“Aviation was my first artistic love,” says William S. Phillips, “but my true, enduring love remains my Christian faith, home and family. So it is my pleasure to combine all of it in my work. The historical aviation subjects, I research; the contemporary and nostalgic subjects, I live.” Phillips grew up loving art but never thought he could make it his livelihood. At college he majored in criminology, and he 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 the aviation artist of choice for many American heroes and the nostalgic landscape artist of choice for many collectors. Bill’s strengths as a landscape painter are what gave him an edge in the aviation field: respect and reverence for a time and place. When one sees his aviation pieces, thoughts are about the courageous individuals who risked their lives for our freedom. In Bill’s nostalgic works, the viewer understands fully what that freedom is . . . the precious values that make life worth living. 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. In 1991, three of Phillips’ works were chosen as part of the top 100 in “Art for the Parks,” the prestigious annual fund-raiser for the National Park Service, and one painting received the “Art History Award” from the National Park Foundation.
Christmas Eve Delivery is the third in William S. Phillips’ “Inns of Christmas Series,” having previously delighted his scores of loyal collectors with Christmas Eve at the Winchester Inn and Winter Visitors at the Kringle Hill Inn (right, both Sold Out at Publisher). This year, Phillips captures the spirit of the season with a heartwarming Christmas Eve tale.
“An unusual Christmas Eve snowstorm has descended upon North Carolina bringing holiday travel to a near standstill,” Phillips explains.“Highways and airports are closed, forcing travelers to find
shelter as the roads are cleared. For the fortunate family who has checked into the Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn and Garden, it will prove to be a most wonderful Christmas experience.The Inn’s gracious
owners, John and Patty Byrne, knowing their guests disappointment at not spending Christmas Eve with loved ones, have sent for a Christmas tree with all the trimmings to be delivered to their room.A young boy with his faithful friend has volunteered to provide the delivery service in his wagon. After an elegant Christmas Eve dinner and some eggnog and spiced cider with cookies by the fire, our stranded travelers will return to a room decorated with the cheerful glow of a very special Christmas Eve tree.”
The American Homefront Series, an episodic look at home life during World War II, comprises some of artist William S. Phillips’ most popular and sought-after works. In this Anniversary Edition of A Christmas Leave, When Dreams Come True, it’s 1943 and the young soldier from the first painting, If Only in My Dreams, is home on leave. “This is one of the fortunate few who got a Christmas leave during World War II,” says the artist. “I wanted a more peaceful feeling in this painting, so the soldier is driving into the sunset. The colors are warmer and the mood is more festive.” There are still shadows on the horizon but the path to victory seems clear.
Look closely at each painting in the Homefront Series to find a plane in the sky. The DC-3 in this painting (known in its wartime version as a C-47) is now a passenger airliner. The dog that waited patiently for his master’s return sits beside his owner on the way to a family reunion, to play cards with the boys or maybe to visit his girl. Tonight on the radio they might even hear, “When Dreams Come True,” immortalized by Count Basie and his Orchestra.
After looking at this powerful work, it may not surprise you to learn that Phillips is a former firefighter. (Bill left the profession after 16 years when he began to earn a living through his art.) Bill has painted this iconic and heroic work of art to support firefighters nationwide. He hopes that the outpouring of support for New York fire fighters continues to raise awareness and appreciation for the everyday, unsung heroes in communities everywhere.
One of the Phillips Bay collection of limited edition prints and canvases.
Spring has arrived in the coastal town of Phillips Bay and so has the annual music festival—one of the most anticipated events of the year. While the audience gathers ‘round the gazebo to look and listen while three musicians warm up, the rest of the quartet—a violinist—practices her strings solo. (Perhaps she’s a bit nervous?) A magical moment for sure, the longer light of day is still evident as the full moon rises, and the street lamps and walkway lights come on as a lovely overture to the symphony of spring.