In Omaha, Nebraska, on May 27,
1948, Lloyd and Ann Anderson became the proud parents of Neal,
the first of their three children. Lloyd was a career Air
Force man, but during World War II he served in the infantry
and was one of the survivors of the infamous Bataan Death
March. Ann served as wife, mother, and coordinator of the
family, making sure that everything ran smoothly.
As a youngster, Neal was constantly
drawing. He learned the basics from a weekly 15-minute television
program, "John Gnagy Learn to draw." However, the
key influence on his style and subject matter was Walter Weber,
staff artist for National Geographic Magazine. Weber's portrayal
of wildlife and its surroundings impressed him enough to try
to emulate Weber.
During high school, music played
an equal role with art in Neal's life. He played drums in
a rock band, and about three years after he graduated, he
joined a standards band playing drums and doing most of the
While still a senior in high
school, he met Susie Piccolo, a senior at a parochial school
nearby. Though opposites in many ways, they dated steadily
and became serious in their intentions. However, immediately
after high school, Neal enrolled in a commercial art course
at Omaha Art School, Susie's family moved to Des Moines, and
the two were separated for one and one-half years. Both Neal
and Susie assumed that it was over between them until they
met again, half by design and half by accident. It was love
at first sight all over again, and a year later they were
married. They currently have six children.
His first job as a family man
was driving a delivery truck for a department store. He accepted
that job knowing that one of the window display personnel
was being drafted. The job he really wanted, doing window
displays, would open up in two or three months. As luck would
have it, three months after he was transferred to displays,
the man who was drafted was discharged for medical reasons,
and by law, the store was forced to reinstate him. Neal found
himself working as an assistant manager in a candy factory
for the next four and one-half years.
During this time he continued
to play drums in a band. Dick Turpin, the guitar player, was
also the Hunter's Safety Coordinator for the game commission
of Nebraska. Dick acted as intermediary between Neal and NEBRASKALAND,
the state hunting and fishing magazine, and Neal landed the
responsibility of creating the series of animal paintings
which graced the inside back cover of each issue.
In 1977 he and two other commercial
artists decided to form a partnership. They worked out of
the same studio and office, billed under the same name, but
each had his own individual clients. Things went well for
about eight years, but he soon found that his urge to continue
painting wildlife was interfering with his commercial art
responsibilities-or vice versa. In 1985 he was forced to choose
between the two, and wildlife art prevailed.
Although painting is Neal's first
love, he is a man of many interests. He likes almost anything
that has to do with the out-of-doors. All members of his family
are ardent fishermen, and they take family outings whenever
possible. He hunts with both gun and bow and has been very
successful at both.
Neal has had a lifelong fascination
with airplanes and he attends as many air shows as time will
allow. Although he does not hold a pilots license, he loves
to fly in virtually any aircraft, large or small.
In 1993, Neal had a somewhat
unique experience. Another Neal Anderson, famous running-back
for the Chicago Bears football team, traded a jersey which
he wore in a play-off game to Neal Anderson, wildlife artist,
for one of his 1989 duck stamp prints.
Photography is another one of
Neal's hobbies. He enjoys the challenge and need for expertise
to obtain good reference photos for his paintings.