Dr. Phillips

The Story Behind the Portrait of Dr. Al Philips

Dr. Philips was the founding president of Tulsa Community College (formerly named Tulsa Junior College)located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was instrumental in the inception, the start and the growth of Tulsa Junior College. When he started, the school was just a goal. Dr. Philips formed the outline and mission statement of the school. He set the course for future generations to be able to attend college where no such avenue was before. His foresight brought the idea into reality.

When I met Dr. Philips he was retired and in his 80's. He still very much had all of his charm and mental acuity. His physical body had however taken its toll. Wheelchair bound he greeted me with the warmest of smiles and a twinkle in his eyes.

As the college and I had not settled on what type of portrait to create I spent my time just getting to know Dr. Philips. We covered his early years through his retirement. I also inquired about his physical size and shape in his prime. I had a great time and owe any success of my portrait to Dr. Philips for giving me so much of his time.

Long after I left Tulsa and my trip to TCC I was able to start formalizing the portrait. We finally agreed on a theme but there was just one problem - there were no good color photographs of Dr. Philips at the age the school wished for. Finally they discovered a black and white, head and shoulders photograph that they felt portrayed him at the right age. Now it was up to me to see if I could use this black and white as a good reference for a three quarter figure portrait. As I had already sold the concept of portraying Dr. Philips holding some blueprints, signifying his role as the "architect" for the school, i needed to decide if I were up to the challenge. As you can see, I accepted the job.

I hired a model that resembled Dr. Philips in stature and photographed him in the same lighting conditions that the black and white suggested. I then prepared two color studies, one for the head and hair (when I met Dr. Philips he was totally white headed and all of the photos I had seen suggested he MAY have had red hair ).I found out I was wrong, he was brown haired. The second color study was for the overall painting. After the color studies were approved, I began the painting. My biggest challenge was translating the b&w values to the flesh tones.

My biggest disappointment is that Dr. Philips passed away before he was able to see his portrait. I can only pray that he will be pleased.


 Previous     Gallery Home     Next