J. Ken Spencer was born in Ogden, Utah. He began painting at the age of 14, studying with local artists and teachers. Spencer pursued his interest in art at Utah State University (Logan, Utah) where he gained fundamental knowledge in composition and form, he also developed skills such as draftsmanship and paint application while working from live models. He graduated in 1993 earning a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration.
After finishing his work at the university, he moved his family to the New York Metropolitan area where he worked as an illustrator for book publishers and magazines. It was at that time when Mr. Spencer began developing his fine art career by painting for exhibition in galleries and juried shows. He has exhibited his work in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, and California. He has been included in such shows as the Oil Painters of America (Awards in 2016, 2015, 2013), Masters in Miniature (Trailside Gallery, Jackson WY), American Miniatures Show (Settler’s West, Tucson, AZ), Scottsdale Artist's School- Best and Brightest (Best of Show), The Harrisburg PA Art Association (winning Best of Show), and National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society (Monteverde Award). After living on the East Coast for seven years he moved his family back to the West where he now pursues his fine art career full time. He and his family reside in the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho.
Mr. Spencer values the benefits of plein air painting with all the challenges and joys of working in the open air. ”Painting on location gives me a chance to see new things, to see different light conditions and to regularly feel the creative juices. When I paint in plein air I see the subtle colors and values of nature that are only possible by first-hand experience. Photography can not capture those subtleties.” He also values the steady, measured power of studio painting. Plein air work gives an artist fresh insight into the behavior of light and color but studio work gives time to develop composition and technique not possible in short settings.
Ken has traveled throughout the western U.S as well as to France, Italy, Germany, England and the Czech Republic to paint on location and gather reference material to paint. He spent time in Paris, Brittany, Normandy, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre, Bavaria, Prague and Bohemia.
These areas are rich in visual textures and imagery. He spent time painting the small villages, large cites, coastal regions, and the people of Europe. All of these trips have generated many wonderful images and strengthened his abilities as a painter. He continues to travel locally and abroad to search out new inspiration.
Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational 2016, Boseker Award
Oil Painters of America 2016 Salon, Award of Excellence
Spring City Arts Plein Air Competition 2016- 3rd Place Overall, 2nd Place in Quick Paint
Virtuosos of the OPA 2015, Salmagundi Club, NY, NY- Award of Excellence
Spring City Arts Plein Air Competition 2015- 1st Place/ Best of Show
Spring City Arts Plein Air Competition 2015- Randall Lake Purchase Award
Figurative Honorable Mention, Oil Painters of America National Show 2013
Artist’s Choice award- Driggs Digs Plein Air 2013
Merit Award- Inspirational Art Association 2013
Honorable Mention for Artistic Excellence- Salon International 2012
Inspirational Art Association- 1st place – Thanksgiving Point, UT. 2012
Best of Show, Scottsdale Artists School – Best and Brightest show 2006
Oil Painters of America National Exhibit -2004, William Schneider Award of Excellence
National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society, Monteverde Award. 1999
Awarded Signature Member status- Oil Painters of America- September 2004
Bachelors degree of Illustration- Utah State University
Dunnegan Museum- Bolivar, MO
LDS Museum of Art and History- Salt Lake City, UT
Brigham Young University, Idaho- Rexburg, ID
Southwest Art Magazine, Show review- July 2012
American Art Collector- November 2007
SkyWest Magazine- May/June 2006
Southwest Art Magazine- “Artists to watch” December 2003
Montgomery-Lee Fine Art- Park City, Utah
Authentique Gallery- St. George, Utah
Berkley Gallery- Warrenton, Virginia
Blue Heron Gallery- Wellfleet, Mass
Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, Mt. Carmel, Utah
Total Arts Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
J. Ken Spencer
340 S. Adams