Phill Nethercott looks out the window of his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and can see the distant majestic Teton mountain range. Jackson Hole, with its grand mountains, vast rivers and lakes and seasonal changes, has always been known as home and has become a part of who he is and how he sees the world around him. Phill’s ancestors were among the first settlers in the valley more than one hundred years ago. Early on, before Jackson’s well-known beauty became widespread and new people “discovered” the valley, wildlife roamed freely, and Phill’s closest neighbors were elk, moose, bear, and deer. Raised on the banks of the Snake River in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, Phill experienced a childhood uncommon to most, rafting down the Snake River on homemade rafts in summer and skiing down steep mountain slopes in winter. Phill began early to appreciate the simple beauties of his world. He found himself carefully observing the ever-playful patterns observed in nature and spent many evenings watching the glorious orange glow of the sun on the mountain canyon walls. His romantic vision and fascination with the natural world around him became the wellspring for his notion to become an artist.
“My first revelation about what I might want to do in life came to me when I was five. The winter was an unusually heavy one with four feet of snow laying in the yard. My mother, from the first time that I can remember, was sitting before an easel with a paintbrush in hand, creating what she saw outside the back window. I was absolutely fascinated.” In Phill’s early years, Jackson Hole’s art community was very influential and encouraging to Phill. Several well-known artists living in the valley, including Conrad Schwiering, John Clymer, and Jim Wilcox showed him that you could actually make a living as an artist. He remembers as a teenager going into the famous “Wort Hotel” on Jackson Hole’s town square. “The walls were covered with Conrad Schwiering paintings and I walked up and down the halls for at least two hours studying intently. The images captured my imagination and I was amazed at their beauty.” Phill graduated from Jackson Hole High School, married his high school sweetheart and together they moved on to Brigham Young University where he would study art. After school, Phill moved his family including his wife Susie and their five children back to Jackson Hole.
Becoming an artist was Phill’s ultimate goal, yet he realized it would take time to develop his talents and find his unique style of expression. He learned and studied many art techniques and enjoyed painting in various medias such as watercolor and acrylic. Ultimately he found that he excelled and enjoyed working in the ‘king of media,’ oil paint. Phill’s impressionistic approach to painting became his forte because he loved exploring the play of light in landscapes. His interest and flare for impressionism is primarily sparked by his study of the early French Impressionists such as Claude Monet and the illustrative art of Thomas Moran. Their influence on his on his style is still evidenced in his paintings. During these formative years he owned and displayed his work in his own galleries, The Four Seasons and West Wind galleries.
These experiences gave him a greater understanding of the commercial side of the art world. It was also during this time that Phill and a partner developed the idea of creating a national art competition based on the national parks. This culminated in the now well-known national event called “Arts For the Parks”. In the first year of the competition, the top 100 paintings entered were displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Here, Phill met and was commended by then Vice President of the United States, George Bush, for his part in the creation of this national competition. Richard Schmid, was the recipient of the event’s $100,000.00 award, together with other artists, including Michael Coleman and Jim Wilcox. Phill has always had multifaceted interests and his passions lie not only in painting but also in philosophy, religion, politics, and debate. Like many artists of old, his love of art has even led him into the field of architecture where he has personally designed and constructed several upscale homes in the Jackson Hole valley. Phill’s interest in and knowledge of many topics, combined with his undying faith in the American dream has led him down many colorful roads.
Today, Phill Nethercott, has mastered his own style and skills and his paintings are hanging in many homes, businesses, and art galleries. He now paints full time, fulfilling his dream of making a living as an artist. Looking back on many of his life experiences, Phill realizes he has learned many things about himself as a person, and as an artist. “I have been able to observe many artists over the years and have discovered a lot about my style of painting. I learned many years ago not to study other works too intently, for the very reason that if I do this, I find myself subconsciously painting the way they paint! I quickly found that doesn’t work! This is why art is so great. Each artist has a unique talent and a unique way to display an image. I have finally figured out how Phill Nethercott paints. It is a continually evolving process and I have become more confident with my paintbrush and canvas through this evolution. Each blank canvas creates in me an excitement, as if embarking on a whole new adventure, with hope and expectation of becoming my best work ever! I have many stored up images impressed upon my mind from growing up in my beautiful Jackson Hole. Art is my passion, and I hope to continue to paint and pursue my dream as long as I can. I hope my paintings will leave impressions on people and will uplift and encourage for generations to come!” Phill Nethercott feels his best work is yet to come. His love for painting and creating new and ever changing images will continue on.