W.J. Phillips

Quartz Ridge Near Sunshine 1947,

15 x 16 in


In 1940 Walter Phillips was asked to be an instructor at the Banff Summer School. It was to be but the first of twenty summers spent teaching in Banff. In the fall of 1941 Phillips decided to move to Calgary when he was asked to teach at the Provincial Institute of Technology of Art.
This was a new episode in Phillips’ life. After living in Winnipeg for twenty-eight years he was now nearer to the mountains he had painted intermittently since 1926.

In 1946 Phillips decided to build a home in Banff. The house on a lower flank of Tunnel Mountain overlooked the town and the Bow Valley. This would be his base for the next 14 years, where, in close proximity to his favourite sketching haunts, he began to work extensively in the mountains, sketching at high and low elevations, and under all sorts of conditions.

Phillips saw beauty everywhere – austere and noble on the higher levels, pretty in the valleys. He found ways around the less paintable areas of the Rockies that frustrated the less adventurous sketcher who would not leave the security of main roads and trailways.

Sources: The Tranquility and the Turbulence by Boulet and Hiker’s Guide to Art of Canadian Rockies by Lisa Christensen