Phil Sandusky

Phil Sandusky is an accomplished plein air painter who lives in New Orleans, LA. He is also a landscape and figure painting teacher at the New Orleans Academy of Art. He has authored four books-New Orleans Impressionist Cityscapes, Jacksonville Through a Painter's Eyes, Painting Katrina and New Orleans in Plein Air and he has produced a number of articles for American Artist Magazine. In 2012 he was featured in the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities publication A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana.

Sandusky was born August 16, 1957 and resided in Jacksonville, Florida from 1958 to 1980. When he was seven, his parents recognized his strong aptitude for art and placed him under the tutelage of a Marjorie Edwards, an academic painter who took both adult and child students. Sandusky relates, "This may be the single, most pivotal step in my art career. While in the third grade, when other children were playing with crayons and coloring books, I was copying the old masters. I believe that this early encouragement and development of my sense of aesthetics, powers of observation and love of paint provided a tremendous head start in my career."

In his teens, he continued his formal art training with private instruction from another academic painter, Cleve Miller. When it was time for college he moved toward the sciences. He explains, "When I later entered Jacksonville University, I was inclined to work towards a degree that was more marketable. Given my aptitude for math and science, I eventually decided to major in Physics. I received my BA in physics from Jacksonville University in 1979." However, when he was between semesters he spent summers studying art in Madison, Connecticut with Robert Brackman, and at the Art Student’s League in New York.

After graduating from Jacksonville University, he was employed as an engineer by Schlumberger Well Services and worked on offshore drilling rigs out of Lafayette, La. until 1984. He continued to draw and paint during this time. "In 1984, I was promoted and transferred to an office job in Schlumberger’s New Orleans office. I fell in love with New Orleans’ landscape, architecture, and culture and painted it every spare moment that I had during the day," he says.

"Then and now, I only work on location from the live subject, usually completing a painting in one sitting. During the evenings, I immersed myself in drawing and painting from live portrait and figure models," he continues.

In 1988 he had his first solo exhibit at the Academy Gallery in New Orleans. Many solo shows have followed in the career that has spanned more than 25 years.


Sandusky Portrait

"I met my wife, Michele Many, in 1990 and with her encouragement, summoned up enough nerve to leave Schlumberger in 1991 to pursue art full time," Sandusky recounts. "In 1994 I was asked to become an Instructor of landscape and life painting at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts where I continue to teach.

He currently shows at Reinike Gallery in Atlanta, Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans ,and Stellars Gallery in Jacksonville. He has also shown at galleries in New York, San Francisco, Highlands and Charleston.

His interest in science lead him to study human vision and the artistic process. He published two articles on this subject in American Artist Magazine: "Shedding a New Light on Temperature" in the September, 1995 issue, and "The Natural Way of Looking" published in 2 parts in the May, and June, 1999 issues. Both of these articles were republished in a special American Artist publication called Color. This contained the editor’s picks of the 25 best articles on the subject of color published in American Artist magazine in the decade spanning 1990 to 2000."

New Orleans en Plein Air, a 160 page book with color reproductions of 150 of Sandusky’s paintings spanning 1987 to 2002 was released in September 2003 by Pelican Publishing Company. Sandusky wrote the text which focuses on human vision and painting.

Sandusky’s second book, Painting Katrina was released in August 2007. It shows the paintings he did of New Orleans before and after hurricane Katrina and journals his experiences painting the hurricane devastation.

Sandusky’s third book, Jacksonville Through a Painter’s Eyes, was released in September 2008. It features paintings of his home town, Jacksonville, Florida from the mid 1980s to present, and text about his experiences as an art student there some 40 years ago. The release of this book coincided with a large exhibit of Sandusky’s Plein Air landscape paintings of Jacksonville at the Cummer Art Museum