Born and raised in California, C. J. Phillips began her first forays into painting while working as an editor and translator at the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan.  Many of the greatest Chinese masters of that period gave demonstrations of their skills, and C. J. then went home to imitate what she had seen.  As a result, she began to paint in the Chinese style with inks and traditional colors on paper and silk.

After she returned to the States in 1985, she began to experiment with other water-based media in combination with the traditional ones, and painted a series of koi, horses, and landscapes that blended ancient styles with a modern sensibility.  This work was shown in a number of galleries and museums, and commissions were also done for private collectors.  Her first solo exhibition was at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose in 1990, and her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions since then.

Between 1997 and 2005, she was unable to paint due to a variety of reasons, and so became a Mandarin Chinese interpreter in the federal and state courts.  However, during this interlude she also turned her attention to photography as an artistic outlet and became entranced by the myriad forms in Nature.  She returned to painting professionally in 2005 and spent a year endeavoring to master oil painting. 

Two of C. J.’s most recent series – Waking Dreams and Portals – deal respectively with the dream world and the passage between this world and the next.  Her home and studio are on cemetery grounds, an unusual choice that perhaps has served to augment her interest in otherworldly matters.

These paintings are sensual and philosophical responses to the age-old questions of who we are and where we eventually go.  While highly decorative, they are also philosophical and contemplative.   Inspired by Chinese and Buddhist philosophies and other mystic traditions, C. J. creates images where realities overlap and insistent inquiry seeps out of the edges.

C. J. has exhibited widely throughout California and the world, both in group and solo shows. Her paintings have been shown in such diverse galleries, museums, and showrooms as the Los Angeles Art Expo, the New York Art Expo, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the National Museum of History in Taiwan, New Masters Gallery, the Zen Center of San Francisco, Fireside Gallery, Jeffry James Galleries, St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery, and Palo Alto’s Bryant Street Gallery.  Her works are in both private and corporate collections.

Please let us know if you would like more information on current paintings available for display and purchase, or further details on commissions. This website is updated regularly, so please check back often to see the most recent works.

Also, please feel free to visit C.J.’s main website ( and her food blog (, as well as her husband’s website (