By Julie Osterman
A recent painting trip to France has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Idaho artist J. Ken Spencer over the past year. He “got the bug” to travel after talking to some other painters at a show and soon after planned a trip to Normandy and Brittany. During the trip Spencer finished 20 paintings en plein air, featuring small villages, coastal regions, and the people of France. “There were days that I painted two or three—one day I even painted four paintings,” he says. “It was just a wonderful saturation of culture.” Although most of his work depicts landscapes and city scenes, Spencer says the figure has always been a fascinating subject to him.
For this reason, he tries to add a human element to his cityscapes, “even if they’re small.” Spencer began painting at age 14 and studied illustration at Utah State University. He is represented by Zantman Gallery, Sun Valley, ID; Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; D.E. Craghead Gallery, Carmel, CA; Apple Frame Gallery, Bountiful, UT; and Horizon Gallery, Jackson, WY.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” December 2003