Alliums and Thistle

Patrick Neal

Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, 2020

“Alliums and Thistle” was the first painting I made during the Covid-19 crisis. I completed it in April of 2020. The painting reflects my experience of navigating the day-to-day during the pandemic by way of subject matter that mirrors my psychological state. The process of creating the painting was slow and considered at a time when I took solace in the peace of my studio.

The painting has a cool, wintry, clinical feel that captures the isolation of the studio building where I work, literally depicting the scratches and paint stains of the sink and walls where I clean my brushes. Over the years, I have started taking pictures with my iPhone, documenting works in progress, or capturing objects and scenes as I walk to and from my studio. These photos often enter into my paintings indirectly as inspiration or backdrops. 

The blue and purple flowers in the still life resemble the receptor sites and round shape of the Coronavirus, as does the glass vase on the lower right. The still life sits on a light table and is illuminated from below with an almost sterile and antiseptic aura that mimics a hospital environment. There is a network of dry stick-like lines that have a scratchy interlocking quality and serve to counter the weightier forms. I was able to take my time with this painting and consider the relationships between dead and plastic flowers as the distractions of work and social events were canceled.

Patrick Neal

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