Phil Clark

Phil Clark

Born: 1925, Vancouver, BC

Ranchland (Sketch #2), n.d., Phil Clark, watercolour on paper, 29.2 cm x 21.6 cm, 1988.01.01. Gift of Eileen Railton.

Phil Clark was born and raised in Vancouver in 1925 but came to farming in Ladner as a teenager. Conscripted in 1945, he had not completed his military training when the war ended. His decision to use his ability for drawing to earn his livelihood after his discharge from the army led him to commerical art where he gained a reputation as a fine creative illustrator, capable of meeting seemingly impossible deadlines. He worked at this for almost thirty years in both Vancouver and Toronto, sometimes working as part of the team of artists working in the large commercial art studios of the time, and occasionally as a free-lancer. Eventually, he decided to leave the rat race behind him and settle on a larger piece of mountainside property just southeast of Penticton in 1969. Here, Phil continued to work as a free-lance illustrator.

In 1983, his former colleague Dudley WItney visited him in Penticton on his way to visit some nearby ranches, such as the one at Douglas Lake, as he was photographing ranch scenes for a picture book on the subject. It was there, on the Douglas Lake ranch, without a camera or a sketchbook that Clark experienced what he called "the almighty click". He made arrangements to return to the Douglas Lake ranch and soon after began to work on watercolours based on contemporary cowboy work. 

We are saddened that his wife, Betty, recently passed away in July 2016. Betty was a fundamental part of the art community and a supporter of the gallery.