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“Rodeo Daze.”
"Rodeo Daze.” This painting was inspired by a customer who was an ex rodeo rider. He would visit our booth when we did shows in Arizona and occasionally buy a nice print. He talked fondly about the rodeo and other adventures he had experienced. As he talked his eyes would wander as if he were seeing the arena again. I imagined him out on the range longing for the excitement of that damned old rodeo one more time.
“Pride of the Father.”
Pride of the Father. The mountain range in this painting is at the end of the Santa Monica range in California. This is a national park not more than a half mile from my house. When I moved out here to Newbury Park in 1980 they had just shut down a place called Jungle Land. Local rumor has it that some of the animals may have escaped and so I imagined that this is what they might be doing on a warm summer day. The title of the painting? Is it the pride of the white tiger in his young cub? Is it the pride of the mountain in the background? Or is it the pride of the Creator? You decide.
"Playground of the Gods." - Artist Michael Phillips
Playground of the Gods - Artist Michael Phillips. The first time I saw a whale breaching I thought about how much it reminded me of a spacecraft launching at Cape Canaveral. All of that fluid falling off of the sides of the Apollo much like the fluid falling off of the whale. The sheer enormity of their size being propelled into the air. Wow! The name Apollo is of a God and this inspired me to honor the Gods of the sea and other realms. The Moon, Venus and Mars lurk in the background.
“Pico De Gallo.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Pico De Gallo.” I guess my favorite place is Maui and I’m constantly taking photographs of sunsets and anything else that interests me. In this case the boardwalk in Lahaina as the sun was setting and creating a golden environment. The rooster was shot in Key West, FL and I love how proud he is. “The Cock of the Walk” if you will. I love the goldish background and the the contrast of the brillantly colored rooster.
"Knight of the Iguana." - Artist Michael Phillips
"Knight of the Iguana." The look of this Iguana was so stunning that it reminded me of a medieval Knight in armor. I was fascinated by the color and detail of its protective coat. This painting was my first attempt at combining acrylic markers and arylic paints in the same painting. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or in this case an old Iguana.
“Mike Trout. He’s Super, Man.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Mike Trout. He’s Super, Man.” Every time I turn on an Angel’s game there he is, dirt on his jersey and a smile on his face. He is the best baseball player I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a few. Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams to name a few. He has tremendous skills but what I really like about him is the joy that he brings to the game. Like a kid playing his first game. I decided to have some fun with the dirt, turning it into a Superman Logo. The planet behind him is Krypton and the star in the background is a tribute to his late brother-in-law and dear friend Aaron Cox.
“Go Fish.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Go Fish.” I was looking at some old photos I took one evening up at Lake Nacimiento in California a few years ago and came acroos this little guy begging on our back porch. He had this look on his face that made me think of these folks who play Texas Hold’em now for big money. And I asked myself what card game would a Raccoon play, why “Go Fish.” of course.
“Birds Not Of A Feather Flocking Together.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Birds Not Of A Feather Flocking Together.” I’m contantly amazed by the variety in nature. It seems, on the surface, that we only need a couple of kinds of birds to do the job that Mother Nature intended them to do. But whoever designed birds couldn’t stop at just one or two they had to design thousands of different kinds. They all have wings, beaks and feathers but that’s where the similarity ends. From the wee hummingbird to the giant condor there is every size, color and shape imaginable. In this painting I imagined all of these different birds flocking together maybe as a message to us that we all get along. Like the beauty contestant wishing for World Peace.
"Ace." - Artist Michael Phillips
"Ace." This painting was a commission for a friend in Thousand Oaks, California. This beautiful Himalayan cat is her friend and she wanted a portrait done. The amazing thing about this cat to me was the markings on the face that reminded me of the Ace of Spades. So the while the cat’s name is not Ace, it always will be to me.
“A Lion’s Roar.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“A Lion’s Roar.” I am the Lion. I’m almost 500 pounds of muscle. I’m 6 feet long from nose to butt. I can run up to 50 miles per hour. I can leap almost 36 feet. I can hear the NFL scouts drooling. Imagine me chasing down a running back. I would eat him up. No, really, I would eat him up. I have a fantastic mane that makes me look even bigger and makes me the ultimate chick magnet. I am, indeed the “The King of the Jungle”. But, alas, the jungle and all that is in it is vanishing. Some animals are nearing extinction because of illegal hunting and poaching. Civilization is encroaching on the wild. When the jungle is gone I will be “The King of Nothing.” And I will only exist in distant memories.
“Soul Mates.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Soul Mates.” I have some friends who had an Arctic wolf. His name was Artie. He was big and powerful and yet a gentle giant for sure. He loved to sing to the moon. It was a sound that we don’t hear in the city, so I was in awe. It was like a Shakespearean character standing beneath a fair maiden’s window and seranading her. So close yet so far apart. The moon in return for his song shown her light on his white fur and made it glow. I can still feel his fur as I ran my hand down his back. I miss my friend, Artie.
“Spirit of the Wave.” Artist Michael Phillips. Limited Edition Fine Art Prints on Canvas, Paper or Metal
Spirit of the Wave. I grew up surfing in the Southern California area. I wasn’t very good at it so I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach watching the waves and as I watched the foam on each wave face I noticed that no two were alike. It was as if the foam told the story of the wave. It’s own spirit if you will. That memory became the inspiration for this painting.
"Why There Are Rainbows." - Artist Michael Phillips
"Why There Are Rainbows." This painting was for a lady firefighter in Santa Monica, California. She wanted something tropical and fanciful. She told me what she liked and that she wanted it colorful. I had trouble at first with the rainbow but then I thought, “What are rainbows made out of? Millions of drops of water.” So I set out to paint a million drops of water.
“Four Directions. Seven Grandfathers. The Eagle’s Way.” Limited Edition Fine Art Prints on Canvas, Paper or Metal
“Four Directions. Seven Grandfathers. The Eagle’s Way.” In the American Indian culture each of the four directions is represented by a color. Red is the East where the sun rises. Yellow is the south where the sun comes from during the summer. Black is the West where the sun sets. White is the north where the snow comes from in the winter. Each of the Seven Grandfathers has a valuable characteristic associated with it. Wisdom. Love. Respect. Bravery. Honesty. Humility. Truth. The sacred eagles are leading the way on the Red Road. The original of this is a giclee print that I painted the eagle clouds making this an “enhanced” giclee.
“Pirates of the Arctic Ocean.” - Artist Michael Phillips
"Pirates of the Arctic Ocean." I saw a fantastic photograph of an iceberg and I thought about how much it reminded me of a skull. Once I decided to start the painting my imagination took over and this was the result. The crew of the pirate ship has been sailing around in a fog all night and not just from rum. Lucky for them the fog has lifted just in time for them to avoid meeting their Maker in the form of a rogue iceberg. What lies beneath is a pod of frolicking Orcas. Now science says that Orcas are not man-eaters but I think I heard one say that “Pirate” tastes just like tuna. Enjoy Matey!
“Morningstar Reflections.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Morningstar Reflections.” It was a lucid dream, the kind where you know you’re dreaming and have some control over what’s going on. I was in a room with my friend Mike, my grand mother was there and a couple of other people. I was talking to Mike and he said he was going to stay up all night. Some time passed and I was still in the same dream and I asked him if he stayed up all night and he said yes and then he said Crystal is here. I turned around and there she was standing in the doorway as beautiful as ever and glowing like an angel. I told her that I missed her. She said, “At least you won’t have to worry about me flushing the toilet on the floor anymore.” And I said, “I guess not”. (I don’t know what that meant) but we both laughed and she came to me and put her hands on my shoulders and it was the most incredible feeling I have ever had. It was like this energy force going through my body. I was still feeling it when I woke up. A couple of days after I finished the painting I was looking at her face and I realized that I had painted her like she appeared in the dream.
“Mellow Yellow.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Mellow Yellow.” I did what I call a study that looks like this painting. The more I looked at the “study” the crazier it got and so, I came up with this idea. It’s a perfect day for paddle boarding on a perfectly flat ocean. The sun looks like a brilliant yellow orange Hibiscus flower and all of a sudden a great humpback whale breaches in front of you. I think our paddle boarder is about to feel a few ripples.
“Grrrronimo.” - Artist Michael Phillips
Grrrronimo. The wildcat is an elusive survivor in fairly hostile environments. I was fascinated by the similarity between the wildcat and the American Indian, Geronimo. He fought long and hard after many of his contemporaries had settled down on the reservation. His elusiveness and courage frustrated his pursuers for many years. This is my tribute to the wild and independant spirit of both the wildcat and Geronimo. As you can see there may be a little bit of Geronimo in every wildcat.
“Dreams of Gingerland.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Dreams of Gingerland.” When our family was on vacation in Hawaii my daughter and I would marvel at all of the amazing plants. When we would ask the locals what kind of plant it was they would always say, “Oh, it’s some kind of Ginger.” So when we would see an exotic bird or tree or fish we would say “Oh look it’s a Ginger bird or Ginger tree or Ginger fish.” Eventually I had this idea of what a place that was magical in my dreams would look like. Behold “Gingerland.” A place with a bunch of my favorite things and favorite people. Such as Salvador Dali on a tree. M.C. Escher as a Moai statue. My daughter as Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.” She is holding the Morning Star. Another name for Venus.
“Aftermath.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Aftermath.” I took a hike in the hills near where I live after the brush fire that struck our area last year. While I was walking I had this vision of a great grey owl swooping down on the desolate field. Now I know there are no great grey owls in our area but in my mind’s eye that is what I saw. This is sort of the point-of-view of the last field mouse standing and what it would see.
“Where the Buffalo Roam, No More.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“Where the Buffalo Roam, No More.” For thousands of years the American Bison roamed the plains of North America. Where ever it went the American Indian was close behind. They depended upon the Buffalo for their food, clothing and housing. They hunted for survival not for sport. The white buffalo was so rare it was considered sacred and was part of their Creation Story that included the White Buffalo Woman. When the Europeans immigrated to North America they realized that the best way to take care of the “Indian Problem” was to wipe out the buffalo. And so they did. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to see a herd of these magnificent creatures so I decided to make my own buffalo herd.
“The Angel of Turtle Town.” - Artist Michael Phillips
“The Angel of Turtle Town.” There’s a place off the coast of Maui called “Turtle Town”. You can go snorkeling there and yes, you will see turtles swimming there. It is obviously a beautiful spot, full of all kinds of sealife. I love the turtles and I love the graphic images that you see everywhere in Maui that represent the sacred “Honu”. When I started painting the rays of light filtering into the underwater town I decided that a Turtle Angel would look like this.
"SeeWorld." - Artist Michael Phillips
"SeeWorld." This painting was a commission for a family in Santa Rosa, California. Yes, I do commissioned paintings. The original was 7.5 feet tall by 9 feet wide. They suggested a subject matter and I put my own spin on it. Once people see the dolphin mountains they understand why the title is “SeeWorld” and not “Sea World”.

“Unfinished Symphony.” This painting started out to be a fanciful look at the amazing rock formations that you find throughout the U.S.A. The rocks look like someone intentionally put them where they are. And I thought, maybe this is where the Hopi people get their inspiration for Kachinas. Then I thought, this road looks very lonely with nothing on it. How about a flat be truck carrying people. O.K. but who? How about rock stars who are no longer with us. O.K. but who? How about my favorites. Then I thought isn’t this the road from Forrest Gump? How about Forrest running right through the painting and right through my work area? I didn’t have time to move the cans and photo out of the way. While I was working I hit a dead spot and needed a break so I went to the garage and started going through old boxes and I came upon my baseball glove from when I was 11 years old. And I thought, the painting helped me find the glove and it must want the glove in the painting and I agreed. And that’s how the artistic mind works.