2020 Monuments & Canyons Artist: Philip Carlton


Philip Alexander Carlton is a self-taught plein air painter who divides his time equally between urban and rural locales, exploring both the expanse of nature and the grit of modern, urban decay. He takes particular delight in capturing the juxtaposition of man made objects in otherwise natural scenes, with an emphasis on the abnormal and absurd.

His experience in climbing and mountaineering often allows him to access more remote and seldom visited locations, achieving unique perspectives and translating them into paintings with an added sense of adventure and sometimes even danger. While other painters may look up to the hills, Philip prefers looking down to compose a scene from above. He feels most in his element at while painting at the edge of the abyss.

His work chronicles his travels and endless exploration. It's less about the product, and more about the experience of finding beauty in uncharted and unlikely places. Although his exploration of plein air painting began with fast, expressive work that captured fleeting moments, his more recent trips have been dedicated to pushing the limits of outdoor painting by creating large and complex scenes without any studio work whatsoever.. He feels that plein air work need never be just a study or a prelude to a finished painting; and that the landscape is best painted from life. To that end, he has increasingly focused on painting large work over multiple sessions, capturing very particular moments in time at great scale.