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Born 1940 in northern Michigan, Phil Capen developed an interest in art early in life, learning the basics from his father. After graduating with a B. A. degree in Chemistry from Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, Capen’s artistic talents lay dormant while he pursued a career in industrial chemistry in Pennsylvania and Michigan. In 1969, after earning his teaching credentials, Capen and his wife, Rosemary, moved their three young children to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There he began a new career, teaching chemistry at St. Croix Senior High School. After living in the tropics a short time Capen’s artistic talent revived with a year of study under Charles Hawes (AWS) at The College of the Virgin Islands. During his three year stay in the islands, Capen laid a solid foundation for his future art career by painting numerous watercolors of the local landscape including scenes of beaches, boats, houses, and underwater coral reefs. “I wanted paintings from the island but couldn’t afford to buy a Hawes original, so decided to paint some myself.”

In 1972 Capen and his family returned to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he continued to teach during the school year and pursue his art during summer vacations: painting scenes of old barns, farm houses, and boats. In 1978, Capen and his family returned to the tropics and settled in Miami, Florida. The next year he resigned his teaching position and launched his full-time art career. “ At first I did coastal scenes and boats. Then I became interested in Florida’s birds, so explored The Everglades National Park for subject matter. Accurately depicting the Everglades varied environments provided a challenge for several years.” A visit to Marsh Harbor, Abaco, in The Bahamas, renewed Capen’s interest in island life. His love of sailing, snorkeling, and beach combing has inspired numerous paintings of picturesque island scenes.

In the early 1980’s, because of the overwhelming demand for Capen’s work, he began publishing his art as limited edition prints. Over 70 images have been reproduced in editions of 750 to 1750; many of which have completely sold out. Until 1998 these prints were available only as offset lithographs, but with the coming of new technology all of Capen’s reproductions for the foreseeable future will be reproduced with even greater fidelity as Giclées (high quality computer generated digital fine art prints).