April 30, 2012

(For those who asked, here is the SOKY article in an easier to read format):
WHY do you draw or paint? What do you want your work to SAY? “ 
These were questions posed by one of my college art professors and, at age twenty, I had no clue how to answer them. It would take a Buddhist proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” along with several more years before my teacher would arrive in the form of a five-year old girl.  That girl is my darling granddaughter – and she would want me to tell you up front that she is now almost seven. She has helped me see that the above questions apply equally to all interests and vocations as we seek to understand why we are attracted to, or inspired by certain people, places and things. Another universal quest is to identify the intention, meaning and purpose our work holds for us and those we share it with. (Yes, a five year old can teach us all that and so much more!)

 Picasso knew all about the wisdom of children when he said, “We are all born artists. But the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. If we observe a child, we see that she draws and paints for the sheer joy of it.  That is her only why. The joy of expression removes any fear of failure as her focus is locked into the adventure of discovery in the present moment. There is simply no room for apprehension or hesitation in a little heart that creates from that magical space of joy, wonder, and pure potential.

A century ago, Robert Henri famously taught his art students to “push on to paint the spirit of the thing… because what we need is more a sense of wonder, and less of the business of making a picture.”  To be honest, at first I couldn’t grasp the full meaning of that statement. (See how my patient my little teacher has been with me?) But my granddaughter’s approach to art helped me see that a bigger truth lies beneath the exuberance and joy in which work is created. When children share their art with us, we are not inclined to critique it for preciseness of drawing, color harmony, values or composition before we hang it on the refrigerator. Judgment is thrown out the window as the purity of intention surpasses those technical details. Children intuitively capture that sense of wonder Henri was referring to, because the underlying spirit of their subjects is all they see. And when we view their work, all we see is the energy and delight they bring to it. When any gift of creativity is received with the same joy it was created in, it becomes an exchange that uplifts and encourages both parties.  Ultimately, we discover that if we do what we love, and simultaneously share our strengths and talents with others, we serve humanity on a higher level. Deepak Chopra connects our life’s purpose with service when he explains “…when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit…and lose track of time and create abundance in our own life as well as the lives of others.”

In 2007, I began writing about my art journey in a blog.  My original intention was merely to share what I was doing with family and friends, but it has taught me that the process of painting trumps the outcome. And the journey has evolved along with a variety of interests and opportunities.  I had a solo exhibit for the month of April, and this month I am donning the “hat of illustrator” for a new book called Cathedral Building, The Power of Purpose by Greg Coker. Next month I look forward to participating in Freedom Fest, a Humane Society fundraiser, where invited artists donate work garnered from painting sessions at Lexington horse farms. Discovery and continued learning is my lifelong pursuit, and who said it couldn’t be fun along the way?

So why do I paint? It has been in my heart and soul for as long as I remember. Like my granddaughter, I sketched as a way of documenting life as it unfolded. What I try to say with my art is that beauty exists in the most ordinary of moments, and I am humbled by the challenge of capturing that truth in paint.

As you read this, I hope you too will see the wonder in everything around you and keep a vigilant eye out for your next teacher (who may appear in disguisejust sayin’)
Faye Christian Phillips

And I leave you with these enchanting words by Neil Gaima…
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful! And don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

April 27, 2012

Bye George

Looking for something current to read?
Well, I am happy to say that my artwork is featured in not one, but two new publications. First I want to share information about a new book that I was honored to illustrate called Building Cathedrals, the Power of Purpose by author, motivational speaker and life coach Greg Coker, with contributions from Skip Wirth, Terry Daniels, and Dave Tatman. Using the story of the Fire of 1666 as a metaphor, we learn how Christopher Wren stepped in to accept the daunting task of rebuilding St. James Cathedral, and much of the city of London. The author offers modern day examples of successful leaders who also learned to use "personal fires" as incentive for growth and change. Readers are inspired to rebuild their own lives with a sense of purpose that includes supporting and encouraging others along the way. click here for more info
And starting today, you can pick up a copy of Soky Happenings Magazine where I am the featured artist for the merry month of May! (after all George is so "last year")click here for more info

April 22, 2012

an open book

12 x 16, oil on canvas

"Books fall open.
You fall in.
When you climb out again, 
you are a bit larger than you used to be."
Gregory Maguire

 Paintings are currently on display for the month of April 

April 15, 2012

the poet's corner

8 x 10, oil on canvas

"The greatest poetry
is revealing to the reader
the beauty in something so simple,
that it was taken for granted.
That, I think, is the job of the poet.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

 Paintings currently on display for the month of April at the Porter Cafe Gallery (click here for more info) 

April 9, 2012

shelf esteem

8 x 10, oil on canvas

Books help to form us.
 If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, 
the contents of every one I have ever read,
 somehow transmuted and transformed into me...
just as my genes and soul within. make me uniquely me, 
so I am the sum of the books I have read. 
I am my literary DNA. 
~ Susan Hill

 Paintings currently on display at the Porter Cafe Gallery April 4th thru May 1st.

April 2, 2012


I am honored to announce that the following paintings will be on display at the Porter Cafe in the Main Street Library from April 4th through May 1st.  My theme is all about...what else?  READING, of course!

This exhibit is near and dear to my heart because, when I was ten, I first discovered my love of Michelangelo Buonoarroti in the pages of a book at my local library. Sitting in the middle of the aisle with that huge book, I wept as I studied those images - I just couldn't believe a mere mortal could create such powerfully beautiful sculptures and frescoes. With that discovery, I knew my view of art would be forever altered.  Books have a way of doing that. That is why we build libraries. We read something powerful, meaningful, eloquent, relevant, useful, intriguing, worthwhile...and we say I HAVE TO SHARE THIS WITH OTHER PEOPLE! Books connect us with ourselves. And libraries connect us with each other.

If you have frequented this blog since its 2007 beginning, you know that I have included a writer's quote with each painting because, for me,  they just go together like peas and carrots, bread and butter. I simply cannot conceive of one without the other, perhaps because both writers and artists begin with a blank page. Sometimes the quote precedes and inspires the painting, and sometimes it is the other way around - but either way, I have discovered that words and colors carry energy. Energy that has the potential for inspiring, healing, uplifting, touching peoples' lives in a meaningful way. I know I am certainly grateful for the images and words I discovered all those years ago.

And so, if you are "in the neighborhood" I do hope you will stop by and browse the gallery on your way to discover a great book (or several). In the meantime, I leave you with these images and words in the hope you will find them as joyful as I do...

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. 
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful!
 And don't forget to make some art- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
 And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." 
-Neil Gaiman