaving his life-long Cleveland roots was just too much to ask. Facing a job-mandated move, Mark Langan abandoned his two-decades-long career in transportation.

The Artist's Perspective - Negative Space

| Thomas Neel

The space of any blank canvas is an interesting one to fill. Be it large or small, to see your subject matter in life and then visualize it on your canvas as a completed work of art, can be challenging. But it is where all painters begin, with nothing, nothing but blank space.

You Never Know What's Around The Corner

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

August 2019 was an interesting month for this artist. It was a month of personal challenges besides it being my birthday month. That alone is usually enough to make me want to run away, but this year had something special in store for me.

Wanted: Committed Artist To Develop Serious Mindset, Part 2

| Amy Hutto

Establishing a Game Plan

In my previous article, “Wanted: Serious Artist With a Serious Mindset” (please read if you haven’t already) I discussed some important things to consider when moving from a hobbyist (for this series hobbyist refers to someone who creates art and sells occasionally-not referring to skill level) to full-on professional artist (note I said full-on, not full-time because there’s quite a difference).

The Evolution of the Receiver

| Matt Bednarsky

You’re standing next to a friend, observing the exact same painting. To you, it’s obvious. Seeing how the trees dance in delight of a torrential downpour, this work of art clearly shows the painter’s affinity for and comfort with thunderstorms and nature.

The Artist's Perspective - Motivation

| Thomas Neel

For those of you who read this column and who are not artists, this one is especially for you! Certainly, those who are artists will find logic and inspiration, but I know a group of you follow along out of creative enthusiasm, for which I am very appreciative and grateful.

Wanted: Committed Artist To Develop Serious Mindset

| Amy Hutto

Qualifications: great multi-tasker; organized, dedicated, creative, skilled, average to above-average accounting abilities, able to maintain inventory, packing and shipping aficionado, with ongoing ability to meet multiple deadlines. Willing to be rejected, criticized, endure money droughts, and paint-stained clothing. Sense of humor a must. Qualifications changes; ongoing…

The Most Important Music

| Matt Bednarsky

Pretty brash title, right? What could possibly qualify as “the most important music”? Mozart? Beethoven? The Beatles? Gregorian Chants?


Art Quilts: Giving Voice to Artists

| Diane Helentjaris

“Intuition,” shares Mary Ramsey Keasler. “If I think it looks good, it’s good…I do this because I love to do this.” Marisela Rumberg explains: “I’m bad at following the rules. I like to break them and see what happens…I like to do things my way.”

Color Me Happy

| Amy Hutto

Color is one of the most exciting aspects of painting; be it grays, black and white, or in-your-face big, bold, pure pigments. It can also be one of the most challenging, often vexing, conundrums of life in the studio.

The Artful Walk

| Matt Bednarsky

In general, I’m not a fan of the term “Writer’s Block”. Art can be a seasonal thing. Maybe it’s been raining for months, and creating has been a fluid and easy process. Or maybe you’ve been in a dry spell for a while now, and inspiration seems harder to come by.

Finding Your Voice

| Amy Hutto

Recently I had the opportunity to once again explore life as an artist on vacation. (See my article “An Artist Goes on Vacation”; parts one and two, here on Live An Artful Life). I managed to paint a few small abstracts and a landscape that I feel particularly proud of.

You Are Creative

| Matt Bednarsky

There are novelists, painters, poets, knitters, composers, drawers, sculptors, filmmakers, choreographers…which one are you?

Nope. I shall not take the answer “I’m not creative” as an answer. Uh uh.

Experience Art Differently

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed wants her art to be a starting point for dialogue, community-building, and creative collaboration. Elaine believes that through dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration, the arts come alive and people connect - often in inspiring ways. In that vein, she invites others to imagine more and tap their own muse, asking what they see or feel in her work. How would someone write the stories she painted?

While You're Young

| Matt Bednarsky

I’m grateful to have lived thus far what many might characterize as an uncouth life. This different life is marked by two components.

First, the life of an independent singer/songwriter; I define my career, my routing, my time, and my structure in the context of one of my passions. It suits me well, but I sacrifice the stability and safety of a traditional place in the working world.

Bill van Gilder and the Life of a Mentor

| Diane Helentjaris

Dusk had fallen in Leesburg. Virginia. Night air, neither too hot nor too cold, wafted through the propped door of the Clay and Metal Loft. Bill van Gilder was kicking off his weekend pottery workshop with a warm-up PowerPoint. Lifetime learners sipped wine and nibbled cheese, listening raptly. Now, van Gilder can PowerPoint and social media as well as any Millennial, even though he's been making pots since before there was an internet.

Dealing With The Default

| Matt Bednarsky

Imagine strolling through your local bookstore (if you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where those still exist) and stumbling upon the self-help section. You quickly peruse what’s before you, and you see titles like “The Power of Negative Thinking”, “How a Little Bit of Cynicism Goes a Long a Way”, and “Ease Up on the Self-Esteem”.

Inspiration Creation

| Amy Hutto

Inspiration is one of those elusive, fleeting sparks that we as artists attempt to capture. Like a butterfly that lights upon our finger; it is often a flutter, a flit and then we watch as our inspiration floats away, wishing it had stayed a little longer.

The Muse and the Shovel

| Matt Bednarsky

Ah, inspiration.

You can be strolling on the sidewalk, minding your own business, when it unexpectedly comes up and knocks you upside the head.

What's Trending in the Art World

| Amy Hutto

As creatives, it is absolutely critical that we stay true to ourselves and not hop from trend to trend. That being said, it is also critical that we lift our heads up from our work and take a look at the art world around us and see what is trending in order to stay relevant.

Writing to Embrace a Rich Heritage

| Diane Helentjaris

“Within the span of a few months, I was demoted from a leader – to a follower – by a tiny baby boy with large lungs.” With these words, writer Patty Apostolides describes her transformation from a scientist and musician to a stay-at-home mother. Her son ignored her work at the Cleveland Clinic experimenting on cancer cells.

The Artist's Perspective - Memory

| Thomas Neel

There I was, watching an old Youtube video of Barbra Streisand so passionately singing Andrew Loyd Webber’s show tune “Memory," from the musical Cats. In this HD version from 1981, Streisand is singing the character Grizabella’s story as if it was her own. Yet she is relying on Trevor Nunn’s lyrics lying on a stand right in front of her.

The Sweetness of Travel

| Matt Bednarsky

Travel is a beautiful and funny thing. Full of movement and newness, it’s a near-undeniable jolt of excitement in your life. However, also with its fair share of discomfort and challenge, it’s a near-inevitable fast track to personal growth.

Destination: Art Worshop

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

In this second part of a series relating to Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed’s annual trip to California for an Art Workshop, Elaine explains how the workshop recharges her mind, body, and muse and jump-starts her productivity, serving as her launchpad for a creative year. Elaine gives a first-hand account of the workshop experience, shares insights into how she assesses her personal art growth and recommends tips for arming ourselves with the right mindset when facing the unknown. For all that and more, keep reading… and be among the first to glimpse some of her new artwork. 

There’s Work and Then There’s All the Other Work!

| Tom Neel
In today’s overly connected world, not only self-employed artists but anyone offering goods and services, have double duty to deal with all of the time. No, I take that back, triple duty. You are what you are as someone in business, which means, you are an artist, a plumber, a retailer, or a coffee shop owner, etc.

The Beauty of Boredom

| Matt Bednarsky

Back in the day, when my biggest responsibility was being a kid, I remember I used to say quite often, “I’m bored!”

(Although, I would actually say it more like, “I’m boooooored!”)

To this, my mom would reply, “I wish I was bored!”

Traveling for Art

| Diane Helentjaris

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Artists, makers and other creative types eagerly follow the Dalai Lama’s advice. They sketch in Tuscany, paint afloat cruise ships, and sculpt in Japan. Hemmingway went to Spain and France; Gauguin, to Samoa; and Robert Louis Stevenson, Tahiti. For centuries, artists have gloried in exotic locales. 

"CAVU" Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited

| Linda Hendrickson

CAVU" is Navy Airman's' acronym revealed to us during George HW Bush's eulogy given by the former Prime Minister of Canada.

I am inspired by the point of view represented in these four little letters and how, if applied to art from preliminary sketch to clients' home it is like a refreshing breeze on a still, sweltering summer day, or a warm coat on a winter day.

Is It Time to Shake Things Up?

| Amy Hutto

Every now and again it’s good to shake things up; in life and in your art practice. Recently I did just that when I traveled to Solomons, Maryland to participate in an Artists in Action program with the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center.

The Up-Side of Flying

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Can you think of any positive angles of flying these days? Find out what Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed does every January to get her creative juices going for the year ahead. See how this artist finds something positive in “getting there…”

The Campaign to Change the Sloth’s Name

| Matt Bednarsky

Take a look at the picture. Study it very carefully. There is a lot of beauty, perspective, and wisdom to glean from this photo. A peaceful creature living the life he was meant to live. Doing exactly what he is supposed to do.

This, my friends, is an ever-so-lovely sloth.

Flowers - the Artist's Favorite Muse

| Diane Helentjaris

Scientists are just now cottoning onto what the Hippies understood a half-century ago: flowers have power. Florists have been thrilled to tout Rutgers University’s research findings. Jeannette Haviland-Jones, psychology professor, working with her genetics professor husband, Terry R. McGuire, was amazed.

Noteworthy Art

| Amy Hutto

As artists, we have to have an arsenal of art to reach our intended target, the customer. Art collectors come in many different varieties; those with money to spend on art (we love that kind) and those who love art but don’t have much money to spend on collecting it (we love that kind, too). As a professional artist, the goal is to not become a collector of your own art! One of the ways to reach more potential buyers is to diversify your offerings.

The Artist's Perspective - Happiness

| Thomas Neel

I have a simple message for this new year. I want each and every one of you to be healthy and happy. News that puts us all in a tailspin is ever changing. But government shutdowns, looming economic woes, and Trump did this-or-that, all aside, I want you to focus on being healthy and happy, and that is what I’m going to do as well.

Take a Look at This Book!

| Amy Hutto

The end of the old year and beginning of the new is a natural time to pause and reflect on your practice as an artist and ask yourself a few questions. Are you excited about what you’re doing? Are you motivated to get in your studio and create?

The Music In Me

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

In this article, Visual Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed discusses the role of music in her life and how its connection to her Art evolved in a new and exciting and VISIBLE way following her 2018 solo exhibition “Masks and Mirrors – Explorations of Identity.” During that exhibition, she officially launched her creative collaboration platform “Every Painting is a Song,” partnering with D.C.-based performing arts collaborative. In this artist’s life, everything is connected and finds its way into her art. Keep reading to see how Elaine not only “found” her voice, but is now (in her own words) “amplifying” that voice.

Exiting the Sphere of Envy

| Matt Bednarsky

I lived in Nashville, TN for a long time. It’s a special town, full of dreams, talent, and hard work. Some of the very finest musicians and writers call Nashville home, stimulating a pervasive musical energy and setting a high bar for quality.

Invention, Growth and Re-invention

| Tom Neel

Michael Jackson changed his face more than his music throughout his 50-year long career, and his music changed a lot! Ditto that of Madonna. This should be the life of all artists.

Change is in The Air!

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

In this article, Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed reflects on life, change, opportunity, and the courage to take your next “leap of faith.” When opportunity knocks, what is your response? How do you respond to change? Change brings endings and new beginnings. Elaine shares some exciting art news happening in her professional career as she closed one door and runs toward new ones.


| Diane Helentjaris

The Tasteful Art Where Sculpture and Eating Collide

Northern Virginia commuters whiz by the featureless industrial park. None would ever guess the goings on inside Suite 112, home of Stacked Cakes. 

Grief, Loss and Staying True

| Amy Hutto

The holidays are upon us and the most wonderful time of the year can also be a difficult time if you’ve lost a loved one or are going through tough times. For some, what “should be” happy, joyous days and nights of celebrating with friends and family turn cold and lonely even when our faces don’t reflect the deep hurt we may be feeling. Grief is a powerful emotion…

One Ear To Hear

| Matt Bednarsky

I’m on way to Bloomington, Indiana, my 1994 Mazda Protege DX filled with gear and normal luggage, cruising along when all of a sudden my car momentarily shuts off and the check engine light pops on. Stupefied, a moment later the car wakes back up. Ominous? 

The Artist's Perspective - Reality Check

| Thomas Neel

Though nursing a cold, on Sunday, October 7th, I went to see “Abira and The Mountain” at the Hill School Theater.  Billed as A Place To Be’s newest family production focusing on acceptance, empathy and love, the story was Inspired by the hearts and minds of Amy Stone and Ryan Perry.   “Abira and The Mountain” tells the story of a princess in a wheelchair who finds her power by using her own challenges to help others.

In the Midst of the Metamorphosis

| Matt Bednarsky

Change denotes two things: the origin and the destination. You have the choice to keep your eyes on either side of the bridge as your feet lead the crossing, but you’re leaving somewhere to arrive somewhere else.

Keeping Creativity Alive

| Diane Helentjaris

Rebekah Harding is metamorphosing. Shedding the accoutrements of childhood, she’s closed down her blog “Beat Bias with Bekah.” Rather than online articles like “Weaponized Avocados Break Deli Clerk’s Jaw,” she has moved on to writing about adjusting to college life in “Away from home, alone” for The Temple News.


| Linda Hendrickson

Exuberance is a trait I've noticed in Oliver, my new puppy, and one I'd like to translate into art. By breaking the word down, letter by letter I think we can all create and enjoy art with this characteristic!

The Satiated Artist

| Matt Bednarsky

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “starving artist” before. This label applies to individuals pursuing art and struggling to make ends meet; at the least in the United States, it’s a title that is somewhat, oddly, seen as normal.

But let’s look at the term a different way, shall we?

Document Your Process - You'll Be Glad You Did

| Amy Hutto

Have you ever made something for dinner that was a total concoction and it was the best thing you ever ate, then had no idea how you did it? Or, you pulled off a really cool effect in your latest work of art then when you tried to do it again you couldn’t begin to achieve the same look?

Risking Everything for a Great Painting

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

In this article, Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed shares paintings that she considers makeovers. These makeover paintings fall into two categories: unfinished and finished canvases. In the two examples provided, something continued to bother Elaine about each painting, pushing her to risk everything and continue painting, subtly or dynamically evolving a piece until she was satisfied with the results. 

The Wizard of Waynesfield

| Matt Bednarsky

Oh, there are those moments.

You know the ones I’m talking about.

Those moments where in the midst of them, your world has fallen apart, and you see virtually no glimmer of light. You’re stunned, speechless, and seemingly trapped.

Hi, We're Having a Silent Auction Fundraiser

| Amy Hutto

Fall is in the air, leaves are changing color, and the donation season is descending quickly upon us. There are so many worthy causes, but how do you as an artist pick and choose without donating all of your work away, or feel guilty that you turned down “painting for puppies”? I mean what monster says no to helping puppies? At least that’s how you feel when you don’t agree to donate something.

Safety Check Up Time For Artists

| Diane Helentjaris

In the early 1600’s, Caravaggio filled his brush with yellow and white pigments to add the chiaro (light) to the scuro (dark) of his dramatic masterpieces. White linen sleeves, luminous flesh and a Palomino horse still gleam against his richly dark backgrounds. But the same lead white and lead-tin yellow pigments that brought light to his oil paintings likely also brought darkness and death to the Italian painter.

To Tweet or Not To Tweet . . .

| Amy Hutto

That is the question…the answer? Yes. Post on Instagram? Yes. Share on Facebook? Yes. Be visible and proactive on social media sites on a regular basis? YES! Social media is the modern version of the old telephone game.

The Serving Artist

| Matt Bednarsky

“The Starving Artist” - the modern day stereotype, or rather the widely accepted “norm”, applied to those who choose or strive to do art for a living. Be it a songwriter, a novelist, a painter, these are the brave souls who choose to do something they love in exchange for a subpar living standard.

Painting Seasonally

| Amy Hutto

Winter, spring, summer, and fall. The four seasons on our calendar are inextricably woven throughout the fabric of our lives. We celebrate them, curse them, look forward to their changing, and bemoan their passing…songs are written in their honor, poems recited to mark their coming and going and they mirror the passage of time in our lives.

Inventory Management

| Tom Neel

I was talking to an artist recently about her art. Though a long time artist, in retirement she is just getting underway with seriously trying to sell her art. She is doing so for all the reason’s you might imagine, but including the one that also gets many artists to try and do so.

Survival Secrets of a Southern Woman Playwright

| Diane Helentjaris

All children are playwrights and directors.  Cross-legged on the floor, youngsters put toys through their paces. “Bam! You’re dead!” “Barbie, I love you.” But, for most, growing up extinguishes that particular creative flame.

From Artist To Art to Art Shows - Part Three

| Elaine Weiner-Reede

In many professional artists’ careers, moving to the next stage involves competing for Featured Artist and Solo Artist Shows. In this third installment of her article “From Art to Art Shows,” Elaine Weiner-Reed provides information and personal experiences to assist artists in determining when and how to decide for themselves their readiness to shift gears and move on to the next level from their already-established history of participating in small- and large-group art shows, as well as juried shows at local, regional, national, and international levels.

An Artist Goes On Vacation - Part Two

| Amy Hutto

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” eh, I’ll leave that level of dedication and intrepidness to our postal carriers; I, on the other hand, will only sweat so much for my art.

The Artist's Perspective - Walking Into Art

| Thomas Neel

I have had a long painting career. One with so many wonderful experiences. But I must admit to you now even this far along; I’ve experienced something on a bit of a different level during a recent tour of Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

From Artist to Art to Art Shows - Part Two

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

This is Part Two of a three-part series on showing your artwork by Elaine Weiner-Reed. Be sure to read Part One here

Country Roads and Creativity

| Tom Neel

It was the crack of dawn when I left. My wife Linda was still very much asleep, only the cat was aware of my actions and was determined to be fed before my exit. She’s (the cat) never too demanding, thus, appreciative of my acknowledgment and follow through.

From Artist to Art to Art Shows - Part One

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Timing It Right
Remember: It is all about the art.

In this first of three articles about entering art shows and having solo shows, Elaine Weiner-Reed provides information and personal experiences to help artists consider some new realities, and decide for themselves if and when they are ready to show their work in art shows and group exhibitions.

An Artist Goes On Vacation - Part One

| Amy Hutto

Ah, vacation time; time to sleep in, be lazy, do nothing...What, you’re not that kind of vacationer? Me neither. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sleep in - even on vacation and I can do nothing with the best of them; but I want to see new places, eat new food, take in new museums, and experience life differently than I do every day.

Dancing And The Brain

| Diane Helentjaris

Neither the hot Greek night nor the clutter of dish-strewn tables could keep my cousins from dancing. The minute the traditional music blared out, in silent agreement, they popped up from their wooden chairs.

The Artist's Perspective - A Sad Loss of Creativity

| Thomas Neel

On June 8th, celebrity chef, writer and television personality, Anthony Bourdain took his own life just a couple of weeks before what would have been his 62 birthday. While the creative embers of this man will leave a lasting glow, the fire has been put out. Sadly self-inflicted. Why? is all we can ask ourselves.

Purging Your Photos

| Tom Neel

Artists rely on all sorts of references to inspire and conceptualize their ideas. Even plein air artists should keep a log of places which may give them a pleasing result. But then past a sketchbook, the oh mighty photograph becomes king.

Paying For Your Creative Passion

| Diane Helentjaris

Wandering through a Taos art gallery you start dreaming of a future with more creativity in it. Maybe you could finally paint a portrait of your loved one or learn to play a Spanish guitar - but between utility bills and car insurance, there doesn’t seem to be money for artistic adventures. Actually, most of the time, there is.

The Artist's Perspective - Your Contact Info

| Thomas Neel

I’m confused, or maybe I’m actually not.  Hum, better yet, let me start this article with a scenario. You are an artist, a working artist. One who diligently enters shows and places your art in or at all sorts of places trying to gain any exposure you can.

Spring Is For Change

| Linda Hendrickson

Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee are upset at my chosen spot to chat with you. While we were away, they started their nest behind the wreath on the front door.

They Picked Me, They Picked Me!

| Amy Hutto

After fine-tuning your work, marketing yourself fantastically, crafting the perfect artist CV and making the right connections, you’re excited to find out you will be represented in a great art gallery. Congratulations! You can sit back, bask in the glory and relax awhile. WRONG!

Pick Me, Pick Me!

| Amy Hutto

When I began my second life as a full-time artist, I knew at some point I wanted to sell my work in art galleries. I had always created art on the side, while teaching, and even sold a few over the years.

Escape From Ohio

| Diane Helentjaris

“As the crow flies” in Clark County, Ohio is a hot humid ride over miles of cornfields, interspersed with soybeans and a few little towns. Not much goes on here.

The Seeds We Sow

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Artist Elaine Weiner-Reed reflects that she is always pleasantly surprised when someone contacts her to let her know that she, her words, or her art has touched their lives. Such contacts are always welcome, no matter how rarely or frequently they might come her way . . .     Continue reading to find out how one seemingly small art experience led to Elaine’s inclusion in a global library of sketchbooks.

Technique In Texture

| Amy Hutto

I have always been drawn to works of art with great visual and tactile texture; the kind of work that beckons to be touched, calls for my fingers to glide across the canvas feeling all the little bumps and ridges of the surface.

Cropping - The Freedom to Explore!

| Tom Neel

This is a story about thinking outside of the box. Sometimes the best way to think outside of the box is to know how you ended up there in the first place.

How a Trip to East Jesus Rocked This Artist's Creative Journey

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

How often does a visit to museum or art show inspire us to greater heights of creativity? It sometimes happens as we wander among the works of great artists, some pieces making us stop…in awe.

The Artist's Perspective - Improvement

| Thomas Neel

Improvement. This one word is so true of creative longevity.  Honestly, it may be the key to longevity period.  You know you pretty well.

Happy Birthday, Vincent!

| Amy Hutto

As I write this, it is a chilly rainy evening in Zundert, Netherlands and 43 degrees, although I’m sure it feels much colder. One can imagine the weather may have been similar as Anna Van Gogh prepared for the arrival of her second son to be named Vincent, only one short year after enduring the still birth of her first son bearing the same name.

Why Purple Cows?

| Amy Hutto

If you don’t know the answer to this and many other questions, (in regard to your art) it’s time to figure it out.  Are you trying to ignite a discussion, depict mores in today’s world, show reality in its raw beauty or shameful ugliness, make people smile, or reflect?

The Quest to Save Alaskan Artist Vic Sparks' Legacy

| Diane Helentjaris

Sheila Ralph’s quest began in a setting rivaling Lord of the Rings. Misty, sharp-edged mountains soared five thousand feet above the icy fjord. At their base, on a narrow strip of flatland rimmed by water, perched the tiny hamlet of Skagway, Alaska.

Master Mark-makers Maneuver Best Out of Each Other!

| Linda Hendricson

Finding people, "your tribe" can make all the difference in the world for a solitary painter. Years ago I was setting up a Pinterest account for the first time and noticed an artist posted my favorite pins -- Sheri Trepina. Then, much to my surprise, I noticed, she was no more than five miles from me!

A Space To Create

| Amy Hutto

Whether you are a painter, an illustrator, or any other form of artist or craftsman, you need a space to create… a place that you carve out of your existing surroundings and call your own.

Finding Our "Effortless Power"

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

What does art have to do with golf? . . .

For the best results you have to relax and swing.  I took my one and only, my first, golf lesson early in 2018. I have been visiting this lovely golf course community in southern California, and I thought “If not now, when? & “If not here, where?”

The Artist's Perspective - Creative Types

| Thomas Neel

Creative types sometimes stumble around in the dark looking for themselves. Their path less defined than most. Early man looked only for the basic needs of survival. Food, shelter, water, not being eaten by something, and of course, procreation. Modern man’s journey is a bit safer, while still following those same underpinnings. But I think modern creative types also see procreation as a broader sense of creativity. The birth of an idea. An artistic one, a calling inner voice of self expression. Trust me, you may think this is eccentric, but honestly, it’s no more so than the ownership of almost anything.

Same Old, Same Old

| Amy Hutto

Not Today, Creative Rut . . . Not Today! 

Feeling a bit like Belle from Beauty and the Beast? “... every day, like the one before...” Or perhaps it’s more of a Bill Murray from Groundhog Day kind of routine. What once fueled your desire to pick up that paintbrush or camera just isn’t doing it for you, and so you decide to skip studio time and opt instead to make a coffee and catch up on a show you like.

Building Bridges With Art and Language

| Elaine Weiner-Reed

Art bridges the language barrier. Whatever the medium, whether painting or sculpture or music or dance.  Art speaks to many people, regardless of age, race, social circles, or other demographics. I see Art as a universal language: It speaks for itself. 

Creative Validation

| Tom Neel

We all find our way to art in our own way. The exploratory depth can be vastly different.  Some might be raised in a home filled with wonderful paintings, while others may have experienced museums filled with art with a parent or on a field trip, from a very young age. Still, others may have been whisked away on family trips abroad, on adventures with the European masters. I have to say, past a little here and there in our home growing up, and at my Grandmother’s house, memories of my early visits to see and appreciate actual paintings in museums are fairly vague. 

Inspiration . . . Connection

| Amy Hutto

In my life there are certain things that feed my soul, inspire me and make me feel connected to Time itself…visiting art museums and galleries when I visit a new city, holding an ancient (although worthless) coin I have and tracing the raised bronze outlines, and using gold leaf in my art. 

5 Ingredients for "Happiness"

| Linda Hendrickson

H is for HONORING your time and HUNKERING down to “just do it.” Create, paint, whatever your passion or priorities are, put them HIGH on your agenda. When one starts the day with social media, often the next thing one knows, the time has slipped away. (Ask me how I know this fact!)  Instead, schedule your work so you can get the most challenging things done first. 

Visual Arts and Virtual Reality

| Tom Neel

Many moons ago, at least 25 to be more precise, a San Fransisco based art publisher caught me by surprise with a new term, high tech, high touch. As he simplistically explained it at the time, while trying to make a point, as we become more engrossed with technology overload, we will grasp for something more real. Art was his way of thinking.

Why You Chose To Teach

| Steve Loya

Art education in the public schools has come a long way since I was a boy. In fact, it has gone through quite a few changes since I began my career as a professional art teacher nearly twenty years ago. Educational trends will come and go but, despite these trends, it’s always good to remember why you chose to teach in the first place. 

The Artist

| Tom Neel

Words like art, creativity, craft, and design cover the broad meanings of a most interesting world. As does the word artist or artisan, which covers a massive worldwide group of thinkers and doers. Someone can say to you, I’m an artist, and in its most rawest of meanings, it would simply mean one who creates. But creates what? Art? That’s a big topic.

The Artist's Perspective - Professional Artist

| Thomas Neel

There’s a distinct change that happens in an artist after they have taken money in exchange for their art. What was an exploration into self expression, becomes in a sense, business. While many artists tend to repel the business side of art, they find themselves inherently stuck to it anyway. There are lots of hobbies in the world and certainly not all are ever confronted with finding a need for a financial transaction. But some are and art just happens to be one of them. Why then do so many artists feel funny about it?

Inspiration and Choreography

| Kim Tapper

To paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, inspiration is the tingly, stomach dropping, arm chilling, full body experience that calls to you. Inspiration is what happens when that physical response lights you up like a neon sign pointing you (often pulling you) in a direction that begs further exploration. Inspiration is the prelude to an idea.

The Artist's Perspective - Photography

| Thomas Neel

Influenced by my Aunt Dottie being a professional photographer for the government, and my brother’s early interest in being a shutterbug as a hobby, for me, after owning a few Kodak Instamatics and Polaroids, I took the plunge in purchasing my first true camera in the late 1970‘s. It was the newly released Cannon AE-1.

Visual Transformation

| Tom Neel

Art is a personal thing, one where many puzzle pieces come together to create an image to your liking. Within that analogy, imagine if puzzle pieces could be personalized, thus giving different results based on your wishes. In truth, in the world of art they can, and the image or images they become, can transform more than just a wall. They can also transform the room, your home and your life.

Has Art Been Redefined?

| Tom Neel

Okay, I’m about to loose my mind. No really, as an artist, someone who really cares about art as a form of human ingenuity and deep creative thinking, KA-BOOM!!! my brain has had enough. But this isn’t just about me is it? No, it never is. This is about all of us and how technology touches our society as a whole. Screens have taken over our lives. There, I’ve said it. We are now completely controlled by screens and the people who make them. This all to supposedly make our lives better and more full.

Nine Ideas for Storing & Displaying Your Art

| Linda Hendrickson

Is your art collection larger than your wall space?

Mine certainly is!  In fact, my art collection is growing!  Artist friends keep producing irresistible treasures, and I can't put my brushes down. What's a collector to do?  Let me share some of the ways I store and display my art.

Mid-Century Modern is Artful

| Tom Neel

Think you have a cool home? Wish you had a cool home? Well, the mid-century modern style is hot in home design! The 50’s and 60’s are back to the future! It’s fun, it’s artful, it’s plentiful, it’s collectible, and best of all, compared to new furniture most of it is even affordable.

Sparking Creativity

| Kim Tapper

Creativity. What it’s not: something reserved for only an elite few nor is it something that flourishes without attention, space and choice. So what is it, where does it come from, and why do we have it at all?

The Artist's Perspective - Art Career

| Thomas Neel

In about six months I will have been selling my paintings for thirty years. Most days I only think about the present and future of things, but other days I ponder the past and what makes up a long career. Not just one as an artist, but in doing anything.

What is Creativity and Who Decides?

| Kim Tapper

What is creativity and who determines whether you have it or not? Your first grade art teacher? Your high school creative writing teacher? The audience? You? Left to their own devices most people do not admit to being creative. As if it’s a curse. “Oh no, I’m not creative at all!” Even highly acclaimed artists don’t typically walk around saying, “look at me, I’m so creative!” I believe creativity is the spark of imagination and those people who are considered creative or who might call themselves artists have simply taken that spark of imagination to the place where it meets action. Everyone has the possibility but only some will dare to ignite the spark.

Unspoken Creative Communication

| Tom Neel

I’ve been riding motorcycles most of my life. While I certainly have the occasion to ride alone, more often I’m with a my friend Treavor. Now to say that Treavor and I ride together is a bit of an understatement, as we have ridden thousands upon thousands of miles together over more than the last decade. The state of Virginia is motorcycling paradise and so, our rides are rarely ever less than a couple hundred miles, and we ride twelve months out of the year. This means we ride in varied conditions.

Flagship Romance

| Tom Neel

So allow me to paint you a picture. You, as part of an audience, represent a beautiful beach, and the refreshing folk duo of Flagship Romance is the ocean, their waves rolling in over you, melodically drenching you with stories from their sea of life. Some of their waves are soft and of angelic harmony. While others, white tipped and towering, come crashing in, emotionally reaching every grain of sand.

The Artist's Perspective - Creative Couples

| Thomas Neel

Where there’s art, there’s love! It is after all, the ultimate law of attraction. That infatuation with creativity rubbing off and one thing leads to another, you have a creative couple. Self expressive love birds living an artful life together. In the right hands art can be a playful dance of romance. No one quite understands an artist like another artist and so I went in search of a few creative couples to see what makes them tick. I had an advantage though, as I’m one half of a creative couple too!

Ian Ethan Case - Conduit to the musical universe.

| Tom Neel

Each of us has our own internal drum beat. It comes from our heart and it’s directly connected to life itself. If you layer that heartbeat with the finger styled voice of a rhythmic acoustic guitar, you have begun to scratch the surface of percussive instrumentalist Ian Ethan Case. Calling Case a guitar player is a bit like simply calling the Pope a man of religion. Case is an architect of rhythm, a soul searcher of sound. Not just any sound, the right sound, at the right moment, for the right duration, and I dare that right sound to be illusive. Because Case leaves no stone unturned in his journey of making the music in his head a vibe-al study for us. Trust me, your heartbeat will want follow his tempo!

The Artist's Perspective - Retirement

| Thomas Neel

With the closing of our gallery five months ago last December, social functions have had me sometimes confronted with these words, “How are you enjoying retirement?” The first time, it caught me completely off guard, because as busy as I am with painting, commissions and writing, and other new projects in the pipeline, retirement is not even a thought.

Spelled Out - 11 Steps to Inspiration

| Linda Hendrickson

I-NDIGO is a color loved by all.  The sky, the sea, the stuff of poetry,

Expressive Arts Therapies Bring Healing

| Kim Tapper

So far I’ve written these articles from my “Life Coach” hat but today I am writing from my Expressive Arts Therapist hat instead. The creative arts have been used for centuries in healing processes whether to invoke blessings from the gods through dance and song, creating a work of art such as the AIDS quilt in response to a tragedy, music being played at a funeral, and so on.

The Artist's Perspective - Creative Partners

| Thomas Neel

Some forms of creativity can be a very solitary adventure. Often this can find the artist alone in his or her thoughts of how to express an idea, then executing it, contemplating the results and even then deciding what to do with it. It works for some, but not all and new worlds can open with a creative partner.

The Need for Creativity

| Kim Tapper

What is creativity and who determines whether you have it or not? Your first grade art teacher? Your high school creative writing teacher? The audience? You? Left to their own devices most people do not admit to being creative.

What's a Baker's Dozen

| Linda Hendrickson

An extra dose of grace and goodness, not just 12 -- but 13!
How does one get started on a series, blank journal or canvas? Being the visual person I am, one way I start is by creating boards in Pinterest to gather my ideas and inspiration.

The Artist's Perspective - Creativity

| Thomas Neel

Creativity. That one word, so intertwined in every artist’s life. The idea that an idea to make something original with your own two hands gets floating around in your head, should never be taken for granted. It is one of the greatest freedoms we know. Few things can be as expressive, freeing, recreational and rewarding, along with frustrating, and allowing us to see inner growth.

Turning Anxiety Into Creativity

| Aimee O'Grady

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as many as 40 million adults over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety disorders, or 18% of the population. While the statistics are startling, people who experience anxiety can adopt methods to better manage the disorder and even use it to their advantage.

The Artist's Perspective: Avoiding Creative Road Blocks

| Thomas Neel

There you are, all ready to go and no idea where to go. Not a good place for an artist to be. You have all of the fixings for a creative masterpiece, but none of the creative concepts breaking through. Idealess, empty, energy-less, and confronted with a creative block. Holly crap, what do you do now? Some evil spell has come over you and robbed you of your mojo and it’s not funny. This is serious, an artist without ideas and a direction to go in, is technically not even still an artist at all. Artist’s make art and if no art can be made, an artist cannot exist. Right? Well let see if we can fix that.

Cut The Blame Game

| Kim Tapper

Coaching is all about awareness and responsibility: the more awareness you have, the more responsibility you take for your life and consequently, the more exciting and purposeful your life can be. Most of us like to imagine that we are already aware and in control of our lives, yet we allow copious situations and excuses to keep us from what we want. We permit these circumstances (or people) to have power over us and we spend so much time focused here playing the blame game that it becomes a place of inertia. Sound familiar?

The Artist's Perspective - Passion

| Thomas Neel

I’m writing The Artist’s Perspective on Valentine’s Day. The day when love is in the air, which considering the somewhat lack of it these days, it’s refreshing to see signs of the mighty heartbeat of passion. Ahhhh, passion. What would we do without our deepest desire to care about something in the most demanding and dedicated ways? To sacrifice. To be one with a someone or something, that you make your life about it. Loud and proud, or softly spoken, hardly a step is taken without considering how those steps may or may not affect that which you are passionate for.

The Art of Regional Color and Design

| Tom Neel

During a recent trip to Abaco, part of the Bahamas, my endless photography once again doused me in the observation of my surroundings. I thought; this place sure has a pretty palette. Once again what was wonderful to see is how nature or natural color often deeply inspires our man made world. Here was a place of beautiful aqua water, soft sandy beaches, coral and palms. In turn, were homes and structures inspired by this tropical island palette. Step inside and tile, tables, upholstery, and cabinets were all part of the natural vibe.

Bringing Your Vision Into Focus

| Aimee O'Grady

Sometimes a goal looms on the horizon. From a distance, it may not have perfectly delineated lines, but it is still discernible. It could be a painting, a poem, a quilt block, or a personal goal. When inspiration feels just out of reach, it can become attainable through the use of a vision board.

Attending to Wholeness

| Kristen Swanson

Amidst the hubbub of my life, pots shake on top of the washer and drier and my three boys run by porcelain vases and platters headed for Germany and Tennessee. They shoot Nerf guns above my head as I paint at the kitchen table and somehow I manage to create. Twenty five years ago in the basement studio of Virginia Tech I found clay. I knew immediately that my life would revolve around this beautiful material. I imagined a simple, fulfilling, and wholesome life as an artist, wife, and mother. I imagined an old farm house, picket fence, studio, swollen belly, happy children, loving husband, grades, pots . . . .  I finished my BFA in ceramics while newly married, pregnant, and commuting 2 hours to school.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Your Cast Fuchsia!

| Linda Hendrickson

I was out walking my little dog, Molly and enjoying the evening a couple of weeks ago when I tripped and went flat . . . my face was saved by my right hand. But unfortunately, I broke my pinky and my ring finger and it’s my painting hand! What could be worse?! Well, not being creative at all of course. So I’ve put together some tips on keeping the creative edge while healing or anytime you can’t be creative for some reason.

Janet Taylor - Mastering a Lifetime

| Tom Neel

Artistry isn’t just born. It has an infancy, followed by its youthful “fearless” discovery years, and then hopefully the wisdom of maturity. Let’s hope it’s a playful maturity. Given time, artistry questions, learns, adapts, grows and hopefully inspires the process of creative mindfulness in others along the way. If these words describe the masterful, then they have just described North Carolina textile artist, Janet Taylor.

The Artist's Perspective - Changing With The Times

| Thomas Neel

In 2009, as our country dealt with the aftermath of the worst recession in seventy or so years, my wife Linda and I did something that seemed crazy. We opened another art gallery. I say another, because it wasn’t our first gallery, or recession for that matter. It made complete sense to us to open on what we felt would be an upswing. The, it can’t get any worse than this theory.

You Are What You Choose To Be

| Kim Tapper

“I can’t do that”
“I’m too old”
“I’m not smart enough”
“I’m not outgoing”
“I’m not creative”

Motherhood: The Catalyst to Creativity

| Aimee O'Grady

As unlikely as it may seem, many new mothers, attuned to their creative interests, are using their children as muses to view creativity with a new perspective and embrace the opportunity to introduce their children to their creative side. Meanwhile, many other new mothers stumble to find a new relationship with their creativity.

The Artist's Perspective - Teaching At Hill

| Thomas Neel

As part of my latest one man show “Ashby’s Gap”, hosted by The Hill School in Middleburg, Virginia. I offered to spend time with the student art classes there. Working with Linda Conti, Hill’s broadly creative art director, our friendship allowed us to plan on having fun while delivering real thinking workshops to the 6th through 8th grades.

Kathleen Kendall, The Magic Touch

| Tom Neel

As if in a fairy tale, I make my way to the charming little cottage home and studio of Kathleen Kendall. I knock, the door opens, she greets me and invites me in. 

Sarah Angle - Folk Artist Extraordinaire!

| Tom Neel


Sarah Angle may describe herself as shy, but her genuine smile, hospitable openness, and gifted sense of humor indicate otherwise. This self proclaimed people pleaser is a relaxed country girl, who takes life as it comes, while wrapping it all up with a tongue and cheek bow. Angle’s art is a magical reflection of someone with a built in internal chuckle and the talent to creatively deliver that fun to us.

Karen Rexrode Life of the Assemblage Art Gardener

| Tom Neel

True artfulness is always been about growth. Inspired souls don’t just plant the seed and walk away from it. They tend to it and watch it grow. Karen Rexrode is one such inspired soul who has tended to more seeds than one could ever imagine and watched herself grow in the process. Imagine how many seeds you would have tended to if you owned your own nursery for twenty five years. Yes, a lot. But there came a time in the life of Karen Rexrode when other things started to sprout around her and within her and it was time for change, time for creative growth and soul searching.

Finding The Unusual In Every Day Life

| Kim Tapper

How routine is your life? Do you take the same roads, eat the same foods, and talk to the same people pretty much every day? If you’re like most people, the answer is a resounding yes because we are creatures of routines and habits. We often thrive on that repetition and feel that there is some sense and order to the world because of our schedules.

PeaceLove Studios Shines A Light on Mental Health

| Aimee O'Grady

PeaceLove Studios: An alternative to therapy and prescriptions. Using expressive arts to provide healing qualities for people who are open to exploring their creative side. A place for people free of judgement to work through their problems.

App Designers: An Emerging Career Blending Art and Technology

| Aimee O'Grady

With the ubiquitous use of SmartPhones, businesses are more determined than ever to provide their services via app to their clients. They know they need to offer their services for existing and future clients at a moment’s notice for access anywhere. Today, there really is an app for everything.

A New Spin On An Old Skill

| Aimee O'Grady

For some fiber enthusiasts, the calming action of spinning needs to be balanced by a more energized activity.  Read how spinning yarn can be an adrenaline-driven, race against the clock.

Mindful Living - Cursive

| Dr. Monica Neel

When was the last time you handwrote something? How about the last time you wrote in cursive? I personally know that I’ve been manually writing less and less over the years with more time spent keyboarding. But during a meeting, when I write a note to my kids, or send someone a card, I still defer to cursive penmanship. If you’re a fan of cursive script, I hate to break it to you, . . . but it may become a lost art.

Life Coach - Choices And Beliefs

| Kim Tapper

It’s a new year and I feel obligated to give a nod to this time in our lives when we seize the opportunity to start over, wipe the slate clean and dream up new possibilities for ourselves. While I’m not a fan of resolution making, I am a fan of taking pauses and re-assessing life at multiple intervals. Resolutions have seemingly the right ingredients but most fail because they are not authentic expressions of our soul’s wishes. Resolutions typically embody what we think we “should” want for ourselves (weight loss; new romance; to be better people...). Rarely do they embody what our soul yearns for us (to listen to our intuition and quit that job that’s burning us out; to make that piece of art just because we feel like it; to say no to dinner with those friends that we don’t really like...).

Weaving Her Way Through Charlottesville

| Tom Neel

A mild winter rings in the new year of 2016 by allowing what seems like the whole city of Charlottesville, Virginia to be under construction. As we weave our way through lane expansions, endless orange barriers and assorted pieces of heavy equipment, across town, professional weaver Jan Russell’s studio could not be more insulated from all the commotion.

Mastering The Still Life

| Tom Neel

In a downtown studio classroom off Main Street in Warrenton,Virginia, instructor Becky Parrish casually greets her workshop students, who under her guidance will aspire to hone their artistic skill. They respect and trust Parrish’s masterful abilities to lead them on this creative journey. One by one, the infantry finds its way to the many easels arming themselves with sword like brushes, shielded by their paint ladened smocks and preparing for a painter’s battle.

An Education In Art

| Tom Neel

Just west of Washington D.C., nestled in the rolling hills of Virginia’s Piedmont region, you’ll find a very special school. In fact, it is called The Hill School, an independent school delivering an educational experience which they offer up as being defined by the core values of Community, Character and Competence. Those three powerful words could also describe Hill’s Art Department Chair, Linda Conti. But one must also include the word Creative!

Garden Party People's Choice Winner - Linda Goddard

| Tom Neel

Live An Artful Life® Gallery in The Plains, Virginia celebrated the summer with a “Garden Party” art show featuring floral inspired garden paintings by a great group of artists. Guests had their chance to choose the People’s Choice Award and Maryland artist Linda Goddard brought home the sunshine with her 20” X 24” oil painting titled, “Sunflowers”.

Life Coach - Dr. Wayne Dyer

| Kim Tapper

Last month our world lost a great man, a great soul, Dr. Wayne Dyer. I first came across Dr. Dyer’s teachings about 15 years ago when I read one of his books, The Power of Intention. His art was that of poetry and writing and for over 40 years, he shared motivational words and inspiration on how to live fully and peacefully without fear and worry; how to tap into the great sources of love and creativity that dwell inside each of us.

Done The Old Fashion Way

| Tom Neel

The doorway into the studio of artisan Lesley Marsh is somewhat of a time portal, transporting you back to an era when skilled hands connected to artistic minds, were essential to everything made.

Hylton Performing Arts Center

| Tom Neel

I am standing center stage, looking out towards the over 1,100 seats of the Hylton Performing Art Center’s Merchant Hall, which towers nearly five stories to its hammered copper ceiling arches, in a perfect fusion of classic and modern architecture. It is a very exciting place to be.

Mindful Living - Greece

| Monica Neel Psy.D

As we welcome fall, I continue to relish in my memories of summer. I had the privilege of spending this summer with family and dear friends in Greece. As a first-generation Greek-American, my early memories of summer are in the crystal clear blue waters of Greek beaches.

Transporting Your Art

| Tom Neel

Let’s face it, as artists we often have to be prepared to carry what we create in our vehicles, be it a simple delivery of a single painting or other goodies, or a show’s worth. For this little story here, I’m going to that extreme, where a dozen paintings of various sizes must be taken at one time. In this example, most of them are larger sizes - 30”X40” or 24”X36”, not counting their actual frame size.

Life Coach - Change The Lens

| Kim Tapper

What you look for is what you see.  If you expect to see something go wrong, you can be sure you will find things that go wrong, things to criticize or things below par.  If you look for something hopeful, you will begin to see elements of hope or things that symbolize it all around.  The lens through which we view the world is just that, a lens. 

Tenth Annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (WLAST)

| Tom Neel

What do you get when you combine the creativity of sixty three artists and artisans, thirty five locations, ten years, a handful of mostly small villages, two hosting arts centers and one half of a county? Well, you get the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour [WLAST] of course.

Mindful Living - Summer Reading

| Dr. Monica Neel

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.

Summer reading is always an indulgence for me. I try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction with an emphasis on books that I may be able to incorporate into the therapy process when working with clients. A few years ago, I came across The Gifts of Imperfection after hearing someone rave about Brene Brown’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability .

WLAST - Judith Thompson

| Tom Neel

Tour veteran and whimsical painter Judith Thompson, was likely the most southern based studio on this year’s tour, but most certainly worth the visit. Her wooded lot and studio seem storybook and it’s only fitting as her colorful work is rich in fantasy. She shares that she has had more traffic this year than ever and this is her ninth tour.

WLAST - Dana B. Thompson and Mary Champion

| Tom Neel

Dana and Mary are both painters who used to display their work at a group studio in Leesburg before moving to Dana’s home studio in the town Purcellville.

WLAST - Geoff and Lori DeMark

| Tom Neel

Geoff and Lori DeMark are both parents, Loudoun Public School art teachers [he at Woodgrove and she at Harmony] and they are both working artisans. On this first day of the show, Stop 27, both are busy with visitors. Their two car garage studio and gallery for the day, showcases Geoff’s pottery and Lori’s jewelry.

WLAST - Franklin Park

| Tom Neel

The converted barn at Franklin Park acts as a year round arts center, with both its theater and gallery space always in use. Much like the Round Hill Art Center, for the tour it provides an open gallery for a half dozen of the WLASTS artists who may not have visitable studio space, but still wish to participate.

WLAST - Antonia Walker

| Tom Neel

Artist painter Antonia Walker, moved to Waterford from Washington D.C. in 1977 and has been in her current studio at 15502 2nd Street in Waterford since 2007. The building used to be a hardware store and still offers the character of those by gone days when everything was simpler.

WLAST - Jill Evans-Kavaldjian and Amy Manson

| Tom Neel

While they actually have separate studios, this duo teams up for the tour at Jill Evans-Kavaldjian’s wonderfully converted garage studio. While the artistry of the duo may be second only to their close friendship, it is imperative for me to state that both also hold key rolls in the organization of the arts in Loudoun, with Amy Manson acting as WLAST’s Chair and Jill as the Program Director for Round Hill Art Center and President of the Loudoun Arts Council.

WLAST - Round Hill Arts Center

| Tom Neel

As one of two hosting art centers, Round Hill Art Center would most likely be considered the spiritual home of WLAST. The art center is a non-profit arts education organization, offering a variety of classes for both children and adults, and also hosts camps, art related parties and space rental.

WLAST - David Norton

| Tom Neel

David Norton is a pottery artist of many years. 26 years ago, well before the Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour (WLAST) was born, Norton started his own studio open house. If not for this and WLAST’s founder Jeanne Niccolls, visiting one of those earlier open houses, the Western Loudoun Studio Tour may never have been.

WLAST - Kristen Swanson

| Tom Neel

Kristen Swanson is an energetic ceramic artist living and working in the village of Lovettesville. Her expansive home based studio not only acts as a personal studio, but as a busy class workshop and her gallery for the tour as well.

WLAST - Jeffery and Liz Hall

| Tom Neel

This artistic duo of tour veterans has much to offer and have offered much. My previous mentioning of Liz Hall’s WLAST contributions tells she’s been onboard with the tour in a big way from early on and the couple’s farm just south of the town of Lovettsville, has been a favorite stop for many.

The You in Your Work

| Tom Neel

The creating of artwork, in a sense has no boundaries. It is so vast, as an artist you really must make sure you have a true understanding of more than just technique,but also yourself. For it is yourself you are painting or sculpting or expressing while venturing into any artistic medium. Every time you create something. Loosing sight of the you in whatever you are creating, removes the soul of your work.

Artist's Perspective - Inner Child

| Thomas Neel

As primal a fear a human can experience, creativity for many seems to rank among the top. It’s seems much like public speaking. Yet I believe the difference is that most of us would actually love to be more creative and few have a desire for public speaking. Interesting enough, I feel they are connected.

Life Coach - I Can't

| Kim Tapper

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it” – Michelangelo
I hear the refrains of “I can’t;” and “that will never happen;” and “if only I could...” pour forth from people all too often. There seems to be a pervasive limiting belief that has crept into our collective consciousness keeping us playing small in our own lives.

"The People's Choice" - Jennifer Nelson

| Tom Neel

Live An Artful Life Gallery recently had its Miniature Masterworks Show of small paintings sized at 108 square inches or less and in any format. Along with 1st through 3rd place awards, solely judged by Linda Neel, an award was honored to The People's Choice.

"Lighting The Creative Spark" Dr. Celia Im

| Tom Neel

True artistry is about growth and reinvention. Artists might easily find their creative selves and the birth of their creative expression, but it is not just this creative birth that defines them. It is the continual growth and reinvention that allows an artist to truly live an artful life.

"Form From Within" David Erdman

| Tom Neel

To meet sculptor David Erdman and to then see his works of art, you might at first see them as a mismatched pair. I think even this large teddy bear of a man would never describe himself as being polished, of flowing form, or even thought provoking, and yet, that is exactly how one might describe his sculpture. But once you get to know Erdman, this artist’s inner self easily appears all over his work.

SARASOTA! Sunshine and Culture!

| Tom Neel

Smack dab in the middle of Florida’s west coast, lies the historic circus town of Sarasota. A vibrant arts community, Sarasota might well be the culture capital of the sunshine state. Charles Ringing didn’t discover Sarasota, but he sure made it home to the greatest show on earth and is responsible for much of its early development and its culture cache today.

Life Lessons Learned From Dance

| Kim Tapper

Imagine my excitement when I found out that the theme of this issue was dance. Why, you might ask? What does a Life Coach know about dance? Well...before I became a coach I had the great opportunity to be a professional dancer. Yes, professional. That means I made a career out of it – got paid and all (paltry salary at that, but a salary nonetheless). So as I pondered this article and all the many things I could share about dance, what came up were all the lessons – the life lessons – I learned from life as a dancer.

7 Reasons To Dance

| Dr. Monica Neel

Dance lives in my home. It has since I was little. I come from a legacy of dancers...not trained performers, but humans compelled to move to music. I’ve always known it was a powerful form of expression, but wanted to explore what the literature had to say on the topic. I was blown away and had to share. If you’ve needed an excuse to dance or have a curiosity about the whys and you go!

LASLEY CENTRE for the PERFORMING ARTS - Fostering Excellence

| Tom Neel

They say timing is everything and no sooner than I enter the Lasley Centre for the Performing Arts, the school’s Executive Director and owner, Kalie Lasley, is sharing great news with Ballet Master, Mark Rubin. Three of their students have been accepted to the summer intensive with the American Ballet Theater (ABT), who by the way, is celebrating their 75th anniversary. I can tell this is not only a pinch-me moment for Kalie and Mark but an amazing accomplishment for a relatively new school. 

FUZIÓN DANCE ARTISTS - "Hunting For Your Soul"

| Tom Neel

Lonesome pack-like howls turn hungry. This live performance feels visually and emotionally powerful as the artists of Fuzión Dance, draped in edgy lighting, stalk menacingly low across the stage-less floor invading the audience's space. I feel like pray. My eyes seem focused on defining the alpha among them and then in a wave of energy, Fuzión Dance takes us on a magical journey, deeply tapping our senses with aboriginal sounds, creatively using raw simplistic props and delivering complex narrative choreography.

The Artist's Perspective - Creative Growth

| Thomas Neel

As we wind down 2014 and another year passes, this is the time of year I really start looking closely at the next year and what I want from it. As an artist, one thing I always intend is for creative longevity and happiness. This, by the way, is not just about working a long time, but rather to be creatively expressing myself a long time and so far, so good.

Life Coach - Creativity

| Kim Tapper


What do you feel when you read these words? What do you think about?
I think about living, what it means to be human and fully alive with purpose and passion and infinite love of all that is. The problem is, I don’t live that as fully as I’d like on an every day basis.

Mindful Living - Doodling

| Dr. Monica Neel

Do you ever doodle? You know...the little scribbles on the side of your notes that, in school, were likely looked upon with scorn by your teachers. I have vivid memories of drawing on my notebook covers, margins, or even my hand while sitting in class during my school years. During meetings, I still find myself sketching little swirls or shaded geometric patterns on the side of my notes as I listen to the agenda at hand.

The Fearless Creator

| Tom Neel

I like fearless artists and while she may not agree with this description, Jane Guthridge certainly has artistic confidence. From her fashionable downtown studio, Denver artist Jane Guthridge seems to approach her artwork as part designer, part fabricator and with creative prototypical vision. Twenty-five years as a highly successful graphic artist accounts for a lot and the mention of pretty much her whole family being engineers, explains what must be a family gene.

Art A Mile High

| Tom Neel

A visit to the mile-high city of Denver is one which will enlighten you to a city’s approach to public art and the art scene it supports. Some urban areas do very little artistically and yet Denver rarely misses a chance to showcase creativity with examples never hard to find.

Norfolk, Virginia’s Natural Harbor for Art ... and Conservation!

| Tom Neel

When most of the nation, if not the world, hears the word Chrysler, it thinks of one thing - automobiles. But anywhere near the naval city of Norfolk, Virginia they think about their priceless gem, the Chrysler Museum of Art. It is, therefore, sort of ironic, that I’m an artist and writer whose father happened to have worked at a Chrysler dealership, I owned a 1965 Chrysler 300 and one of my closest friends is a retired engineer for Chrysler. Thus proving, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I’m here visiting this orchard once again.

Get Fired Up!

| Tom Neel

Hot words from the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio! One of the unexpected treats of our visit to the Chrysler Museum was visiting their free standing glass studio adjacent to the museum’s main building. The Glass Studio’s mission is as an educational facility which supports the museum’s collection.

Mark Lewis, Conservator

| Tom Neel

If Walter Chrysler Jr. was the parent of his collection, my host Mark Lewis, is certainly the one caring for his children! As the museum’s conservator for the last 14 years, it’s Mark’s roll to see that which Chrysler assembled, remains clean, intact and preserved. Remember, this museum and others like it, have thousands of objects to care for, so Mark has his hands full.

Man Of Steel

| Tom Neel

Many artists tap into an inner energy to create their works of art. For Peter Wood, that energy is not only necessary, it's an apparent approach to each of the pieces born from his Rusty Metal Studio near Paw Paw, West Virginia. You see, Wood works in steel. As cold and hard as his medium may be, Peter Wood uses his energy to bring warmth and meaning to it.

One of 52

| Shane Chalke

One of the great joys of this magazine will be introducing you to interesting people we've met while living our own artful life. Shane Chalke has been a close friend for over 25 of those years. Reading his bio will shed light on his very successful business background, but today, Shane is a shining example of someone who really enjoys living an artful life. Now in a sense, semi retired, he and his wife Monique, split their year between Banner Elk, NC. with his BE Jazz company and Sarasota, Fl., as a hard working, full time jazz musician. His first story gives us a one week taste in a year of his life today. Filled with comedic observations, it says a lot about our society as well. - Tom Neel

3 Things You Can Do Today to Live Life More Artfully!

| Linda Neel

Have you ever really thought about what artful means? Oxford defines artful as - clever or skillful, typically in a crafty or cunning way; showing creative skill or taste. Well, we certainly can't argue with that, but here at Live An Artful Life® we also define artful as a pure enjoyment of art and a artistic lifestyle that supports the arts.

The Artist's Perspective- Three Dimensional

| Thomas Neel

What do the words - three dimensional, mean to you? Let's explore the true depth of 3-D and I hope it not only opens up the artistic minds, but all minds to a broader way of thinking.

The Artist's Perspective - Art Evolution

| Thomas Neel

I recently purchased a new car. It's my first with a lot of technological wizardry. Assorted bells and whistles that we know no one really needs to get from point A to B. Why then? I must admit, much of it is cumbersome and the old me likes simplicity, while the new me tries not to be left behind. Yes, my smart phone is smarter than me. But, if we progressively learn to grow with technology,

Doing The Charleston

| Tom Neel

I recently came to Charleston after a long and overdue absence. No matter, as it seems if you haven't visited this historic downtown city yourself in a little less than a handful of years, you'll see the change too. I came with an artful story in mind, but the plot thickened and Charleston's developing narrative took a turn, becoming what I'll now have to whittle down to a peep show from a massive performance you'll just have to go and see for yourself. In that light, think of this as the program for the production of Charleston!

Music Therapy "A Place To Be"

| Tom Neel

What if I told you there was an absolutely joyous place for children with autism, Asperger Syndrome, blindness, mental challenges, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy? You'd likely say, "Wow, now that's a place to be!" And I'd say, exactly!

Taste This Town - Charleston will be happy to feed ya!

| Tom Neel

For you foodies out there, we just couldn't pass up the chance to tease your tummies! Charleston knows food and delivers it through no shortage of creative culinary kitchens and award winning chefs. It's one place that offers a quantity of quality. Competition seems fierce, netting you,the happy customer, delicious options, with solid customer service, in a wide range of building types, with great atmosphere, all over the city. That's a mouthful in its own right!

Some Of Charleston's Artist Studios

| Tom Neel

Not all artists want to work in a fish bowl, but some certainly enjoy it and if watching the creative process is your cup of tea, here are a few places that not only allow you to do just that, they encourage it.

Life Coach - New Perspective

| Kim Tapper

Many say the job of the artist is to give us a new perspective. Be it through a painting, a dance, poetry, music, each medium offers us a chance to see, hear, feel, and examine life from a new perspective, a multi-sensory perspective. Famous author and spiritual leader Gary Zukov (Seat of the Soul) espouses that the time of the "five-sensory human" is over and that as a species it's time to recognize and evolve into the fact that we are multi-sensory human beings.

Mindful Living -Creative Endeavors

| Dr. Monica Neel

When my parents returned my kids from a weekend visit recently, there was an extra item in tow. My dad had found my second grade school binder. It looked as if it had been tucked away in its original order with disorganized stacks of my school work. Sifting through the papers, I discovered yellowing math pages that had been torn from a workbook and purple ditto sheets that no longer held their smell (remember those?). Lastly, TONS of artwork - sketches, coloring, paintings.

Dave Mullins

| Tom Neel

Okay, so let me just cut to the chase here. If you were to look at all of my 5 star rated movies on Netflix, the majority would likely be animation. More specifically, those from one of the most creative companies in existence - Pixar. There, I've said it and in doing so, I feel I've fairly pre-qualified myself as a fan of anyone that is a part of Pixar's talented team.

Artful Baking

| Linda Neel

What is artful baking? With the plethora of cooking shows, magazines, cookbooks, and websites out there, there's no shortage of dazzling desserts: adorable cupcakes with unexpected ingredients, whimsical cakes that all but sing and dance, elegant pastries almost too lovely to eat. So, what does it take for somebody to produce a confectionary work of art?

Christine G. Epstein

| Tom Neel

From her tropical Oceano studio, based in Rincon, Puerto Rico, Christine Epstein shares her dream come true_living a creative and artful life as a full time jewelry artisan. She shares her childhood as an up bringing in a working class neighborhood of Darby, Pennsylvania.

The Hunt - Beachcombing for Sea Glass

| Tom Neel

The ocean has an alluring presence about it. Its awesome power and even romance intrigues we land born humans. It is after all, that which connects us to far away lands, no matter what land you are from. It is also there, at the shore, where the land meets the sea, this artful life story begins.

Life Coach- Living Artfully

| Kim Tapper

"There is no place I know, like the world of pure imagination," how true these #1 iconic words sung by the great dreamer himself, Willy Wonka. He created magic lands and candy dreams all based on the premise that our straight laced world of checks and balances is boring and unimaginative and that true life essence happens in all the places in between.

Mindful Living - Creative Confidence

| Monica Neel

I witnessed a pretty cool thing this weekend. My 6-year-old daughter attended a painting party with about 20 other first graders. At the front of the room was an instructor and a completed canvas with a beautiful little owl in a whirly sky with vibrant colors.

Live an Artful Life Contributors

Tom Neel
Tom Neel: Founder, Editor, Writer, Artist, Photographer.

Founder, Editor, Writer, Artist, Photographer.

Learn more about Tom throughout this website.

Linda Neel
Linda Neel: Founder, Associate Editor, Artist, Graphic Design

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,

Leaving 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
Linda Hendrickson: Artist, Art Teacher, and Wildlife Lover

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
Amy Hutto: Artist, Writer

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, On Instagram @ajhutto66, and on Facebook

Elaine Weiner-Reed
Elaine Weiner-Reed: Artist, Writer

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.

Born a twin, Elaine Weiner-Reed strove to resist her generation’s predetermined rules and boundaries to distinguish herself and create her own unique identity. Her search for identity and originality sharpened her mind and forged an intuitive, free soul that fiercely guards and nourishes her art. Her artwork focuses on unraveling the complexity and mystery of human emotion, behavior, and relationships, featuring the individual within or outside of a group dynamic. Her art is an outgrowth of her fascination with relationships and with trying to understand them. It is the exploration of human dynamics and their full and colorful spectrum of emotions and mystery. A caring student of human nature, Weiner-Reed recognizes that all relationships are complex. No two are ever the same. She is insatiably curious and that intellectual curiosity drives her desire to understand the story behind a situation or relationship. Everything she sees and experiences feeds into her art, as she continually hones and revises her perceptions. She takes insomnia and life's adventure where it leads her.  To view Elaine's artwork please go to her website, FB WeinerReed, Twitter ElaineWeinerArt, Instagram ewrartist, Pinterest weinerart, LinkedIn elaine-weiner-reed, YouTube Elaine Weiner-Reed, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Diane Helentjaris
Diane Helentjaris: Writer, Photographer

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, FB DianeHelentjaris, Twitter @Helentjaris

Steve Loya
Steve Loya: Art Teacher, Artist, Writer

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

Matt Bednarsky
Matt Bednarsky: Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Writer

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.

You can find out more about Matt at  FB  iTunes and Spotify search "Matt Bednarsky”

Kim Tapper
Kim Tapper: Associate Director/Life Coach, ACC, CPCC

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.

In 2013 she published "A Place to Be: Behind the Label", a book of poetry inspired by the clients at APTB and illustrated by one of her teenage clients.  Her book can be purchased on Amazon.