Flowing music into art with Phillip Compton
Marsh Creek October Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in
Teia Pearson: Thank you so much for your interest and participation with Escape Into Life. It is wonderful to have you a part of EIL and giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy a piece of your work in their own homes. Tell us a little about yourself.
Phillip Compton: I am also a highly trained musician, and as such I have done much performing (as a solist or conductor) both in the US and abroad. Since my father was a professional race car driver (before I was born,) I am also an avid car racing fan. I even got to drive a race car once, which was quite a thrill!
Abstract 1, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in
TP: What techniques and mediums do you use in creating your art works?
Phillip Compton: I really like drawing (graphite on paper,) but when I paint, it’s just traditional oil paint on canvas. I have tried acrylic, but I prefer oils.
TP: Were you inspired to become an artist, or has creativity always been a part of you?
Phillip Compton: I started out drawing when I was very young, I suppose trying to be like my father who used to get up very early in the morning to sit for hours at his drawing board working on his architechtural drawings. Maybe this influence caused my college art teacher to comment that I drew like a draftsman.
Red Barns, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in
TP: Are you a self-taught artist or did you seek schooling in the arts?
Phillip Compton: I originally planned on studying art full-time in college, but took a last-minute diversion into music; however, I was able to study some art in college. This was very helpful since I came in contact with a superb teacher. Whatever emerging style I was displaying at the time was almost the exact opposite of her’s, yet she encouraged me to develop my style, nonetheless. Therein lies an important concept for all artists to remember, I think. Like in everything I do, I am always curious and striving to learn more, so there has been a lot of self-teaching. I read a lot of books on art, and just like with a teacher, one may not always agree with the approach, but there will always be something that can be tucked away for future use.
Polar Sunset, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in
TP: What artists have inspired you to be more creative?
Phillip Compton: I have received inspiration from many art forms and artists (writers, musicians, etc.) since they are all the same. This is why I give art kits to my music students since I believe that by exploring one art form, one may come to understand the other with more sensitivity. In any art, one strives to touch something beyond ourselves, but one must first find this within the self. I describe this to my students as being an “energy” (for lack of a better word.) When one has done the heavy-lifting of mastering the techniques of an art, then the connection to this inner energy combines with it to allow true freedom, I believe.
Abstract 2, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in
TP: Your painting ‘Abstract 2’ puts out a real sense of emotion. What is your inspiration behind your abstract works?
Phillip Compton: It can be a variety of things. Basically, I think, I like to explore the flow and connections of shapes into form. Sometimes it just may begin as a doodle that I decide deserves to be developed. Many times I will see something in nature which intrigues me by its composition, so I’ll take the shapes from that composition and begin with that, thus deriving inspiration from something in nature, yet not overtly announcing what it is.
Winter Sunrise, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in
TP: Tell us about your landscape paintings. Do you travel to a destination to capture your landscapes, or do you use photos to create the image in your mind you are wanting to portray?
Phillip Compton: I take a lot of pictures when I am traveling around. When I have an itch to do a nice landscape, I’ll refer to these to see if something strikes me as being ripe for development. Many times, in a magazine or newspaper, I’ll see a picture that has a composition that grabs my interest. I’ll think about these for a long time until I decide to try to develop this basic idea into a pleasing painting. I do love working with water and skies since one can really use any color and get away with it.
Spider Mums, oil on canvas, 24 x 48 in
TP: Your ‘Spider Mums’ painting has a very appealing minimal sense to it compared to your other works. Were you trying to project a feeling through this painting, or something else?
Phillip Compton: That painting was a commission to complete a newly redecorated living room. The subject was suggested by the owner, and, on request, I matched the colors to the fabrics in the room. The painting is a gallery wrap and is not framed, so the bottom matches the color of the wall on which it hangs, then I blended that color toward the top into the color of the sofa over which it hangs. The hardest part was finding an out-of-season spider mum plant at a nursery to use as a model!
TP: Are there galleries or art shows where you have displayed your works at?
Phillip Compton: I am a working artist member of the Gallery on High in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where I have one painting on display.
TP: Thank you for joining us Phillip! You can see more of Compton’s work on the Escape Into Life on-line store.
Teia Pearson is diving back into her passion of writing after a car accident in 2003. Her former education is in radiology and literature. Currently she works on her memoir while writing and editing for the arts in Chicago, IL.