Philip John Evett: Goodbye, old friend

Phil and Joanne Evett with Lyn Belisle, Blanco, Texas 2010

Phil and Joanne Evett with Lyn Belisle, Blanco, Texas 2010

I met Philip John Evett in the spring of 1962. It was love at first sight – love of his work, his impossibly endearing British accent, and his enthusiasm for those of us lucky enough to be his Trinity art students. We called him “Uncle Philsy.” Sometimes we added “wicked” to it.

He taught us to weld in steel and carve in stone. He taught us a love of lyrical form and a respect for eclectic elegance. Phil was my mentor then and my friend ever after, as he was to so many of us. He died this weekend, 94 years old, a consummate artist and humanist.

Here’s a brief look at the work that friends and I saw several years ago on a visit to his inspiring studio and gallery in Blanco, Texas. Phil tells a funny story about finding the right head for a sculpture, just 20 years after the fact.

In 2012, Phil gave an informal lunchtime lecture at Blue Star Art Complex. I sat next to him and used my phone to record his remarks. Phil’s recollections and philosophy shine through despite my hand-held phone recording and the less-than-idea sound circumstances. This is a rare look at the workings of this incredible artist’s mind.

As I re-watched the video, I was particularly struck by his comments on “the quiet, long-time savoring of the moment” that is so rare these days, and then talked of his love for his peaceful life at his Blanco studio.

So many of us will miss you, Phil – thanks beyond words for gracing us with your inspiring presence, your soaring art and your everlasting friendship.

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