top of page

My Journey Into Art

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a professional artist. Let's take a look at some of my "early works," including one of my family when I was 7 years old.  :)

The Carlisle Family

Medium: Number 2 Pencil

On coffee stained

notebook paper

Age 7

My First Lighthouse

Medium: Pastel

On kinda good sketch paper

Age 10

early artwork of lighthouse in pastel.jpeg

Grandma Nien's Flowers

Medium: Pastel

On cold-pressed paper

Age 13

Nien's Flowers.jpg

Solar Eclipse

Medium: Acrylic

On canvas board

Age 15


As you may have noticed in the portrait of my family, my spelling in third grade was almost as creative as my drawing ("FAMLIY" ??). From a budding artist's perspective, however, I enjoyed making pencil drawings of my parents, my siblings and me. From time to time, Mom remarks with a chuckle that I always drew myself with neat pigtails while the rest of the family had disheveled hair and big googly eyes. This drawing always brings a smile to my face. It's still hanging in Mom's office. 


When I was in fourth grade, I began appreciating art even more. I remember drawing a pencil portrait of the girl who sat across from me in Social Studies class. This was mostly because I didn't find the class all that interesting. My teacher, Mr. Perillo, noticed I was more interested in drawing than paying attention. He asked me to put away my sketch immediately. He then announced to the entire class in a loud voice that he was also going to call my mother. Uh-oh! My heart sank with fear. No one had ever thought of me as a troublemaker in school.


After Mom spoke to Mr. Perillo, she told me that he wanted me to pay attention in class but that he and my art teacher were also both impressed with my drawing skills. They urged my mother to find a private art teacher to give me lessons after school. The tradeoff was that I had to pay attention in class! 


Mrs. Hodson was hired as my private art teacher. I had art lessons with her every Wednesday after school, and I loved them. I came to admire her talent as much as I wanted her to admire mine. She excited me. Mrs. Hodson taught me shading and composition and introduced me to pastels. From then on, I was hooked. I became fascinated with the world of art. 


One winter day in 1974, I went for my art lesson with Mrs. Hodson and found her door was locked. Her curtains were gone, her windows were shut and all of her furniture had disappeared. None of her neighbors knew where she went. I was heartbroken. She never left a note and never contacted my mother. To this day, her whereabouts are still a mystery. But her encouragement lit a fire in me forever. 


I continued taking art classes in high school and beyond.  In 1992, I went to college in Atlanta to study art, illustration and graphic design. My illustrations were featured in Peachtree Magazine and at several venues at the 1996 Olympic Games. I graduated summa cum laude in 1995. Today I paint, draw in color pencil and freelance in graphics and web design. I've been lucky enough to sell commissioned pieces and sell a number of acrylic paintings and other works of art.


I am fascinated with the lives and works of every artist, past and present. But works from the inception of Impressionism are my true favorites. The bold brush strokes, open composition, light and shadow studies and vibrant uses of colors by these artists keep me energized and enthralled. 


I have come to realize that the works of Neo-Impressionists and Pointillists like Seurat and Signac are primary influences on my later paintings. I like generating a color system with dots and short brush strokes to create the optical illusion of depth. The theory of color invented by these artists speak to me as both an artist and graphic designer. 


All that said, it is a joy to share my art with you. I hope it brings you as much pleasure and happiness as it has to me.

                                                         -- Phyllis Carlisle


Olympic Games Poster- 1996

Medium: Cut Paper on Board

bottom of page