Phillips originally trained as a painter prior to pursuing a career as a chartered architect, and subsequently attaining the position of a university tutor at Edinburgh College of Art and Napier University for over a decade. During this period she taught architecture, graphic design, product design and drawing. She has won a number of awards in both architecture and painting, and now paints full time from her studio.
Her work typically makes use of acrylic, but often experiments with other mediums. Her focus is landscape based, with her aim being to paint the extraordinary in what may look an ordinary view. She uses space and order and the conscious decision making process, mixed with the fluidity and instinctive movement which comes from using paint.