Saturday, 23 October 2021

Artist has no choice but to constantly create at rapid pace

FOR Robin Spencer, art is not just a hobby, but a way of life.

FOR Robin Spencer, art is not just a hobby, but a way of life.

His house in Crisp Road, Henley is crammed full of paintings and sketch books and he is rarely without the tools of his trade.

“I love the buzz of just being in the elements and recording what you see,” he explains.

“I woke up at 6am on Sunday to go painting in Shiplake, standing in a field near the river. I’ll paint in the snow, rain, at night whenever and wherever.”

Mr Spencer, who will be showcasing his work at Henley Arts and Craft Guild’s autumn exhibition next month, says he has always been creative.

“I spent my childhood drawing, as most kids do, but I got a lot of positive input and I began to get quite good,” he said. “I am quite traditional in my skills and getting good at it was always quite important to me.”

Yet despite studying an art foundation course at Bath College and reading illustration at Falmouth College he says that he ended up taking on “all sorts of rubbish jobs to make money” before studying for a PGCE in art in his early thirties.

He met his wife, Boatique co-founder and former Gillotts School textile teacher Joanna Nahum, during his studies and now teaches art to secondary school pupils at St Crispin’s School in Wokingham, using all his spare time to hone his passion.

“Being an artist is not really a choice, I really can’t think any other way,” Mr Spencer, 37, said. “I need to constantly make things all the time.

“My study is full of sketch books and paintings you can hardly move if you walk into the room.”

He painted 500 watercolours in the three months after he left Falmouth College and continues to create art at a rapid pace, while looking after his four-year-old daughter, Heidi.

He says winning the Mollie Staley award at the Henley Art and Craft Guild’s spring exhibition for his ‘plein air’ oil painting of Shiplake was a real confidence boost.

Mr Spencer also sold all three of his paintings that were on display in the spring exhibition and ended up selling a further seven paintings to a woman who contacted him for more details about his work.

He hopes to hold his first solo show in the not too distant future, while his long term plan involves becoming an artist full-time.

But for now, Mr Spencer is content to have his work back on display in front of the public.

“I know it is a very short showing but it is always good to have your work on show it’s either that or you are tripping over it in your study.”

lHenley Art and Craft Guild’s autumn exhibition will be held at the Old Fire Station Gallery from October 11 to 15 from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit

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