Phyllis studied art at Goldsmiths' College and St Martins School of Art, and taught at Kingston School of Art before moving to Dorset. Since then she has built a reputation as an important Dorset artist, represented in private and public collections, as well exhibiting widely in galleries in England and abroad.
Sometimes working in watercolour, charcoal, or making prints, Phyllis' preferred medium is oil on canvas. Most of her work is figurative: portraits, still lifes and of course landscapes.
Phyllis is a vibrant colourist, with a fluent handling of her material somewhat reminiscent of Kokoschka, though she would probably say that she owes more to Matisse.
Phyllis is working towards her next solo show which open at Dorset County Museum on Friday 21 November.
The show will feature mostly new paintings - many which have not been shown before, and the big exciting painted screens which measure 1.50 x 1.50. Always vital and life affirming, you can see the vigour and confidence of an artist in her prime. Phyllis’s work speaks of her connection with the landscape that surrounds and nurtures her! - Landscape and Identity!
Fay Weldon who also has a strong sense of belonging to the Dorset landscape and community has this to add:
Truth, Beauty, and the Artist
The true artist goes on pursuing truth and beauty while never quite managing to find it - which is why he or she goes on painting. With the depth of her layered strong colours and insight into shape and form, Phyllis Wolff gets nearer to the hidden truth than most. If she never moves far from the landscape, the flowers and fruits, trees and hills she knows so well, it’s because she sees truth and beauty here now, and all around.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty” - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. - John Keats 1820
Fay Weldon, Dorset October 2014.
The Gallery is within the wonderful County Museum in Dorchester, which has easy parking facilities and its own fabulous collection which is also worth spending time enjoying
"Phyllis is a 21st Century impressionist, her Dorset garden is a rich source of inspiration. With the "pond' series of paintings - and she has painted over 30, yet each one is painted with fresh sponaneity and immediacy. I really like the way Phyllis dives in to her paintings, she has an almost innocent approach which comes through in each picture. The pond becomes a microcosm of colour and form, random and free.
This freedom of expression and her strong palette translates itself perfectly in her fruit and flowers paintings. She makes painting look so easy, the layers of colour on colour and seemingly blurred perspective is very much Phyllis' own interpretation of nature. The use of abstracted brushstrokes and painterly marks create her very distincive and beautiful paintings"
Sarah Russell-Walling, The Russell Gallery, London.
“When in the studio when not working from life - I might work from sketches, other paintings, photographs and my imagination. Usually several different paintings are going on at once... Music and dancing about! I cannot paint sitting down the energy is wrong... I believe that drawing and observation are essential skills for any artist. I am very glad that since going to life classes at Epsom Art School at the age of 13 my practice has been to draw with direct and conscientious observation, ruthlessly discarding anything that was found to be 'not true'. The journey has changed. Truth, authenticity. I feel I am finding new priorities- what concerns me now is to trust and celebrate the instinct of my mature years.“
Many of the paintings on this website are for sale. Please contact me to discuss availability and prices. I have also created the book 'Colourscapes' that you can preview here. If you are interested in buying a copy, please let me know!
I am also very happy to receive commissions for paintings for particular situations or events. Do contact me to discuss possibilities with no obligation to buy.
I always paint from life when painting a portrait. I work quickly and I usually find that for a head and shoulders oil portrait about 12 hours is sufficient. This can be in two or three or four hour sessions, with breaks as appropriate, usually over two or three weeks.