James was born in 1913 in Fresno, California. He could not recall a time when he wasn't interested in drawing and painting nature.
World War II postponed Jame's art career. He served in the European theater. After the war, the GI Bill aided him in studying at the Jean Turner Art Academy in San Francisco along with other noted California watercolorists, Louis J. Rogers, Alfred Owles and Baron J. Paget Fredericks.
He often expressed that his greatest challenge as an artist was to recreated nature in true perspective. For example, in Chestnut-backed Chicadee and Ladybut, he shows the bird eyeing his prospective meal. Chicadees hop through trees and bushes searching for insects.
He describes his art saying, "Essentially, I am a realist in my painting, attempting to portray subjects in their true form and color." Phillips was an ardent outdoorsman, and loved walking beaches, watching birds and wildlife. He loved painting seascapes. In his opinion, painting nature in true perspective is the greatest challenge an artist must face.
He is noted for his realistically rendered subject in both form and color, yet within that realism is James March Phillip's personal interpretation. His work in watercolor was well received and he was represented by the finest galleries in the West.
Source: Biography and photo accompanying painting