I have always had a pencil in my hand, drawing. I am largely a self-taught artist; my inspiration comes from a lifetime's love of landscape, townscape, history and the weather. Throughout childhood I developed a fascination with clouds and weather. Drawing lead to painting landscapes, coastal subjects and townscapes.
A career in cartography enhanced my eye for New Zealand's natural features and the overlaying influences of settlement and interconnecting infrastructure. I have kept weather records over many years including rainfall, temperatures and wind in both Wellington City and Lower Hutt. The ever changing weather creates the effects of light that are the inspiration for painting. I firmly agree with the English landscape painter, John Constable when he once said: "It would be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the key note, the standard of scale and the chief organ of sentiment."
Apart from painting in the studio, I enjoy sketching or painting on location and sometimes sharing such occasions with fellow artists. While travelling or on tramping trips I like to carry a sketch pad, pencils and sometimes watercolour as well as a note book, compass and barometer. I am happy going back to familiar places and argue that it's not always to see the same scene. Any subject is unique. The lighting, weather conditions, time of day and season present the subject in the moment of time like a snap shot.
Among the many Wellington subjects I have painted are some featuring familiar locations in the city as they once were years ago. History is eternally dynamic. With age, you experience time spans of several decades. That enables you to extrapolate backwards even further and get a good sense of inter-generational and social change. I enjoy working from old photographs and other records to enhance the view with the correct vintage of trams, trains and other vehicles of the period.
I have exhibited in Wellington with four other noted Wellington artists in 2001, 2003 and 2005 and a Solo Exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. In 2014 my book *Phil Dickson’s Wellington* was published containing the inspirations and views from wandering around the greater Wellington area.
As well as selling paintings from exhibitions and galleries, I also paint to commission. Some of my paintings have found their way overseas.