Phil Selzer — ARTIST

Philip Selzer

Philip Selzer

Interview with artist Phil Selzer —


"Cemetary Alley, Carlisle"

“Cemetary Alley, Carlisle”

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a artist, I am 62 and I am currently living in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I graduated with honors from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. I was an art major with emphasis on painting and a minor in education. I graduated in 1978 and taught art for nine and a half years within the public school system. I am currently working full-time as an oil painter.


"Distant View, Blue Mountains"

“Distant View, Blue Mountains”


2. Why art?
Art is something that surrounds us everyday of our lives. Whether it is the cloths you are wearing, the furniture you are setting on or the car that you drive, it has all been designed by someone in some fashion. I receive an immediate response within myself when painting, good or bad, but a response all the same. Art allows me to express my emotions and capture those feelings through the use of paint and canvas.


"Tonset View"

“Tonset View”


"Granville, Ohio"

“Granville, Ohio”

3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I drew a lot as a child and remember being at my grandparents home and looking at some family paintings hanging on the walls and I was drawn to those images. More than once I’d take a pencil and paper and try to interpret what I was seeing. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment and it was something that I became proficient at. I remember some of my grade school teachers referring to me as their artist but I did it for myself and not for praise.

4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I am drawn to almost anything as a subject. It is more about light, color, shape, or contrast that draws me in but I find that there needs to be an inner emotional response if it is to be successful. My media of choice is oil paint. Oil is very forgiving and the depth and richness of color for me is not attainable with acrylics of watercolor.


"Autumn Woods"

“Autumn Woods”


"Mill Pond, Orleans"

“Mill Pond, Orleans”

5. How do you work and approach your subject?
My plein air work is an immediate response to a subject once I get started, however, that is not always the case. I will make note of an interesting scenes or subject, writing down time of day and location. I may revisit that idea in the next few days or it could be weeks or months. Would a different time of day be better? How about a change of season? I often start with a simple line drawing on a toned surface, followed by blocking in simple shapes with thin oil paint. There are times when I paint more directly depending on circumstances such as time of day or quickly changing elements within the scene.


"Three Amigos"

“Three Amigos”


6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
I tend to be drawn to more representational paintings although I am not interested in tightly rendered works. I like paintings that are done in a more impressionistic style. I enjoy looking at the brushwork and how a artist handled a particular subject or passage in a painting. I like to view works that demonstrates the artist masterly use of brushwork and paint. Some of my favorites are (American) Edward Henry Potthast, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, C. W. Mundy, Richard Schmidt, Charles Reid, (Swedish) Anders Zorn, (Spanish) Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, (British) Edward Seago, Trevor Chamberlain, and David Curtis.


"Chatham Beach"

“Chatham Beach”

7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Some of the best responses that I have received are statements that someone never gets tired of looking at a painting, or that they always discover something new. People have commented that I have really captured the light in a painting or that they know exactly where something was painted (when I know that they have never been there), or that they feel they can step into the painting.


8. What do you like about your work?
I am often the worse critic when it comes to my work but when I am able to simplify a subject and still capture the essence, then I feel that the effort was a success.


"Cattle at Martin's Race"

“Cattle at Martin’s Race”




9. What advice would you give to other artists?
I would tell other artists to have passion about what they are doing and to be your own person. If you are going to seek advice then go to someone whose work you admire, someone that will be honest with you. You should never stop learning or growing as an artist and when you need inspiration then take some time to visit a good gallery or museum.


"Ron and his Rooster"

“Ron and his Rooster”


10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
5 to 10 years? Hopefully, I’ll still be painting and growing as an artist but I never try to look that far ahead. Life is short so try to make the best of it.






The Garden Gallery, Pennsylvania:

Gallery 31, Massachusetts: