WILLIAM NEAL was born in Guildford in 1947 and brought up in the village of Bramley, Surrey. He gained a Diploma in Art and Design at the Guildford School of Art, and followed a diverse career in the graphic arts working for the BBC, Pitman Publishing and C.C.S Associates, a leading design group in London's West End. It was from C.C.S that he met Greg Lake, and went on to work for "Emerson, Lake and Palmer" producing cover designs for the two million selling albums 'Tarkus' and 'Pictures at an Exhibition'. His work was also used by other rock bands during this period such as "Stone the Crows", "Audience", "The Mick Abrahams Band", the "Upsetters" and numerous reggae bands.
Since 1971 he has concentrated on painting full time, holding many exhibitions until he met Stefan Knapp in 1978. This proved to be a major turning point in his career becoming Stefan's studio assistant and close friend. Stefan's influence as an internationally famous enamellist and painter together with his kindly direction and encouragement laid the basis for all of William's work today.
Although William's work bears no resemblance to the scale and symbolism of Stefan's work, the studio discipline and long gradations of colour will always be hallmarks of this unlikely yet highly beneficial meeting. Stefan died in 1996.
Today William works from his studio in Dumfries and Galloway. The theme of peace, colour and harmony permeates all of his paintings, many of which depict his specialist subject of the Galloway landscape by moonlight in watercolour. His paintings continue to be instantly recognisable and enthusiastically collected. He first exhibited at Tolquhon Gallery in 2003 and has rapidly become one of the most popular artists at the gallery.