artist information

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Harold Phenix
1928-2009

In 1939, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston prominently displayed an award-winning painting by 11-year old Harold Phenix. Today, many awards later, over 2300 Harold Phenix works can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the world. Phenix’s unique impressionistic style and ability to capture a wide range of subject matter elevates him as one of Texas’ most prominent and respected artists. Accomplished both in watercolor and oils, Phenix produces vibrant paintings. He knows his subjects and subject matter and medium and understands the psychology of color and its effect on people. For most of his life, Houston was his home base. In 1999, Phenix and his wife Joan relocated to Hunt, Texas.

The Oil Patch

Phenix holds a degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Texas. For many years he designed offshore platforms for Conoco, Inc. and was known in the “oil patch” as both an engineer and a visual artist. His paintings reveal spectacular scenes of the oil industry. The jewel like quality of his work is present in paintings that capture the shimmering reflections of a drilling rig on the tranquil water of a Louisiana bayou or a flaming West Texas sunset hovering over a line of derricks. 

He counts among his major collectors Conoco, Inc., Santa Fe Energy, Mobil Oil Co., Tenneco, Texas Instruments, and Hughes Tool. His public collectors includeGreater Houston Partnership, Spindletop Museum, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the Museum of Texas Tech, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M University. 

Prior to his early retirement, Phenix was artist-in-residence for Conoco,Inc. 


Texas Scenes

There are few Texas roads Phenix has not traveled while sketching, painting,and teaching art. Phenix has captured the diverse Texas landscape in paintings depicting quiet seascapes, crowded harbors and beaches, fields of brilliant spring flowers, and afternoons on busy city streets. 

He has painted metropolitan scenes of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas as well as images of small Texas towns like Colorado City, Round Top, and Jefferson.Galveston water front scenes and the marinas at Seabrook and Kemah have been of great interest to Phenix; as has the charm of Rockport with its live oaks,shrimp harbor, and historical buildings. The splendor of Big Bend has found its way into his work as well, along with the rapids, rivers, and wild flowers found in the Texas hill country. 

Lighthouses of Texas
 
By 1853 lighthouses were blinking all along the Texas coast. Although many states may have more lighthouses than Texas, there are few that can boast of a great number of different types. In 1990, Texas A&M University Press commissioned twelve Phenix paintings for reproduction of author T. Lindsay Baker’s book, Lighthouses of Texas.

Phenix researched and visited twelve surviving lighthouse stations among them the Brazos Santiago Lighthouse, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse at Port Lavaca,and the Lighthouse at Point Isabel. All twelve-lighthouse paintings are on permanent display at the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport, Texas. Six of the paintings are available in limited edition reproductions at the Texas Maritime Museum along with T. Lindsay Baker’s remarkable book, which extensively defines the history of Texas’ aids to navigation. Due to popular demand, this book is currently in its second printing.


Rockport Art Festival

The 24th Annual Rockport Art Festival in 1993 marked the first year that an artist was selected to represent the Festival by creating a poster image and exhibiting in a solo show. Phenix's watercolor depicting the Rockport Art Festival continues to be the signature image characteristic of the bright colors, enthusiastic crowds and cheerful atmosphere of the Festival, with the Art Center building in the background. The original watercolor remains in Rockport Center for the Arts' Permanent Collection.