Phiris Kathryn Sickels has been drawing and painting since she could hold a crayon, pencil or paint brush in her hand.  “I’ve always been an artist – even when I didn’t know it.  It is my way to communicate with all of my senses.  When my husband died a few years ago I gave myself permission to lose myself in ART.  Painting gives me joy, community, fellowship, and a faith in creating and sharing beauty.  My favorite medium is watercolor, how it flows and blends, the unexpected accidents and the wonderful watercolor papers that I can select.  It is not a forgiving medium, mistakes and misjudgments are not easily corrected.   I love color and use it extravagantly and I don’t always start a painting with a particular subject in mind.  My most successful work seems to evolve from abstract shapes and contrasting colors.  I hope that people can see that I‘m having fun and that they also enjoy my work.”

Always seeking art instruction, she has studied Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon Univ.), Community College of Allegheny County, Kathleen Zimbicki’s watercolor classes for many years at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and workshops by Miles Batt, Skip Lawrence, Alex Powers, Fran Larsen, Katherine Liu, Mary Ann Clarke and Frank Webb.  Phiris is a board member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, past board member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, President of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, member of the East Suburban Artists League and co-manager of the Eastside Gallery. She has participated and won awards in numerous juried and group shows.