Phil Dike

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Phil Latimer Dike was born in Redlands, California on April 6, 1906. Dike first studied art at Redlands High School under Louise Arnold where Arnold advised Dike to expand the ways in which he expressed his art by looking out into streets, buildings, and anything else that interested him. When the Chouinard School in Los Angeles announced a competition for a scholarship to their art school, through the urging of Arnold, Dike entered one of his drawings into the contest and won. Upon graduation, he continued at Chouinard under Clarence Hinkle, F. Tolles Chamberlain, and Pruett Carter. Following his study at the Chouinard, Phil Dike continued his study in New York City at the Art Students League under George Bridgman, George Luks, and Frank Vincent du Mond.

In 1930, Dike took a trip to Europe and lived outside Paris attending school at the American Academy of Art at Fountainbleau and, while there, exhibited at the Paris Salon. During his stay in Europe, Dike visited many cities and countrysides of Western Europe and North Africa and viewed many master paintings. He was particularly moved by artists El Greco and Goya. Upon returning from Europe, he taught at Chouinard, and by the age of 28, Dike received national attention for his watercolor paintings. In 1939, he became the president of the California Watercolor Society and in 1927 and 1955, exhibited more paintings than any member. From 1935 to 1945, he worked in the art department of Walt Disney Studios where he taught advanced drawing and composition to the artists and also checked final drawings and background paintings. Occasionally, he produced artworks which were included in feature films like Snow White and Fantasia. When Disney became involved in making propaganda and war-training films for the military, Dike left Disney and took a long hiatus creating illustrated books for his small son and designed covers for various magazines.

Returning from his hiatus, Phil Dike returned to teach at the Chouinard Art Institute, and by 1940 he was so well-known that his name was synonymous to the California style of watercolor painting. In the 1940s and 1950s, Dike also put together an art instruction book that was sold at a national level. From 1950-71, Dike was a member of the art faculty at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School and in 1950, he became the leading figure as professor emeritus at Claremont College. He maintained homes in Claremont and Cambria and died February 24, 1990. He is best known for his regionalist watercolors of the 1930s and 1940s specializing in marine and coastal scenes.

Member: National Academy of Design, 1953; California Watercolor Society (President 1938-39); Philadelphia Watercolor Club; Foundation of Western Art; Progressive Painters of Southern California; American Watercolor Society; Laguna Beach Art Association.

Exhibited: Pacific Southwest Exhibition, Long Beach, 1927; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1930, 1943; California State Fairs; California Water Color Society, 1931-1957; Arizona State Fair, 1931; Ebell Club, Los Angeles, 1933; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1934 (solo); San Francisco Museum of Art Inaugural, 1935; Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; Coronado Art Fair, 1949; National Orange Show, 1951; Scripps College, 1986, 1988 (solos).

Works Held: National Academy of Design; Metropolitan Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Pasadena Art Institute; Library of Congress; Scripps College; San Bernardino County Museum; Santa Barbara Museum; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport, California, .

Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.
Phil Dike by Janice Lovoos and Gordon T. McClelland. Print.