The greatest challenge in all of the arts has always been to create something that has never been created before. Artists will train and study for years to develop the skills and techniques that allow them to reproduce an image they’ve seen or create an idea from their imagination. Only a few develop those skills to a profession level and that’s when the challenge begins.
A Hidden Talent
Born in Glendale, California, Phillip’s family moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho at an early age. Phillip’s development was subtle starting with drawing and sketching as a he grew up. He was drawn to traditional black and white photography and the process of working in a dark room. Moving to Florida to be a film director he was pulled towards cinematography focusing on composition and lighting.
Phillip’s walk towards fine art was a great turning point in his life. Responsible yet searching for a deeper meaning and purpose in his mid 20’s Phillip literally stumbled into a local gallery in Orlando one night. For the first time he was surrounded by artists who were painting live. Weekends of partying turned into weekends of painting, which turned into daily painting. In only a several months Phillip was creating photorealistic portraiture paintings using watercolors and acrylics.
The challenge began about a year into painting. Galleries were astonished by his ability and the fact that this was an artist that had only been painting for one year. Their objections were all the same, “We love your work but it has to be in oil,” and “it has to be more than a pretty face.” Phillip’s response was, “I have no idea how to paint in oil… But I can figure it out.”
Getting away from the rejections, on a surfboard in the ocean, he posed the question, “What inspires me?” Sitting on the beach after catching a few waves it came to him. Nature is this beautiful sculpture that includes all of the elements. It’s where he finds peace and contentment by spending time in his faith. It evokes our senses to feel a spiritual connection. Everyone may view our creator differently, but they feel that presence in nature.
Several months later Phillip was beginning to sell his very first oil seascapes in three smaller galleries.The question would always be asked, “So how long have you been painting in oils?” The response of, “a few months,” always had to be repeated. Approaching the larger galleries again posed a new challenge, “You do great work, but we already have a seascape artist, and we’ve seen work like this before.”
Establishing the Style
Influence by his past love for sketching and black and white photography, Phillip wanted that classical traditional look for one of his seascapes. Frustrated with the slow speed of a tiny pencil he decided to use brushes with black and white paint. He loved the results and never expected the responses. Black and white oil paintings were different. Phillip was achieving a new level of detail and value, but the concept of Monochromatic Reflectionism was just about to unfold.
The major galleries that wanted something unique were now hesitant to try something different. Phillip pushed for his first major show in Key West and nearly sold out. It was a chain reaction that has lead to hundreds of major shows, demonstrations, and events during these past few years with current displays in galleries across the country and international exhibitions.
One of my favorite stories is my first major show in Key West. I was talking about where I based the painting and how different the art was, when I was interrupted by someone saying ‘That’s nice and all, but do you want to know why I like your painting? I see God in your painting. I can feel Him in the rays of light.’
That statement floored me. I realized I had limited the fact that God speaks to us all in similar ways. We tend overlook his connection with others because we’ve put him in a little box of our own understanding. I looked at the man in front of me, and saw the heart of someone who loved and longed for God just like myself.”
My work isn’t about a Florida or California beach. It’s about spending time in your faith or with a loved one. We’ve all been given unique gifts and talents. You see it in the arts, you hear it in music, but there are gifts of leadership, intelligence, speech, compassion… they’re equally important and the catch is they’re not for us, they’re to share and help others.”
I’ve realized removing the color allows the artwork to become somewhere personal. Somewhere you’ve spent time in your faith or time with a loved one. That’s the story I want you to get from my work. Realize this world, the talents you’ve been given, and the people in our lives are blessings. Focus on your faith and it will help you along the way. It’s done that for me so many times. This is where I go to remember that and seek guidance.”