German Village Gazette

Artist finds inspiration in the 'strangest' places

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Painter Paul Rowntree poses for a portrait inside his home studio March 28. A selection of Rowntree's work will be on display in the German Village Meeting Haus through April.
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Artist Paul Rowntree never knows where he's going to find inspiration.

The Schumacher Place resident, who has an upcoming exhibit in the German Village Meeting Haus, specializes in close-ups of landscapes, particularly grasses and reeds.

"I get close enough to where the patterns start to change, Rowntree said.

"Its' very graphic," he said. "I can find things in the strangest of places, like a run-off pond at the edge of a supermarket."

Rowntree's exhibit, "Different Looks," features 35 oil-on-canvas pieces that will be on display April 7-30 in the Meeting Haus. An opening reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. April 7.

Born in Sheffield, England, Rowntree moved to London as a child.

"I spent a lot of my school-boy days outside of London in a boarding school, so I had a lot of exposure to the country," he said.

It was where he discovered his penchant for painting and the intricate details that nature provided.

"I zeroed in on that type of art," he said.

Rowntree studied art at St. Martin's School of Art in London. He has lived in the United States for roughly 50 years, the last five in German Village.

Over the years, he has been an illustrator and graphic designer, and his work has been used by many large corporations such as IBM, Whirlpool and Volkswagen. In addition, he has taught classes at the State University of New York, New Paltz.

He recently has returned to painting landscapes and vegetation of the Hudson Valley, Texas and Ohio. One of his newly found spots is Paint Creek Lake in Ross County.

One of his largest pieces of work, 79-by-17-inch painting, that will be on exhibit is of tall reedy grass he found in German Village.

At 77, he has no plans to hang up the brush.

"I don't think painters retire," he said.

His display marks the second big art exhibit held at the Brent Warner Festival Hall, most commonly known as the Fest Hall, since renovations were completed the first of week of March.

Shiloh Todorov, director of the German Village Society, credits Russ Arledge, the Society's program and operations manager, for bringing art back to the Meeting Haus.

"He envisioned the village getting back some of its art-destination cred from Short North," she said.

"And, while we continue to have amazing independent galleries, Russ envisioned us using Fest Hall to create events where art and community meet," Todorov said.

"It took 18 months, but with the help of our arts committee volunteers, we are now realizing that vision."

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