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Artist: Phil Chadwick

  This month we welcome Phil Chadwick, aka "Phil the Forecaster", to TI Life, as an artist. Although he trained at Kingston’s Queen's University as a nuclear physicist he has, since 1976, been a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Phil specializes in severe winter weather and severe convection. (He says one of the big days worked was Wednesday August 2nd, 2006 – it is the record severe day in Ontario history with 17 confirmed tornadoes and more than 65 other detected nasty weather events. The watches and warnings were out hours ahead of time.) 

When I asked Phil to write the February TI Life article, Snow squalls and Other Joys, I learned that he is also an accomplished artist who studied under the late Mario Airomi. He paints what he knows best: weather, nature, canoes, and family. He says, "There aren't enough hours in the day to record the inspiration that abounds." We can well imagine!

Phil prefers to paint “en plein air” (a French expression meaning “in the open air”, i.e. outdoors). He explains, "Something intangible, and sometimes magical, enters the art when one is actually out in the elements surrounded by inspiration. Bold colours and shapes can be found in the natural world, if you only look."  

His work hangs in many private and corporate collections across Canada and the United States and he has illustrated calendars, magazines and books.

Recently, he told me about a series of public lectures he is presenting. Following up on his successful presentation, in February, at the Brockville Museum entitled Tom Thomson was a Weatherman!  he will soon be doing several presentations (each slightly different)  including one in Oakville for a  University of Toronto Lecture Series and one in July for the Arts Society in King, Ontario.

His work can be found at the following: The Algonquin Art Centre, Algonquin Park, Georgina Arts Centre,  Sutton, ON ; Gallery Streetsville, Mississauga, ON; Buckingham Fine Art Gallery, Uxbridge, ON; The Framing Place and Gallery, Huntsville, ON and the Southampton Art School and Gallery, Southampton, ON.

We have asked Phil to enlighten us on "summer weather" in future issues of TI Life.

For his latest works  - please visit the Chadwick Studio and click on Wet Paint:

Paintings by Phil Chadwick

Note:  Click on small photographs to enlarge. Each of Phil's paintings are name and numbered.  He records detailed information on the back of each canvas.  In many cases, he photographs the work in progress.  Enjoy...

"November Gift"

November Process


The weather was certainly a gift for mid November and I could not let it pass. I paddled up the St Lawrence River and ended up on a granite point of Princess Island overlooking "Raleigh Island" which is also known as "Spong Island". I have not paddled on the river in mid November very often if ever before. The wind had died down and the water responded by becoming calm again. It truly was a special day. The sun was warm on my back. Ducks kept me company by flying by - at a safe distance. I could hear the intermittent blasts of shotguns to the southwest. Most of the ducks were whistlers and buffleheads but there were also a few mallards and mergansers. The water levels were really low and I had to avoid rocks that I normally floated over during the spring and summer.

The outer edge of the warm conveyor belt with the approaching storm moved northeast of Raleigh Island as I was painting. The gravity wave structure of the cloud is apparent in the stable layer of t he upper warm frontal surface. A couple of jets also left contrail paths in the sky indicating that the upper levels were relatively moist. There were a few cumulus in the lower etage drifting along with the southwesterly winds just above the surface. Rain was definitely on the way but not before I was done my painting!

Oils on medium burnt sienna foundation on commercial canvas - 11 X 14 (inches) Started 1 pm Friday, November 14, 2008. Painting Place on Princess Island looking northeast at Ian Coristine's "Raleigh Island" or more precisely N44.50066 W75.80106

November Gift in Progress

Back, in process

November Gift in process

In Process

November Gift in final process

Flagged Pines

Flagged Pines


Tub Tolton phoned Grant Mitchell, the owner of Savage Island so that I could ask for permission to paint from the island. Grant was keen and I wouldn't even leave foot prints behind on the granite.

I set up at noon looking easterly at the up river end of the neighbouring island. The pines

trees were all flagged by the wind and were to be the subject matter of the painting. Tub and Ruth Anne said that the trees looked the same way today as they did in photos from fifty years ago.

It got windier as the afternoon progressed. Tree swallows kept me company and flew within inches on my face. They landed frequently on my painting. They even mated once while perched on the easel. The osprey mated a few times at the top of the tree on the extreme southwest end of the island. I included them very subtlety in the painting. Canada geese were nesting on both islands and took exception to me arriving but soon got used to my presence.

From my Buddy Bruce Muller "You'll have to keep track of that painting and see where it ends up. If it has that impact on all that get close to it, you might be able to get lots of money for it :-)"

I waited until noon to start to paint so that the afternoon sun would illuminate the scene as I wanted and not change appreciably during the painting. I was very pleased with the results.

The trip back across the channel was a bit tricky with waves larger than the day before. I didn't want to loose my painting!

This was one of my favourites plein air pieces from the spring of 2008. I think it deserved a larger format and more paint so that is what I endeavoured to do in #1010 "Flagging Pines". I just changed the title ever so slightly.

Oils on burnt sienna oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 14 X 18

Flagged Pines in progress

Flagged Pines in process


Swallow visiting

Waiting for paint to dry

"Spring Cumulus"

Spring Cumulus

This was painted from the balcony of 501 –

55 Water Street East, Brockville, Ontario looking southeast across the St Lawrence River. When I started around 1 pm the clouds were definitely vigourous cumulus with cauliflower tops … when you could see them. By the time I was done, the clouds were much flatter and had evolved into stratocumulus. The temperature had also chilled a bit with the sun getting lower on the horizon. I was mostly interested in the colours and shapes of the clouds – as well as having some creative fun.

The American shore was largely in shade. The water was much lighter than the land.

Jo-Boo, The Condo-Kitty was beside me sleeping on her mat.

Oils on burnt sienna oil tinted commercial canvas 10x12 inches. Started 4 pm Thursday May 8th, 2008. Painting Place the balcony at N44.59071 W75.67929.

Spring Cumulus in progress

Back, Spring cumulus

From the balcony in process

"St Lawrence Sails"

 St. Lawrence Sails

Tuesday afternoon and I wanted to do something constructive with my day ... but I didn't want to go anywhere. I set up on the balcony looking across the Three Sisters to Morristown. A sail boat steered into view immediately so I slapped it in. A few more sailed into view on the far side of the St Lawrence and they went in as well. The water as choppy and I wanted to get the colours just right. Some cumulus fractus drifted in the southwesterly winds aloft whole the surface winds funneling down the river where enough for the odd whitecap. The major towering cumulus development stayed on the American shore but never really amounted to much. The main thunderstorm activity was just getting going over southwestern Ontario.

It was fun! They put on a sail boat show every Tuesday and Thursday evening in front of the Executive. I had the painting completed before the bulk of the boats arrived.

Oils on dark burnt sienna acrylic foundation on commercial canvas - 14 X 18 (inches) Started Tuesday August 5th, 2008. Painting Place looking eastward past The Three Sisters from N44.59080 W75.67929...


"Cross-over Island"

 Cross-over Island

It was minus 8 Celsius with winds averaging 50 km/h with higher gusts. It was too cold to paint outside. This scene of Cross-over Island looked like fun. I took the photo in the early summer looking northeast down the St Lawrence River. I remember it as a beautiful day and one of my first paddles in "Margaritaville". The shipping channel to my right runs along the American shore upstream from this point. Downstream from Cross-over Island, the shipping channel switches to the Canadian shore and eventually right in front of the Brockville Condo.

Inhabitants of the island have coyote "decoys" supposedly to discourage the Canada geese from grazing the lawn. The geese are much smarter than that. There was quite a bit of current around the island. The zebra mussels have the water so clear that one can see right to the bottom and the rounded granite forms below. It is difficult to determine the depth based on water clarity.

Oils on burnt sienna oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 11 X 14 (inches) Started Sunday December 7th, 2008. Painting Place the Watershed Farm Gallery.

Artist's Mission Statement - Phil Chadwick

"I live and paint out of passion for the natural world. I am inspired by nature, family and fellow artists to see beyond the surface and to share the experience – a vision in pigment and texture. My immediate goal is to extract the maximum amount of inspiration from the moment and have fun doing it while surrounded by and immersed in the natural elements. Somehow the inspiration finds its way on to the canvas.

My simple desire is to make the next painting my new favourite and to improve in capturing the essence of the subject with lots of colour and bold strokes!

A passion for creation sums it all up!" 

By Susan W. Smith,


Posted in: Artists
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Ted Bradford
Comment by: Ted Bradford ( )
Left at: 1:52 PM Wednesday, April 29, 2009
What beautiful work!!! Phil is indeed a talen and a very nice person. I have had the pleasure of corresponding with him. I am curious if Ian Coristine is aware that Phil captured his island on canvas.
Faye Ingerson
Comment by: Faye Ingerson ( )
Left at: 4:02 PM Friday, April 29, 2011
To Phil...I also am a Plein Air Artist, we have a group Plein Air of the Thousand Islands. Leader is Robert Hedden. We go out every other weeek to paint in the thousand island area. Its great fun. Would you be willing to join us sometime..We would love to have you. you are very good, and can tell that you love doing what you do..Faye Ingerson
Phil the Forecaster
Comment by: Phil the Forecaster ( )
Left at: 5:43 AM Sunday, May 1, 2011
Great to hear from you Faye... I am recently retired and now have more time to paint. I have corresponded with Bob and am looking forward to painting with your group. IPAP is planning a paint-out ion September in Rockport - I hope you can make it!