Pandemic Paintings

Anything but ennui!

Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle
4 min readJul 15, 2020

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My Geriatric Journal #18

Torch Gingers, acrylics on canvas, 36" x 48" ©2020 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

Don’t fret, dear journal, because I have been neglecting you — the hurricanes, earthquakes, rioting in the streets of San Juan and a global pandemic have been keeping me somewhat distracted. I know you may have noticed I haven’t wandered out of the gates of Villa Flores in nearly five months but you must know I have kept busy inside these jungle walls.

One thing I have been doing is painting. If you expect interpretations of the chaos and entropy into which the world is plummeting, you will be disappointed. I see only beauty. At the top of this post is the first example. I painted it on my very last canvas — the shops are closed for the duration of the Covid 18 shutdown. The subject is a stylized trio of torch gingers. I had the challenge of making them appear to glow without overdoing it.

With no canvases, I then took on the seven rescued cabinet doors that Hurricane Maria tore from our north terrace. Each is 3/4" plywood and weigh between 11 and 15 pounds, so my set was not painted en plein air — unless the fact I painted them on the same terrace counts. There were no real models before me, also, just my memories of the countless things I have seen and photographed on the property.

Breadfruit, acrylics on wood panels 24.5" x 34.5,” ©2020 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

The breadfuit panels are in remembrance of a massive and productive tree that Maria destroyed. Nature is kind, however, and a new tree has emerged from an underground shoot of the old — is that symbolic? I think the leaves are beautiful — they can be several feet wide or long, and the fruit almost as big as a basketball…and potato-like delicious.

Red Blossoms, acrylics on wooden panels, 18.5" x 34.5.” ©2020 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

I couldn’t decide which way to display “Pascuas,” the rendition of poinsettias on the left, so I signed it twice! The torch ginger was not a problem — it always reaches for the sky. Both panels now (ironically) are hung on the terrace on which they were once a utilitarian part — I think it’s poetic justice and a challenge to the next hurricane.

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Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

An aged humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind against most current indications.