David Beal’s contemporary and classic oil portraits not only convey a likeness of the sitter, but it’s said his work captures the spirit and character of the individual subject. Beal began his professional painting career while in his teenage years in upstate Ohio. At the age of 16, he was recognized by President Gerald Ford for his large-scale murals, depictions of key events in American history, that he was being commissioned to create and install in libraries, schools and other public spaces. That recognition triggered additional mural and portrait commissions, paving the way for a career in the arts.
At age 18, Beal moved from his hometown in rural Ohio to New York City to attend the Art Students League of New York. While at the Art Students League, he was mentored by Robert Beverly Hale, curator of American paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrator Robert Emil Schultz and pastel master Daniel Greene. After two years in New York, Hale died, and Beal shifted his focus from fine art to commercial art. He moved to Columbus, Ohio, and completed his commercial arts education at the Columbus College of Art and Design. He launched a design studio while still in college, and then was recruited by Hallmark Cards here in Kansas City. He worked for Hallmark for over 23 years as an illustrator, creative director and then business leader in the U.S and Japan. He left Hallmark in 2016 and is now painting full time.
Throughout his career, he maintained a fine arts studio, creating commissioned oil paintings, murals and portraits for commercial and private clients and fine art galleries. Notable portrait commissions include Steve and Dana Demetriou, owners of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Bob Roth, chairman of the board for Hillyard Chemicals; San Diego Pastor Moses Vegh; Dr. Douglas Girod, executive vice chancellor for University of Kansas Medical Center; Robert Marchesi, founder of DeMarche Associates; and Troy Paino, president of Truman State University. He is an active member of the Oil Painters of America as well as the Portrait Society of America. Beal currently lives in Overland Park with his wife, Carol, a jewelry designer/maker.
Beal’s paintings have won many national and regional awards. “Profile of Alexander” was juried into the 100 best representational paintings of 2014 by Oil Painters of America and was shown at InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas; “Bangkok Jam” and “Portrait of Ryle” were included in OPA’s Western Regional exhibits, and “Mariah’s Rose” won the Juror’s Award at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Louis. Beal’s work has been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine and American Artist’s Magazine. His work has appeared at the Society of Illustrators in New York and many galleries in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and Texas. His drawings are part of the permanent collection at the Art Students League of New York. Beal also has served as executive chair of the Friends of the Arts Foundation in Overland Park, and he is active in teaching and mentoring high school students in the area.