As a student at Charleston High School in the 1970s, Teel had no plans to become an artist, or even to go to college. He took a couple of art classes at West Virginia State University but quit college after two and a half years, deciding instead to go to work.
He was living and working in Parkersburg when he worked up the nerve to call the advertising firm that then went by the name Fahlgren & Swink.
"I took in my drawings and paintings to the art director. I owe him a debt of gratitude and now I can't remember his name," Teel said. "He looked at my work and then he said, 'Let me show you what you're up against.' "
The man told Teel he had talent but needed training, and he recommended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
"I went up there the next week to visit," Teel said, and soon was enrolled as a student. It wasn't a straight path to graduation because he ran out of money and went back to work to raise enough to finish.
Then it was time for practical employment, and Teel headed to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a graphic designer for a firm that a lot of work for tech firms. While his job was certainly creative, any illustration work he did was precise and scientific. There wasn't much time to pursue fine art and the less he did it, the more critical he was of his work.
"Once a year, I'd paint something. I'd draw a little," Teel said. "And then it almost became like an anxiety thing for me."
Eight years ago, Teel and his family - he and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters still at home - moved back to the Kanawha Valley when his sister-in-law, Kathleen DuBois, asked him to take a position at a marketing company she started in 2001 called Progressity.
DuBois also is a life coach, a passion she applied to her brother-in-law this past year when he expressed interest in getting back to painting. She persuaded him to start taking lessons with Charleston artist Barrie Kaufman.
Kaufman encourages him and chides him when he's negative on his blog.
"My confidence level goes up and down on a consistent basis," he acknowledged. "But I post my paintings no matter what."
He's learned painting is as much in his brain as it is his fingers.
"If you don't plan it in your mind, it's going to overwhelm you," he said. "When I worked in D.C., I did some illustration work for scientific-type magazines and it was real tight. Part of my learning arc is I'm trying to loosen up.
"I know how I want my artwork to be in four or five years," he said.
Teel plans to continue his goal of painting every day for a year and then says he'll reassess. He may continue or he may start painting in a larger format. He plans to continue learning and has signed up for a plein air - painting in the open air - class in Maryland later this year.
He would like to be able to supplement his income at least a bit with his art and looks forward to devoting more time to it as he is able.
"I do have a good time doing it," he said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.