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Featured Artist : Phyllis Hawkes

Practice really does make perfect! Phyllis tells us about her love of miniatures.

Some of Phyllis’s beautiful signs

Back in 2014, Phyllis Hawkes came to London to attend the Kensington Dollshouse Festival Summer Show.  This is one of the best things about our events, we are lucky enough to have miniaturists attend from all over the world so see some incredible work.  Phyllis is not just a normal painter in miniature, alongside her reproductions of Old Masters, she also makes hand painted signs for shops, pubs & cafes, so how did she come to specialise in this unusual area of art illustration?

Phyllis had been a graphic designer by trade before the days of computers, so she had lots of experience of painting different lettering styles. This was the only painting she really did until she retired, when a friend suggested she signed up for a miniature painting class with Mary O’ Brien.  This intrigued her & after a few classes with Mary, she knew she had found a love of miniature painting, but wanted to do something no one else was doing & painting signs seemed the perfect idea.  

She became an IGMA Artisan in 2007 & began selling at shows (originally she had been planning to sell full sized painted furniture but soon realised that moving it around was not that easy, so discovering miniatures was the perfect solution.  All you need is a suitcase!).  In 2013 she became an IGMA Fellow & started also specialising in Fine Art & Folk Art alongside her painted signs.

Art is part of Phyllis’ life so she doesn’t shut herself away from the activity of the house, she has set up her studio on her sunporch right off the kitchen, with lots of windows for good lighting.  Her style of painting is not easy or fun, but she gets great satisfaction out of seeing her finished work.

I love the small size. I don’t need huge space to work in or a huge space to store my work .… I  love reproducing museum quality and old master paintings. Just as art students are sent to the museum to copy and learn from the masters, I learn from every painting I reproduce.

She likes painting people and loves to paint fine detail, so she picks paintings with lots of detail, particularly lace. One of her favourites is her rendition of The Armada Portrait (Elizabeth 1) by George Gower, 1588, which she painted for the Miniature Masterworks Show in 2017 and which now resides in the Kaye Browning Miniature Collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum.

Phyllis is always working towards her next show, so we are delighted that she has joined the LDF Autumn Online Showcase where you can enjoy some of her incredible work.  Throughout the year she will work around commissions, teaching her classes at the Guild School & producing paintings that she loves.

CLICK HERE to see more of Phyllis’ work.