Carla Spencebio

“…every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.” – Henry Ward Beecher

With my husband John, I retired to Bend, Oregon, three years ago.  Our previous three years in Houston, TX, provided the stimulation of gallery representations, The Watercolor Art Society of Houston and Lone Star Art Guild competitions and awards, and the city’s vibrant art community, all of which pushed and pulled me into painting full time.

I was born in Holland in 1945, into an artistic family, and immigrated to Australia as a 6 year old.  For 40 years, here in the US, I focused on raising 4 children and traveling with my husband overseas in the oil and gas industry.  My work was infrequent and representational, bound up by the influence of my father, a Bauhaus architect.  I maintained a very active interest in what was happening in the art world and taught art in elementary schools and worked as a corporate design consultant.

My passion with painting began full time when my husband was sent to Italy in 1998 – 2001.  This was followed by trips to Montreal for workshops with Donna Basphaly, who jump started my work into a world of color and different ways of seeing, using color to create mood and drama.

This new way of seeing began for me eight years ago, when I lost my vision in one eye.  Ironically, this became an enlightening experience.  As I came to terms with the visual distortions of my sight, I began stockpiling images, memories and experiences.  I soaked up art and landscape images in Italy.  Frequent travels to both the American Southwest and Australia, all contributed to the beginning of a process of painting abstractly.  Continuing workshops in Texas confirmed and directed my new found freedom to improvise and experiment, to push limits and break the rules, without severing links to reality.

I am honored to be a member of the Tumalo Art Company, a fine art collective in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon.

Artist’s Statement

“The art of painting is to see beyond the everyday familiar vision of things” – Goethe

My paintings are more than about beauty.  I am communicating an idea, a visual memory, as I explore what happens when significant moments over a long period of time become incorporated into the fabric of my life.  I am constantly preoccupied with the color and shape of things, of landscapes, of details in larger pictures, that call to be altered, to be represented in unexpected ways.  I like to question the conventional wisdom of color.  My work is about a journey, semi abstract, incorporating a love for color and experimentation with mixed media.  I work in acrylics, layering them with collage papers, glazing, texture mediums, oil pastel, and pencil.  I enjoy the challenge of shifting from theme to theme, depending on my faith journey, involvement with family, travel, or just the quiet absorption of landscapes and places with their myriad of details, shapes and color.

In my Italian paintings, an aerial point of view assists me in finding a more abstract vision of the landscape.  In the studio, I reassemble my memories and sketches, creating compositions that have spacial tension between the open spaces and the placement of various landmarks.

My Australian based paintings won awards in the Houston WAS-H International Exhibition in 2007 and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Annual Exhibition in 2006.