Artist Statement & Biography

Frances Spencer has won many awards for her paintings and prints in international juried competitions including the Ventura County Fair and the CA State Fair. Her prints and paintings have roots in Medieval, Expressionist and Surrealist art. Subjects include mythological, theatrical and biblical themes. In 2015, her art was featured in a solo exhibit in Ventura City Hall for a 4-month run, and her triptych, "Mime Troupe" was featured in the city's first "Artwalk Collector's Reception" in July of 2015.  

In 2019, she won a $1,000 grant from the City of Ventura for local artists impacted by the Thomas Hills fire of 2018.

Frances has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a Master’s degree in Design. She studied art privately with the late art educator, Henry Schaefer-Simmern. She is also an award winning poet and playwright, having written 18 plays, monologues and musicals which have been produced at the San Francisco Playwrights Center, the University of California Berkeley Drama Dept., Love Creek Productions in New York, and other venues. Her screenplay was a finalist in the 2009 Shriekfest film festival in Hollywood; and her original songs were finalists in 2010 and 2011. In 2015, her one-woman show "The Vendor" was performed in the WAV Theater Gallery as part of a month-long Women in Art event.

In 2018, she won a Puffin Foundation Grant of $2,500 to fund a solo exhibit of her art and poems, titled "The Visionary Art of Frances Spencer."

In 2019, she was filmed in an interview and discussion of her life in art, to be released in 2020.

Ultimately, her theatrical experience rubs off on her canvases, in that they often depict theatrical and dance themes such as her large painting Jazz Club, chosen to promote the City of Ventura’s Music Under The Stars concert series in July and August 2011.

“My art is representational but not realistic. The images I create are filtered through memory and imagination. The result is an impression or transformation of nature. My aim is  to create beauty since beauty itself is transformative.   I try to achieve in a composition a balance where all the parts are necessary to the whole, with nothing extraneous or accidental. While painting on a canvas or carving a block of wood, I feel a spiritual 'soul' connection with the emerging image, and hope that it will reflect in my creations and inspire others to feel the same.”

Press Release: “Frances Spencer’s exquisite linocut prints of wild soaring birds, spectacular large cats and mythical creatures are fauvist in nature, with primitive and medieval undertones. Additionally her oil paintings of cabaret nights are whimsical and complex.”
  – Jackie Woods, Ventura, curator WAV gallery art exhibit, January 2011

News Article: “Come see what the excitement is all about and meet the artist and author who tells tales with her canvas at her opening reception on January 10th.”
  – Linda Harmon, Ojai Valley News, January 2010

News Article: “Frances’ art may be primitive, but it’s also complex and detailed. From a scene in a cabaret to a train weaving through a magical mountain landscape, she has a knack for bringing the imaginary to life.”
  – Tim Pompey, Ventura Breeze. July 28, 2010