Paula Whitbread-Roberts

As an artist my inspiration is drawn from many sources including places visited with reference to landscape, water, architecture and interiors. Paintings evolve through reflection on the passage of time and life’s experiences. Journeys I have taken and lucid dreams through a state of semi-insomnia summon the senses and thought processes which play throughout my work. Wakefulness is eased by a desire to read widely feeding my imagination and through many hours spent swimming, which allows me to concentrate my ideas whilst in a state of peaceful respite.

Earlier work expresses my fascination not just with ruins, but certainly with old structures, some still surviving, living and breathing-if only just hanging on in some cases. Stepping into old theatres, disused warehouses and scrabbling through old dwellings etc all fuel my sensory perceptions of what might have been, the evocativeness of past over several generations, leaving trace elements of that presence inspire my imagination. My paintings conceptualise this in a rather theatrical manner, a set without the players, just trace elements of their existence being absorbed.


Knowing some of the background history plays an important role in conjuring up these images and allows me to become more engaged with the subject matter. I’m creating visual portrayal, drawn partly from evidential research, but also which is highly embellished and emotionally charged by my own heightened awareness. Broadly speaking my paintings are driven by a narrative theme. I am drawn to the constantly changing pattern of form, colour and light, revealing signs of history, where silence lingers with the residue of human presence. Shafts of light and fleeting shadows evoke the elusiveness of time. Current landscape paintings are based on the many beautiful coves where I swim and around Stithians Lake in Cornwall, near to where I live. Many buildings were buried beneath its waters in the construction of the lake and when these recede in the summer, many parts of these ruins are exposed. There is a distinct feel of solitude and quietness whilst walking and sketching in this beautiful area.


Prior to going full time as a practising artist, I lectured on a Foundation Diploma Art Design and Media course. Being part of a highly enthusiastic team of other artists/designers we were constantly discussing ideas with each other and with the students, who we were helping to progress onto a diverse range of Degree courses. I now feel at the pinnacle of my life in terms of developing my own work. I am totally absorbed in painting and the older I get the more consumed I become.