painting of an outdoor scene

Sarah Spencer VPNEAC RAS

Vice President


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painting of a dog


portrait painting of a woman


painting of a dog


portrait drawing of a boy


portrait drawing of a girl


painting of waves on the sea




Artist Statement

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.

Method of Working

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.

Biographical Details

2018 Elected Vice President New English Art Club
1989-91 Post Grad Dip. Royal Academy Schools 
1985-89 BA (Hons) Camberwell School of Art
1984-85 Foundation Course, Canterbury College of Art

Scholarships, Awards, Prizes

2013 Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers Prize at the New English
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

Solo Exhibitions

2006 - 2015  The Russell Gallery
1992 - 2006 New Grafton Gallery
1991 - 1997  Waterman fine Art

Selected Exhibitions

1991 - 2018 Annual Exhibitions of The New English Art Club, Mall Galleries
2006 - 2018 The Russell Gallery Summer and Winter Exhibitions
2017 – 2018 Fosse Gallery, exhibitions of Fosse Gallery artists
2016 – 2018 Geedon Gallery Mixed Exhibitions
2017 Linden Hall Studios Gallery
2017 Women In Art, Burgh House Hampstead
2016 Royal Society of Portrait Painters at the Mall Galleries
2015 Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall Galleries
2015 The Small Self Portrait Exhibition at Hogarth’s House
2014 Lynn Painter-Stainer Exhibition at the Mall Galleries
2006 National Portrait Gallery, BP Portrait Exhibition, solo exhibitions
1993 – 1995 Thompson’s Gallery
1993 Long and Ryle Gallery
1992 Cadogan Contemporary
1991 The Discerning Eye
1991 – 2006 The Grafton Gallery


‘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 -2018 Charles Baile de Lapierriere
2015   Artist and Illustrators Magazine: ‘My Studio’ feature by Steve Pill
2012   Country Living Magazine ‘Sarah Spencer: A Sense of Style’ by Corinna Kitchen
2008   Art in London
2005   BBC Homes and Antiques
2005   The Daily Telegraph
2005   The Week
2004   Vogue
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