Phyl McGrath is one of the original members of the SEAW. She is still a member although she no longer takes part in exhibitions. She does still paint and mostly donates her paintings for charitable fundraising. In 2019, she painted Ely Cathedral and raise £350 for it in a raffle.
This is what Phyl had to say about herself:
I don’t remember a time in my life when I was not drawing or painting. It is just what I do! My parents, post depression and World War II, did not think art would make me a living. So when I left school, Art College was ruled out. (I ended up a Legal Cashier, married with a family!)
However after a few years I joined the Open College of the Arts, attached to the Open University. My fantastic tutor was the head of the Birmingham College of Art. I studied a wide range of mediums and a wonderful variety of subjects. Later I received a certificate.
The next few years I continued in watercolour and sold paintings here and there. I joined the SEAW and felt very honoured when one of my paintings was selected by the then President of the RWS, Richard Sorrell, for the inaugural exhibition of the new society, in Norwich.
Then , I have to admit, suddenly I turned from watercolour to oil!I became intrigued with Dutch painting at the time of Jan van Eyck (1390 -1441). I went to a small Art school in the Broads and there learned the secrets of painting 600 years ago in this unique style. Classical European Art.My tutor that time was William Calladine. He was an expert. he learned his craft at the RA then studied in Holland with Jan Eversen (1906 – 1995) who was the world’s foremost practicing exponent of Classical Dutch painting.
However, the very methodical application of paint used 600 years ago took weeks and months to complete a picture. When I had finished one I had to do a watercolour to recover because it was quick and easy!
Eventually I returned to my original love of watercolour. Now I am down sized and happily living in Ely. If art is in the genes you just get on with it!