Wanda Teel is a self-taught artist who was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up in the South. Her parents were both from poor rural Alabama farm families who were bewildered at Wanda’s obsession for drawing on things. Her father scolded her to “stop that foolishness” and instead put her mind on real things that would help her earn a living. It was only after she married and was living in Virginia that she began experimenting again with her art. She secretly worked on a painting that she entered into an art show in The Plains, Virginia. It won first place.
She started working on rugs and doing a few other paintings. In the early 1980s in a chance meeting with an art dealer at the Watergate, her husband mentioned his wife’s paintings. The dealer asked to see some examples, and ended up showing her work. Her paintings quickly sold out, but shortly thereafter Wanda moved to the North, and she put her paints away. In 1999 after experiencing a number of personal hardships, Wanda began painting again. She said it was like she had bottled up her spirit for so long that it had to come out no matter what or she would burst. “I feel like a butterfly which has emerged from a cocoon and is free to finally fly wherever it wants to go.”