Paul Matthews went to Kenyon College in Ohio. began his study of art at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. While at the Cooper Union School, he was awarded the school's highest achievement award. Matthew's career in the Adirondacks began when he met his wife, Leila. Their summer house in Keene was built in 1923 by his wife's grandfather, who intended for the second home to be an escape from the city life in New York. Second home owners are classic examples of outsiders in the Adirondacks: they are not true residents. Currently, Matthews spends the summers in the Adirondacks in his Keene house, though returns home in the off-season to his permanent dwelling and studio in New Jersey
Matthews is a landscape artist who draws his inspiration from scenes in the Adirondacks. He has remarked that "everything looks so beautiful. It's like there's been an opneing and you can see right through it. . . and we take it all for granted" (Adirondack Explorer). According to Atea Ring, gallery owner of the Atea Ring Gallery in Westport, NY, Matthews has a way of portraying the Adirondacks that no one else can: “He sees it, he feels it, and has the ability to paint it” (Adirondack Explorer). Matthews has many exhibits at the Atea Ring Gallery in Wesport. His work has also been shown at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He has been called one of the best known contemporary artists in the Adirondacks (Adirondack Explorer).
Unlike the paintings of many landscape painters, the sky dominates Matthew's paintings. He is fascinated and drawn in by the clouds he observes in the Adirondacks. His paintings are orientated toward the sky, symbolically depicting heaven. The dramatization of the clouds creates a sense of awe that surely Matthews feels himself when he is in the Adirondacks. They are also foreboding, as the clouds seems to allude to oncoming storms. As an outsider, Matthews notices the vast openness of the sky in the Adirondacks, and this is what he chooses to paint.
"'What is it about the landscape that intrigues you?' 'Its beauty of course. In my pursuit of natural beauty I am always confounded, because whatever I have done, or attempted, nature always presents me with something more beautiful—as if to mock me.'"
- Paul Matthews in an interview for
The Art Room Online