Born and raised in Great Falls, Montana, I spent many happy hours on the prairies searching for arrowheads and in the mountains playing pioneer, all the while absorbing the extraordinary beauty of the western landscape.
I had excellent art training at Great Falls High School, but as with so many of its young, left Montana for school in Boston. My art was put aside for many years as playing traditional music became my primary passion.
I started painting again about ten years ago, inspired by a friend on a trip to the Caribbean. While studying with several excellent teachers including Don Stone and Eric Aho, I developed style and subject. As a friend once wrote “Spencer brings big skies and Western color schemes to her oil paintings. She is unromantic in her compositions, juxtaposing the wild elements of nature and the objects of civilization. Her paintings are at once real and dreamy, rendered by a loose brush and a keen observation of how the spirit of the land intersects with the material world she sees.”
Returning time and again to the West for inspiration, my course was charted as a Montana artist when I took a painting pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Now, although I am primarily interested in all things Western, I paint regularly on Monhegan Island, at all the wonderful places I visit in my travels, and of course in my own back yard. I just have to wait till the painting finds me!
A brief life history:
After working for a short time at the Gurian Guitar factory in Hinsdale New Hampshire, I started the Arthur Smith Banjo Company and built about 500 banjos over a period of six years. In 1979 I opened Maple Leaf Music, a stringed instrument shop in Brattleboro, Vermont. In June of 2012, I sold Maple Leaf Music Company, my work for almost 33 years. I am now rationing my time between painting, playing music and bridge. I have joined Sawmill River Arts Gallery at the Montague Mill, very near home, and my work is exhibited here and my paingings rotate with the seasons.
I show regularly at local venues, both in New England and Montana. I live in Montague, Massachusetts with my husband, daughter, two cats, and our new puppy, field spaniel Frances. I sing and play banjo, guitar, and piano with my band Shingle the Roof.