Creative Spotlight | Paul Rolfe

Published on 13 December 2022


Paul-Rolfe-1.png Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
My name is Paul Rolfe and I am a landscape painter. I initially trained as an Architect, and since retiring in 2020 I now paint each day. I am a self-taught painter, undertaking occasional short courses. I work with oils on canvas or board, based on preliminary drawings and photographs, mostly in my home studio. At times I work plein air, and later finish those paintings in the studio.

Paul-Rolfe-2.png Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
I am interested in both urban and rural landscapes. I live in Gladesville and many of my ideas come from walking around the local streets, along the Lane Cove and Parramatta rivers, the inner city, the harbour and occasional travel to country areas. I have just come back from travelling up the northern coast of NSW discovering beaches and towns I had never been to. I also find philosophical ideas can also suggest a particular way of seeing the surroundings.

Paul-Rolfe-5.png I try to depict some contemporary aspects of the landscape, things that reflect the times we are living through, not only to view the landscape as a ‘picturesque’ composition. One recent painting shows an informal structure created by someone from trees and branches washed down the flooded rivers and onto a nearby beach.

I also enjoy plein air painting outside. Not only do you come into contact with passers-by but it is always a challenge given the changing sun and shadow positions. It is also a way of working where you are forced to make quick decisions about colour, shape and perspective. And it provides a way of recording outside conditions for later working in the studio.

Paul-Rolfe-4.png How does your personal history, culture or experience inform your creative work?
When I was young, I travelled, lived and worked in Mexico City for a while. I got to know a group of artists who made work based on the life of the street central to their work and life in the city.  At the time I found it incredibly inspiring to understand that work. My work as an Architect has also influenced my painting where geometric shapes contrast with organic form.

Paul-Rolfe-3.png Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
It is important to develop an understanding of who you are, avoid stereotype thinking in your work and be persistent with what direction you wish to pursue.

What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why? What creative project are you working on at the moment?
I had my first solo exhibition in 2017, in Balmain ‘Searching the Landscape’, which was successful. I am currently working on a new exhibition of recent work to be shown at the Sheffer Gallery in Darlington from 15-28 February 2023, ‘Surroundings: near and far’. This exhibition includes works from 2020 to the present. I shall post more about the exhibition on Instagram in January 2023.

Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?
Instagram: @rolfe3240

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