Phillips grew up loving art but never thought he could make it his
livelihood. At college he majored in criminology and had been accepted into
law school when four of his paintings were sold at an airport restaurant.
That was all the incentive he needed to begin his work as a fine art painter.
Bill Phillips is now a renowned aviation artist and the landscape artist of
choice for many collectors. Bill's strengths as a landscape painter, a
respect and reverence for a time and place, help him when painting aviation as
well as classic landscapes. Phillips often spends days observing landscape
subjects. Finding companionship with the land, he is able to convey the
boundlessness of nature on the painted canvas inspiring a reverence for the
natural landscape in its beholders.
After one of his paintings was presented to King Hussein of Jordan, Phillips
was commissioned by the Royal Jordanian Air Force. He developed sixteen major
paintings, many of which now hang in the Royal Jordanian Air Force Museum in
Amman. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum presented
a one-man show of Phillips’ work in 1986. He is one of only a few artists to
have been so honored.
In 1988, Phillips was chosen to be a U.S. Navy combat artist. For his
outstanding work, the artist was awarded the Navy’s Meritorious Public Service
Award and the Air Force Sergeants Association’s Americanism Medal. At the
prestigious annual fund raiser for the National Park Service, Bill’s work has
been included in the Top 100 each year he has entered the competition and his
work has won the Art History Award twice.
Phillips was selected as the Fall 2004 Artist in Residence at the
North Rim of the Grand Canyon and tapped by the U.S. Postal Service to paint
the stamp illustrations and header design for a pane of twenty stamps in 1997
entitled Classic American Aircraft. He was chosen again in 2005 for a pane of
twenty stamps (ten designs) entitled American Advances in Aviation.
Bill’s major collection of aviation art, Into the Sunlit Splendor, was
published by The Greenwich Workshop Press in 2005.