Sarah Spencer paints the places, people and things with which she is most familiar.
The coast where she has lived most of her life is a recurring source. She is drawn to the quality of ‘atmosphere’ in sky and landscape that is both visual and emotional.
The artist aims less at capturing an impression of one moment, and more towards making a work corresponding in some respect to the intimate and intense qualities of well-known territory.
She paints portraits and landscapes by commission, and is intrigued by the experience of responding to places or people which are dear to another but as yet unknown or less-known to her.
Sarah’s landscape works begin with a series of small sketches made outside in oil paint on cardboard. These plein air works are rarely the end goal but the vital source for larger studio works
The process and approach in the studio is very different to that outside: The artist is not battling challenges of changing light and weather or her antipathy to working in public view. The practice of painting indoors is more contemplative. Glazes can be built up over impasto layers over weeks or months. Composition is often changed, and re-arranged.
She is not interested in recapturing a scene so much as playing with the elements gathered until they make a picture that seems compelling.
A work is often composed from elements gathered from different sketches: a sky from one sketch and foreground from another, the picture needing only to correspond to the idea of the landscape in the artist’s head.
1965 Born in Kent
1984 to 1985 Foundation Course, Canterbury College of Art
1985 to 1989 BA (Hons) Camberwel1 School of Art
1989 to 1991 Post Grad Dip. Royal Academy Schools
2013 Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers Prize, New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition
2006 Arts Council England Direct Grant Award
1995 Elizabeth Greenshields Commonwealth Major Award for Painting
1991 Haite Travel Scholarship
1991 Duff Greet Drawing Prize
1991 Creswick Landscape Prize
1989 The Arts Clubs Scholarship
1989 David Murray Landscape Scholarship
2015 The Small Self Portrait Exhibition, Hogarth’s House
2014 Lynn Painter-Stainer Exhibition, Mall Galleries
2006 National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Exhibition
2006 to 2015 The Russell Gallery solo exhibitions
1992 to 2006 New Grafton Gallery solo exhibitions
2015 Artist and Illustrators Magazine: ‘My Studio’ feature by Steve Pill
2012 Country Living Magazine ‘Sarah Spencer: A Sense of Style’ by Corinna Kitchen
2010 Saga Magazine
2008 Art in London
2005 BBC Homes and Antiques
2005 The Daily Telegraph ‘Family’ section, Sarah Lonsdale
2005 The Week
1998 House and Garden
1997 Financial Times ‘At the Dealers’ Georgina Adam
1994 Art Review ‘Poetic Vision’ by David Wolfers
1993 The Independent
1992 The Times: ‘Picking out the Plums’ John Russell Taylor review
1992 Robert Harris in ‘Around the Galleries' feature
1992 Exhibitions Diary, Country Life
1991 Daily Mail 1991 ‘Class Portrait’ Madelaine Harper
'500 Portraits’ 2011, National Portrait Gallery Publications ISBN 978 1 85514 448 4
‘Pure Gold’ 2010 FBA Publications ISBN 978 0 9560219 3 9
‘Who’s Who in Art: Biographies of Leading Men and Women in the World of Art Today ’ Editions 1997 -2015 Charles Baile de Lapierriere ISBN 13: 978-0904722413