Ray Phillips was born in Winnipeg in 1941 and grew up in an environment that encouraged artistic expression. His grandfather, famed Canadian watercolourist Walter J. Phillips, and his father, John Phillips, creative director of Phillips-Gutkin and Associates, were highly influential in his pursuit of an art career. As the son and grandson of artists, he strongly believes that art is in his blood.
Ray received his formal art education at the University of Manitoba School of Fine Art. Upon graduating in 1962, he started a successful career as a commercial artist, initially working at his father's commercial art studio. It was there that he was introduced to airbrush technique, a skill that he honed during his time at Brigdens, an art photography and photo-engraving company. In 1969 he and his father started their own company—Phillips Advertising Production Ltd. and he began expanding his artistic skills. He took up photography and started doing technical illustrations and other aspects of advertising for local ad agencies and major corporations. Despite the demands of a successful art business, he always managed to set aside time for his own creative work. Today, Ray devotes his full energies to pursuing his creative vision.
Ray Phillips's exceptionally skillful paintings blend his specialized process utilizing traditional watercolour techniques and airbrush. Using a combination of both, he strives to do justice to the grandeur and beauty of nature in all its forms.
Each of Ray’s paintings represents many hours of work involving equal parts of technical skill and inspiration. The inspiration comes from nature; he admires the qualities of light, shadow, translucence, and reflection that are present in water, earth, and sky. He loves capturing the detail in objects—that unique beauty that is often overlooked. According to Ray the excitement of painting begins with the selection of a subject, followed by the challenge of achieving good design. Most importantly he receives tremendous satisfaction from transforming a blank piece of paper into an image that brings enjoyment to others.