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Old Fart Art: Neal Martineau Paints

By Staff | Jan 13, 2014

“You’ve seen me around,” he said.

“I love to dance. I have a lot of dance partners sprawled around town.”

Neal Delano Martineau is the 80-year-old barfly you may have seen dancing late in to the wee hours at Tonys/Stonewalls, the Devonshire or Domestic.

“That’s me. Party boy,” he said.

Now a Shepherdstown fixture, Martineau is also a devoted husband to Patty Martineau, president of the Shepherdstown Daycare Board of Directors and a celebrated artist.

This weekend Martineau will show many never before seen pieces at his “Old Fart Art,” exhibit.

“I guess I can call myself a lifelong amateur,” he said discussing his art career.

As a “real English little boy,” growing up in California, Martineau said he was picked on in school until started paying off his bullies with hand-drawn pictures of airplanes.

“I was just kind of a peculiar kid,” he said.

Describing his current style an “an orgy,” Martineau combines pencil sketches and paint in colorful, somewhat abstract depictions of objects and animals.

“I go completely bananas with color,” he said.

Martineau was first formally trained at Princeton with Prix-de-Rome winner Steven Greene in the 50s.

After retiring from a long advertising career as Creative Director at Ogilvy and Mather in New York and taking up residence in Shepherdstown, Martineau said he’s learned to relax and have more fun, in both life and art.

“I’ve had a blast ever since I’ve been here,” he said.

“I decided to stop worrying about what people will think,” he went on to say about his art.

“I decided, this is my party,” he said

Martineau said his relationship with art is much like his relationship with those long nights on the dance floor.

“I’m 80 years-old. I’m beginning to lose marbles.”

“When I paint, I’m in complete control, enjoying myself and I get lost,” he said.

Like dancing or poetry he said, “These things take you away to another place.”

In the last year Martineau said he “hit a breakthrough,” and began producing at least one work of art weekly.

Some of Martineau’s work was decorating the walls of Shepherdstown’s Blue Moon Cafe when David Heatwole, a local artist, spotted it.

Heatwole and Martineau soon partnered up to put on tonight’s ‘Old Fart Art,’ exhibition, a night of firsts for Martineau.

“He’s hung a lot of stuff that I’ve kept hidden,” he said.

Not interested in making huge profits for himself, Martineau said hes simply validated in knowing that people enjoy his art enough to spend a few bucks on it.

“I’m quite surprised that people like my pictures,” he said.

The exhibit opening is being held at Heatwole’s Exhibitions Art Gallery and the Queen St. Gallery at 6 p.m. The galleries are located at 213 North Queen St. in Martinsburg.

Martineau’s work will be on display throughout the month of January. To find more information about Martineaus art and life visit www.nealmartineauart.com.