Philip's art education began at the age of 10, when a Chester County, Pa. art teacher named Wm. Palmer Lear picked Phil as a promising young artist, and taught him and other young artists how to paint. Phil graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Penn State University, and a Master's of Architecture degree from University of California at Berkeley.
Phil has painted continuously since college days but intensified his dedication in the late 1980's. Much of Philip's subject matter reflects his love of the sea and the people whose lives are affected by it. The last few years he has partnered with excellent authors, expanding into an art form that links his paintings to performances that capture the lives of working fishermen, watermen and lobstermen of our East Coast.
"Net Loss" is about the disastrous effect of 1993's net ban on Florida's commercial fishermen, and "Fishing Gone", takes place on Tangier Island and reflects the survival challenges of our Chesapeake Bay watermen. Paintings from these performance/art projects are now in book form. August 2013 Phil produced a third performance/art play with author Eva Murray called On the Edge about the lives of lobstermen and families still living all year on the remaining 15 island communities of the coast of Maine. It was shown at the Neighborhood house Northeast Harbor, ME, and in the Strand theater in Rockland ME, with actor Denis Damon playing to a packed house. It also has has been shown on Maine Public Television as a documentary six times in the last two years.
His portraiture of those dedicated to earning their living from the waters is captivating. He has been a lifetime sailor, traveling on his own sailboat with family and friends the entire east coast and Bahamas. His military experience was as a young officer aboard a destroyer in the South Pacific
The past few years, his work has been shown in one man exhibits at The Appleton Museum, Ocala, FL., Port St. Lucie Civic Center, FL, .Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, MD, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD, and at The Annapolis Maritime Museum, in Annapolis MD. His work is permanently displayed at a number of museums including The Smithsonian Museum. He has been featured in American Art Collector magazine.
Phil is the resident artist at the Salty Dog Gallery, in Southwest Harbor, ME. is numerous awards include The National George Gray Medal, the Silver Brush Award in the Florida Watercolor Society's annual Juried Show, the Sanford Award in the New England Watercolor Society's Annual National Show, and the Gallery Award in Tallahassee Tri-State Show. He is a Signature Member of the Florida Watercolor Society, past Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists, and a Fellow Member of the American Artist Professional League, Salmagundi Club in New York, and is listed in Marquis Who's Who in American Art. His website www.philipssteel.com features many of his recent paintings and art events