Blaine studied at the Richmond School of Art and moved to New York City in 1942 to study painting with Hans Hofmann. In 1943, she was the youngest member of the American Abstract Artists group. In 1945, she studied with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17.
She showed at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery starting in 1953.
In 1986, Blaine received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for Art. 
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- The Brooklyn Museum
- National Academy of Design
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Rose Art Museum
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- "Nell Blaine: Image and Abstraction, Paintings and Drawings 1944-1959," Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York
- "Nell Blaine: Selected Works," Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York
- "Artist in the World: Work from the 1950s," Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York
- "Nell Blaine: Abstract Paintings and Works on Paper," Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, IL
- "Nell Blaine/ Theresa Pollak," Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA
- Roberta Smith (November 15, 1996). "Nell Blaine, 74, Painter Who Blended Styles". The New York Times.
- "Nell Blaine", Martica Sawin, Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring - Summer, 1982), pp. 35-39