Natchez Art Association

Copyright Natchez Art Association. All Rights Reserved.

Phil Sandusky Bio  

Phil Sandusky is a nationally renowned plein air impressionist landscape and cityscape painter who has had more than 30 solo exhibits across the country, including one at the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville, FL. He resided in Jacksonville FL until 1981.

He studied art privately from a very early age with noted Jacksonville artists Marjorie Edwards and Cleve Miller. He also studied intermittently at the Art students League of New York and with Robert Brackman in Connecticut. Having an alternate aptitude for math and science and little opportunities to pursue academic art in the universities of the 1970s, he graduated from Jacksonville University with a BA in Physics in 1980. This enabled him to have a brief career as an engineer in the oil industry while honing his drawing and painting skills in his free time, not having to rely upon art for income. At first he was predominantly a studio painter, working from the still life, portrait, and figure, but when his engineering job brought him to New Orleans, he began to paint more often outdoors, admiring New Orleans’ eclectic old architecture, decaying urban neighborhoods, and lush tropical flora. In 1992 he left engineering to pursue his art full time. Over the years he emerged to become a dominant force in South Louisiana’s art, being 1 of only 276 entries in the official bicentennial art history book for the state of Louisiana.

Sandusky has written four books, New Orleans en Plein Air, Painting Katrina, Jacksonville Through a Painter’s Eyes, and New Orleans Impressionist Cityscapes. He has also been the subject of, and often himself written, many articles in such national periodicals as “American

Artist.” The subject of much of his writing has been vision and art. Assisted by his background in science, he’s tailored great discoveries in modern vision science to artists, expanding their understanding of vision, helping them to become better at communicating the visual experience.

Supply List for Phil Sandusky’s Workshop

 I will do a painting demonstration in the morning of the first day. Before the painting demonstration, in case you do not already have a method for toning your canvas, I will demonstrate my preferred application of an imprimatura, and you will tone your canvases at that time. This will allow time for the imprimatura to dry thoroughly before you begin to paint.

Bring as many acrylic primed canvases as possible of various sizes and shapes (see “Canvas” below.) It is good to be prepared for different possible compositions and changing light. Stretched canvas or canvas board is acceptable.

For toning the canvases you will need: a small scrap of fine sand paper, a small amount of Raw Umber oil paint, a smaller amount of Ultramarine oil paint, paper towels, and turpenoid. You might also bring some rubber gloves for this because you tend to get a good bit of turpenoid on your hands when toning canvas.

A small sketch pad will come in handy during the demonstration for taking notes, and later when you begin to paint in order to work out compositions.

Brushes: Filberts are acceptable if you already have them, but flats are preferred, sizes #12, 10, 8, (and a #5 for sketching). Brights are unacceptable. I prefer Robert Simmons Signet Flats. It is best that you have at least 2 of each size (except you only need one #5), but the more of the bigger sizes the better. These brushes tend to range in price from 8 to 12 dollars each (aprox equal to brush size in dollars). For those who are on a budget, the Robert Simmons “Simply Simmons” line of flat bristle brushes is a good option. These brushes cost about $3 each, regardless of size.

Paint: If you already have a palette that includes primaries and secondaries, it will probably work for my class. I will make recommendations if I feel that what you have is inadequate. My approach uses a large quantity of paint, so I use paint that is less expensive yet permanent and archival. The brand I use is Winton.


The colors are as follows:
Titanium White 200ml
Cadmium Red Deep (Hue) 200ml
Cadmium Orange (Hue) 200ml
Cadmium Yellow Hue) 200ml
Lemon Yellow (Hue) 200ml
French Ultramarine 200ml
Viridian (Hue) 200ml
Permanent Alizarin Crimson 37ml
Raw Umber 37ml (for impimatura)

Note: If you get any of these colors make sure you get the series 1 colors with "Hue" in the title where I have specified it. This is important, because most Winton series 2 colors with metallic pigments, especially cadmium, are very weak and twice as expensive.

 Canvas: For class, I prefer sizes between 11" x 14" / 10” x 20” to 18" x 24" / 15” x 30”. You should have as many different sizes and shapes as possible.

Palette: Buy or make a real palette if you don't already have one. Make sure that it has been sealed (linseed oil is best) No paper palettes.

You need turpenoid for cleaning brushes and thinning paint and you need a small shallow container to put some turpenoid in while you’re working. These small containers often clip to the palette. Also buy or make a brush cleaner (this is a pot which contains turpenoid, filled just above a strainer inset positioned well above the bottom of the pot allowing paint residue to fall to the bottom when brushes are rubbed on it. Usually it has a sealable removable clip-on lid so that the turpenoid doesn’t have to be removed in transit).

Portable easel, Sun visor, plenty of paper towels (I prefer Brawny), cool layered clothing, drinking water and sunscreen. If you use stretched canvases, you need pieces of corrugated cardboard cut to the size and shapes of your canvases to be placed behind the canvases on the easel to stop sunlight from coming through. This is not needed for canvas boards but I prefer not to use canvas boards any larger than 14” x 18” because larger sizes warp.

Most importantly, rehearse your setup at home before coming to class. You might find that you need a special piece of equipment such as a folding table or stool to fit your specific needs. Such odds and ends may be difficult to procure during the workshop. If you have any questions call me (preferably after 2:00pm) at (504) 427-1890