Kayla Antiel used to create large, abstract oil paintings, but while stuck in her Raleigh, North Carolina, home during the pandemic, she began painting small, detailed watercolors of flowers. The watercolors were both a way to mark the passage of time and also to bring a bit of nature indoors. “This move was in part inspired by the increased uncertainty and anxiety that accompanied Covid,” she says. “I felt the need to make hopeful work. Flowers are beautiful and hopeful, but they are also delicate and ephemeral.”
Antiel’s series, “quarantine flower project,” demonstrates art’s ability to preserve nature’s fleeting beauty—the particular curve of a petal or turn of a stem—against the ravages of time. She has created over 160 works since the pandemic lockdowns began in March; they appear, at a distance, like a calendar of floral arrangements. Antiel says she has never felt more prolific or connected to other artists over a shared experience. “One of the best unexpected discoveries I made along the way was that so many other artists were also doing floral works during this time,” she says. “There can be community, even in isolation.”
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