DOUGLAS PHILLIPS: 1922-1995
Stained Glass Artist
My father's stained glass studio, called "Phillips Stained Glass" was founded in Cleveland in about 1952. It was an enchanting playground and I am fond of saying I grew up there. Beginning when I was only two, my father gave me a box of glass scraps and jewels to play with. I stood on a stool over a light table and and glued different colors and shapes of glass onto a larger sheet of blue or green glass working out a scene. Once I was finished, his glazer, a wonderful man by the name of Lou Buser, would wrap lead around it and solder a little hook at the top so it could be hung in the window.
Douglas Phillips had an awesome talent. He was one of those artists who could have made his living painting perfect replicas of master works. He once told me painting in other people's styles was the best way to learn and discover your own vision. Indeed, there wasn't anything he couldn't render. No technique that was beyond his skill set. He believed once an artist had achieved mastery over their chosen medium, the rules could be broken. It was important to incorporate what others had learned and then strike out in a new direction. Breaking the rules prematurely could be disastrous for a developing talent.
Douglas attended the Cleveland Institute of Art on the GI Bill and went on to study painting for one year at Syracuse University before returning to Cleveland. In Cleveland he studied with under master Cleveland artist, Paul B. Travis: 1891-1975. In his painting class, he met my mother Jane Travis, Paul's daughter. They were married in 1954.
Fencers, about 1958
Douglas believed self-respecting artists dressed for work and didn't cover themselves in paint. He believed in impeccable personal presentation, discipline and continued hard work to push and develop ones artistic talents. During his lifetime, he held a Thursday evening sketch group at his studio to continue to refine and perfect his skills. He was also a championship fencer and fencing coach at Cleveland State. He achieved a 3rd degree black belt in 3 disciplines and was also a performing jazz guitarist and singer. His mother, Susan Douglass-Phillips was a gospel singer, vocal coach and elocutionist.
Douglas Phillips in his studio, about 1955
One of my favorite windows. Douglas made this to show his technique. He was particularly interested in the emotional quality and passion that stained glass could convey. This is a picture of a cartoon of the Christ Window and Christ Window, 1952
Death of Jesus, about 1953
Peace Window, about 1975
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An example of Byzantine style window, about 1970