Neal Greig was born in Belfast in 1965. He studied Fine Art in Edinburgh College of Art from 1983-1987 then went on to a Post Graduate in Drawing and Painting from 1988–1989, where he was awarded the Andrew Grant Scholarship for Post Graduate Study. In 2018 Neal was elected as a member of the Royal Ulster Academy.
"Exploring the language of paint and investigating creativity of the moment are fundamental aspects on my journey of making a painting. The elemental combination of earth, air, fire and water are my core subject matter, once thought by the ancient Chinese to be the components of a human body. I seek to infuse and overlap these elements in a distillation of paint. There are musical and poetic comparisons as I aim to create a breadth of dialogue in response to a live landscape situation. I weave a line between abstract passages of paint that which is familiar, analytical and representational.
I document the light, space and texture, spontaneously painting the changes, observing and marking the passing of time. At times a vigorous approach is employed, capturing a sense of urgency in an effort to catch the changing light. This could then pass on to analytical observation, seeking to emulate the subtle complexity of natural forms. Working outside brings an instinctive aspect to painting. I employ a directness of articulation and economy of language. At times areas are left understated while other areas are the focus of attention. This is reflective of how the mind, the eye and the hand respond in a cohesive flow in response to working from life, whilst the creative energy emanates from the heart. I look for a sense of pictorial space, taking the furthest point from the eye, then drawing the composition towards me. Conversely, the viewer, looking at the surfaces and reading the painting is gradually drawn through the space. In a sense I am painting an organic, natural space rather than a picturesque view of the landscape. I am not averse to the beauty and interconnectedness of things. The palette of colours is kept simple. Considerable mixing takes place, on the palette and on the painting.”